Bactrim - Septra - cotrimoxazole: mail to this website on side-effects (12)

This page is from a campaign by award-winning investigative journalist Brian Deer in The Sunday Times of London over risks and side-effects from this antibiotic, marketed under many names, such as Bactrim, Bactrim DS, Septra, Septra DS, Septrin, Sulfatrim, SMZ/TMP, Septran and co-trimoxazole | The investigation | Symptom searcher | Tell Brian & help others

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APO-SULFATRIM: 6 October 2004

First I would like to say thank you for your VERY informative site.

My search for answers started when my son was given Apo-sulfatrim for an ear infection at 17 months. Literally from the first day on this medication he stopped eating (literally). He is now 3.9 years old and still only eats 2 things and is on a host of supplements to keep him going, shortly there after my son was disguised as having autism and can not tolerate any folic acid supplements and the latest that he has bone demineralization of the spine. His "doctor" did not see any correlation between the drug and any these reactions. The next 3 doctors did not either....so here I am on the search of helping, fixing and becoming informed.

My son was also born with a heart PVC (which his former doctor had all the info on file) and there is a history of allergies in our family.

Lara. Toronto, ON

BACTRIM: 6 October 2004

My doctor prescribed Bactrim for a sinus infection for me in 1995. I took it for about three days and then I got hit with the reaction - hives, short of breath, pounding heart. I called my doc to find out what was happening. He had me go to the hospital to get a shot of adrenaline to counteract the effects. I never have felt worse in my life, the sick feeling lasted for weeks after as the drug worked it's way out of my system. My doctor was unfazed with my reaction and was not apologetic and was hardly sympathetic. The worst thing about this happening to me is that I have gotten anxiety attacks ever since this happened. I learned a lot about the medical profession with my experience. It's all about $$.

Lynn. Hollywood, FL

GENERIC BACTRIM: 7 October 2004

My doctor prescribed generic bactrim for a sinus infection. I took it for six days twice a day. I then experienced flu like simptoms to the nth degree. I wanted to be out of my body. Pain in the joints and muscles led me to the emergency room at two o'clock in the morning. I had no headache or fever, but I had taken two 600 milligram ibuprofin and two extra strength tylonol in three hours. After getting benadryl and steriods i.v. I went home and discontinued the treatment. Two days later my back is hurting from my neck to my hips in pain I cannot believe a human body is able to take. I went back to my doctor and he said it is broblably a viral infection and gave me 600 miligrams of alev for it. Does not even take the edge off the pain. I have missed two days of work so far and now I am going to miss more. I read in the information from the drug company that in small cases menengitis can occur.

Joe K

BACTRIM SULFA: 8 October 2004


On July 5, 2000 I was prescribed Bactrim Sulfa to ward off an infection from a bladder procedure.About 5 minutes after taking the Bactrim Sulfa; my muscles started to tighten.

We live just two blocks from the Blanchard Valley Hospital in Findlay, Ohio so I ask my wife to drive to the Emergency Ward. At the hospital; I got out of the car and with difficulty, walked to the ER.I informed the admitter that I had taken Bactrim Sulfa and my muscles were becoming stiff. I was ushered into one of the rooms and was seen by a Dr. within minutes. His quick evaluation of my problem was that I was having massive strokes on both sides. My comment to him was if he had ever seen people with strokes that talked as plain as I was talking. He then said no; but there are always exceptions.

After what I thought was around 15 minutes; they told me I was going to the Riverside (Heart) Hospital in Columbus, Ohio (100 miles travel by ambulance. My 15 minute estimate was really 3-1/2 hours. At Riverside I was placed in Cardiac Intensive Care and Dr George came to see me. I told him that I was not having massive strokes, but that I had taken Bactrim Sulfa.

Dr George did some basic tests and found that I was completely paralized. I could not raise my head, arms or feet. After 3 days Dr George said that will all the tests he ran, he could not find any sign of a stroke so I was released.

While in the hospital, my wife had to feed me as I could not raise my arms. After three days in the hospital I was able to stand with help. In the next four months I had gone to the Cleveland Clinic neuorologists several times, to an allergy Dr. in Toledo, and many visits to local Drs. My family Dr suggested I see a new Dr in town that specialized in physical therapy. I went to see Dr Osborn and when I told her that I had not been able to raise my arms high enough to comb my hair; she ordered an MRI of my shoulders.

A Neourologist by the name of Logan read the MRI and informed me that the Bactrim Sulfa had caused all the nerves to swell and the nerves in my shoulders went thru a Super Scapula notch and were not able to swell and resulted in the nerves being pinched to the point were the would not operate my arms. I have been in theropy for the past four years and it was 18 months before I could raise my arms over my head.

I had strokes in August 2000 and 2001 of which the Cleveland Clinic said were due to my brain swelling.

My legs have a problem with coordination and I use a cane to get around.

