Overview of seizure-inducing potential of doripenem

Drug Saf. 2009;32(9):709-16. doi: 10.2165/00002018-200932090-00001.


The seizure-inducing potential of carbapenems has been debated since the introduction of imipenem/cilastatin over 20 years ago. Doripenem is a new carbapenem, recently approved in the US for the treatment of adults with complicated urinary tract infections (cUTI) or complicated intra-abdominal infections (cIAI), and additionally in the EU for nosocomial pneumonia, including ventilator-associated pneumonia. Here, the seizure-inducing potential of doripenem is evaluated, using data from in vitro and in vivo animal studies, doripenem clinical trials and doripenem postmarketing reports of seizures. Animal studies indicate that doripenem has low binding affinity for GABA receptors and does not induce seizures at doses greater than seizure-inducing doses of imipenem or meropenem. In clinical studies of cUTI or cIAI, no seizures were reported in the 1332 patients treated with doripenem (500-mg infusion every 8 hours). In two studies, patients with nosocomial pneumonia were treated with doripenem 500 mg (1- or 4-hour infusion every 8 hours), and the incidence of seizures was lower for doripenem (1.2% [6/485]) than imipenem (3.8% [10/263]) or piperacillin/tazobactam (2.7% [6/221]). For patients with seizure-predisposing conditions, seizures occurred during treatment for 3/193 (1.5%) in doripenem, 1/66 (1.5%) in piperacillin/tazobactam and 6/116 (5.2%) in the imipenem group. The review of data from both clinical trials and postmarketing surveillance supports the low seizure-inducing potential of doripenem. The seizure potential of doripenem should be evaluated further in patients at increased risk for seizure.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00210938 NCT00210990 NCT00211003 NCT00211016 NCT00229021 NCT00229060.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Infections / complications
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Carbapenems / adverse effects*
  • Carbapenems / therapeutic use
  • Doripenem
  • Humans
  • Product Surveillance, Postmarketing
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Seizures / chemically induced*
  • Seizures / epidemiology
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Carbapenems
  • Doripenem

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00210938
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00210990
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00211003
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00211016
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00229021
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00229060