Effect of concomitant administration of meropenem and valproic acid in an elderly Chinese patient

Jie Gu, Yanyan Huang
American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy 2009, 7 (1): 26-33

BACKGROUND: Meropenem is a carbapenem with a broad spectrum of activity against beta-lactamase-producing organisms. Valproic acid is widely used in the treatment of generalized tonic-clonic and partial seizures. Concomitant administration of meropenem and valproic acid reportedly leads to a rapid decline in serum concentrations of valproic acid, which is sometimes associated with seizures.

CASE SUMMARY: This report describes an 85-year-old Chinese male inpatient who twice received concomitant administration of meropenem and valproic acid for the treatment of pneumonia and poststroke epilepsy, respectively. Rapid declines in valproic acid concentrations were observed both times after meropenem administration. No seizures occurred in the first treatment period; however, when the patient suffered pneumonia again 3 months later, the same concomitant therapy was prescribed, and seizures occurred. It is difficult to identify a single etiology of the seizures. Based on a score of 7 on the Naranjo adverse drug reaction probability scale, the seizures were considered to be probably related to the concomitant administration of meropenem and valproic acid.

CONCLUSIONS: Various factors make the effect of concomitant administration of meropenem and valproic acid unpredictable, even in the same patient. Caution should be used when administering meropenem and valproic acid concomitantly, especially in elderly patients with central nervous system disorders, even if the patient has had a successful prior experience with these 2 drugs. If concomitant administration is essential, very close serum concentration monitoring and clinical observation are necessary.

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