U.S. FDA Approved New Antibacterial for Urinary Tract and Abdominal Infections

Merck and the FDA urge use of the drug only to treat infections caused by susceptible bacteria.


Antibiotic resistance is a real and growing problem around the globe. Doctors have been pressed for many years to limit prescriptions of antibiotics to patients with known bacterial infections. Despite the growing recognition of the problem and the reduced use of antibiotics for both humans and animals, resistance continues to increase.


Therefore, it isn’t surprising that, when a new antibiotic is approved, the recommendation is to use it only when it is appropriate. That is the case with Recarbrio (imipenem, cilastatin and relebactam), a new antibiotic from Merck approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of urinary tract and abdominal infections caused by 16 different strains of bacteria.


The FDA and Merck are both urging the use of Recarbrio only to treat patients that have infections caused by the one of the 16 Gram-negative bacteria found to be susceptible to the antibiotic as a means to avoid the development of treatment-resistant strains.


The triple combination comprises two existing Merck antibiotics. Imipenem/cilastatin is a combination antibiotic that the company markets as Primaxin. Cilastatin inhibits degradation of imipenem by the kidneys, while relebactam prevents degradation of imipenem by three different strains of bacteria that the triple combination can be used to treat.


David Alvaro, Ph.D.

David is Scientific Editorial Director for That’s Nice and the Pharma’s Almanac content enterprise, responsible for directing and generating industry, scientific and research-based content, including client-owned strategic content. Before joining That’s Nice, David served as a scientific editor for the multidisciplinary scientific journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. He received a B.A. in Biology from New York University and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Development from Columbia University.