Ertapenem-Induced Delirium

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Mariana Bilreiro - Corresponding Author

Mariana Bilreiro []
Hospital dos Marmeleiros, Estrada dos Marmeleiros, 9054-535 Funchal, Portugal

Luís Marote Correia


Neurotoxicity is an unusual iatrogenic effect associated with carbapenems, typically manifested as seizures or hyperactive delirium. We present an 89-year-old female patient with a medical history of hypertension and chronic kidney disease who was admitted for acute tracheobronchitis and anemia related to diverticular disease. As a complication, she developed acute cystitis caused by extended spectrum ß-lactamases producing Klebsiella pneumoniae, so intravenous ertapenem was started. On the second day of antibiotic therapy, the patient manifested visual hallucinations followed by an inattentive and lethargic state suggestive of a hypoactive delirium. An ertapenem-induced neurotoxicity was suspected. Upon substitution by meropenem, the patient improved, and symptom reversal occurred after 72 hours. We present a review of ertapenem-induced hallucinations and address pharmacokinetics aspects namely renal dysfunction and hypoalbuminemia that could potentiate encephalopathy. Although rare, clinicians should be aware of non-seizure ertapenem related neurotoxicity. Ready recognition can lead to rapid improvement and prevent dire outcomes.

Keywords: Delirium/chemically induced; Ertapenem/adverse effects; Hallucinations/chemically induced

Article Details

Bilreiro M, Marote Correia L. Ertapenem-Induced Delirium. Gaz Med [Internet]. 2022 Feb. 25 [cited 2022 Aug. 10];9(1). Available from:

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