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Meropenem-induced liver injury and beta-lactam cross-reactivity


A 63-year-old man admitted to hospital for the management of a frontal lobe abscess developed elevated liver enzymes within 48 hours of receiving meropenem. Liver enzymes reached a maximum at 5 days postadministration of meropenem, with alanine aminotransferase 1160 U/L, aspartate aminotransferase 787 U/L, alkaline phosphatase 297 U/L and gamma-glutamyltransferase 252 U/L. Meropenem was ceased and liver function normalised. Meropenem was administered for a second time later in the patient’s admission and again the patient developed rapidly increasing liver enzymes, with a mixed hepatocellular/cholestatic pattern. Other possible causes of liver injury were excluded following extensive investigations, and the patient’s liver enzymes continued to normalise following meropenem discontinuation. The patient was asymptomatic during the admission and was transferred to a rehabilitation facility. This case demonstrates that meropenem can cause severe liver injury and that early recognition of drug-induced liver injury is important.

  • infections
  • hepatitis other
  • toxicology
  • unwanted effects/adverse reactions
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