- Oct 23, 2018 -
Imipenem (Primaxin) is an intravenous β-lactam antibiotic discovered by Merck scientists Burton Christensen, William Leanza, and Kenneth Wildonger in the mid-1970s. Carbapenems are highly resistant to the β-lactamase enzymes produced by many multiple drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, thus play a key role in the treatment of infections not readily treated with other antibiotics.
Imipenem was patented in 1975.It was discovered via a lengthy trial-and-error search for a more stable version of the natural product thienamycin, which is produced by the bacterium Streptomyces cattleya. Thienamycin has antibacterial activity, but is unstable in aqueous solution, so impractical to administer to patients.Imipenem has a broad spectrum of activity against aerobic and anaerobic, Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.It is particularly important for its activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the Enterococcus species.
Imipenem acts as an antimicrobial through inhibiting cell wall synthesis of various Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. It remains very stable in the presence of β-lactamase (both penicillinase and cephalosporinase) produced by some bacteria, and is a strong inhibitor of β-lactamases from some Gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to most β-lactam antibiotics.