Current Status of Carbapenem Antibiotics

Curr Top Med Chem. 2010;10(18):1882-97. doi: 10.2174/156802610793176639.


β-Lactam antibiotics are the most prescribed antibacterial agents. They comprise more than half of all antibiotics. They are considered as the cornerstone of the antibiotic armamentarium. By inhibiting bacterial cell wall biosynthesis, they are highly effective against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Antibiotic resistance among Gram-negative pathogens in hospitals represents a dangerous threat to public health. Since many bacteria have developed resistance to older agents, new β-lactam antibiotics have been continuously developed. In the late 1970s, a new class of exceptionally broad-spectrum non-traditional β-lactams, carbapenems, was developed. This review article focuses on the new developments related to the field of carbapenems for treatment of bacterial infections, especially those caused by Gram-negative bacteria. The structural features, principal characteristics, and clinical implications of carbapenems including thienamycin, imipenem/cilastatin, panipenem/betamipron, biapenem, tebipenem, tebipenem pivoxil, meropenem, ertapenem, doripenem, lenapenem, and tomopenem are discussed herein.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbapenems / chemistry*
  • Carbapenems / pharmacology*
  • Drug Discovery
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects


  • Carbapenems