Piperacillin/tazobactam: compatibility of generics is different from brand leader (tazocin)

Generic piperacillin/tazobactam products have different compatibilities with other medicines compared with tazocin, raising a risk of serious medication errors.

Article date: January 2009

Piperacillin/tazobactam is licensed for the treatment of a wide range of infections. In addition to the brand leader (called Tazocin, which was reformulated in 2008), generic formulations are now available.

Generic piperacillin/tazobactam must not be mixed or co-administered with any aminoglycoside, and must not be reconstituted or diluted with lactated Ringer’s (Hartmann’s) solution

Advice for healthcare professionals includes:

  • generic piperacillin/tazobactam must not be mixed or co-administered with any aminoglycoside, and must not be reconstituted or diluted with lactated Ringer’s (Hartmann’s) solution
  • pharmacists should clearly label reconstituted generic piperacillin/tazobactam with a statement that the product must not be mixed or coadministered with aminoglycosides
  • prescription charts should be checked to ensure that where patients are prescribed both aminoglycosides and generic piperacillin/tazobactam these are not administered at the same time because this can lead to inactivation of the aminoglycoside. Clinical and nursing staff should be advised of the risks with these products
  • generic piperacillin/tazobactam is not compatible with lactated Ringer’s (Hartmann’s) solution
  • if you are in doubt about which piperacillin/tazobactam medicine is in use, contact a hospital pharmacist before reconstitution or administration

Marketing authorisation holders for generic piperacillin/tazobactam are providing educational materials for healthcare professionals, including: guidance for pharmacists; posters for display in pharmacy-run CIVAS (centralised intravenous additive service) units; posters for display in nursing and clinical areas; and a training pack for all professionals who have a role in the supply and administration of these medicines.

Please remember that you can report suspected adverse events to medicines using a Yellow Card.

See drug safety Update article published March 2008.For information about the reformulation of Tazocin,

Article citation: Drug Safety Update January 2009, vol 2 issue 6: 2.

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