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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2010 Mar;11(4):669-72

Authors: Congeni BL

Importance of the field: Given their broad-spectrum and safety, carbapenems are a widely used class of antibiotics, especially in the treatment of hospital-acquired infections including infections due to multidrug-resistant organisms. Ertapenem is a unique member of this class, with a narrower spectrum that lacks reliable activity against Pseudomonas and Enterococcus. Given its spectrum and half-life of 4 h it is better suited to use in community-acquired infections and it is particularly well positioned for use in the outpatient setting. Areas covered in this review: Chemistry, mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, safety and indications for use will be covered in this review. Similar to other beta-lactams, the carbapenems inhibit cell wall synthesis by binding to and inhibiting penicillin-binding proteins. Their resistance to beta-lactamases including AmpC and extended-spectrum beta-lactamases enhances their usefulness. Similar to other beta-lactams, ertapenem exhibits time-dependent killing. Given this profile, ertapenem has been found to be useful in intra-abdominal infections, acute pelvic infections, complicated skin and skin structure infections, community-acquired pneumonia and complicated urinary tract infections. What the reader will gain: This review will enable the reader to understand differences between the different carbapenems, especially with regard to ertapenem. Once an understanding is gained with regard to pharmacology and microbiology, the reader will be positioned to understand better those circumstances in which use of ertapenem should be considered. Take home message: Substantial differences between the carbapenems exist. Ertapenem has unique characteristics that may make it useful in specific clinical circumstances that are detailed in this review.

PMID: 20163277 [PubMed - in process]

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