Hilary Y. Findlay, OH

SEPTRA: 10 October 2004

Dear Brian,

I am so glad to have found your website. I honestly thought I had an ulser. I was prescibed Septa afew months ago for a Urinary Tract Infection. I felt so bad that I called my doctor after taking the medicine for 4 days. He then gave me a different medication but I still have the same problem now after being off of it for several months. I fell very nausous after I eat and my stomach burns like it is on fire. I now can't go anywhere without Tums or Pepsid. I can't even drink a glass of water without hurting. Sometimes there is nothing that helps. I have even took nexium and that still doesnt work. I havent been back to the doctor but I was wondering if there was even aything that he could give me that would help. I am so glad to find your website. It doest stop the pain but it does help to know what it is caused from and that I am not the only one that has had these same side effects.



GENERIC BACTRIM: 18 October 2004

Hi Brian.....Great website! I took generic Bactrim for 3 days - the second day I began to feel nauseated, the third day I was nauseated and called my doctor. He said to stop taking it and it should be out of my system by the next noon. Well, it wasn't and I ended up going to the emergency room that evening. They checked me over and gave me a shot for nausea - said it was probably from the Bactrim. The bad nausea is gone but I still don't feel 100%. Fortunately I did not have any other side affects with the Bactrim but the horrible nausea was enough for me! By checking out Bactrim on the computer I read that if you take a diuretic, it might not be good to take Bactrim and I do. l at least could eat yesterday and today. Your website is good - usually I do not have an allergic reaction to drugs but this is one I will not take again!

S. W


This medication was prescribed for a skin abscess which was resistant to a wide range of antibiotics. I took this medication for seven days with no problem. On the eighth day I began running a fever of 100- 101 and began feeling flu-ish. Day nine was no different. I thought I had caught a virus or something. On the tenth day after taking my morning dose my wife notice that I had a flat, red, splotchy rash which was covering my whole body. I knew then that I was having a reaction, so I stopped taking the medication. My fever progressed throughout the day and peaked at 104.2 or higher less than 10 hours after taking my last dose. The fever trickled down over the next day. It has been four days now since I stopped taking this medicine and I am still very itchy from the rash. It was finally determined that it was a drug induced fever which is supposedly rare. Before my fever had shot up, I was told by my doctor, over the phone since it was a Saturday, that the fever was not being caused by the drug reaction and that I probably had a virus. In retrospect, knowing that I was having a drug reaction with a rash as well as having a fever ( It's source unknown). I should have gone to the emergency room. I never put two and two together though, no thanks to the helpful dermatologist who I spoke with over the phone, and whom I plan on having a few choice words with next time I see her.

John G.

BACTRIM: 20 October 2004

Writing to let you know that I had a major reaction to Bactrim. It almost killed me. I was taking it for a prostrate problem. Two visits to the ER and major steroids saved me. Body was burning from the inside out. Skin got so hot and red that I was probably one more pill away from Steven Johnson's Syndrome (skin peels off my body). Thank God for my general practice doctor. He told me to stop taking the stuff as I was having an allergic reaction. If he hadn't told me to stop, I probably would not be e-mailing you right now.

First ER doctor told me I had the flu even though I told him I was on the medication, had every damn side effect and told him I was allergic to a few other antibiotics. He was a real genious. Also had high fever and severe joint pain (couldn't move).

I am writing for your help. When I had the side effects, it include my cheeks turning red and feeling swollen, hot and dumb. I am still experiencing the same symptoms occasionally (once every few months). Never had this problem before taking the medicine. I am writing to you now because I am experiencing the symptoms today. I found your site through the internet. I mentioned my problem with the face to a doctor shortly after having the reaction and he blew me off. I know that you are not a physician, but I was wondering if any of the other affected people had this problem.



BACTRIM: 21 October 2004

I don't know if you are still taking e-mails regarding this drug, but here is my story. When I came down with a UTI about a month and a half ago (September 2004), I was prescribed this drug (Bactrim, or whatever else they call it). It killed the bacteria, but then I came down with severe oral thrush and a vaginal yeast infection. I went to my doctor complaining of this and also the pain in my stomach, with major gas, bloating, pain, diarrhea, etc. He then gave me Nystatin, which worsened my stomach condition, but cured the oral thrush.

I ended up in the ER. I had kidney pain, nausea, and stomach pain. They prescribed me Prevacid for gastritis, after they said my kidneys, liver, and pancreas were fine ... They also gave me Percocets for the pain. They also checked for pregnancy and another UTI, which were both negative. The Prevacid was not covered by my insurance so I took OTC Prilosec, which helped to heal my battered tummy. They next day I passed a kidney stone and have had on and off pain in my kidneys since the sulfa drug.

After a month of agony, I was eating solid foods again and my stools began to have color again, my energy level rose a bit. I still am passing stones though.

All I know is that I probably would have been better off without that broad-spectrum antibiotic, which was given to me before my doctor even knew if I had an infection. I probably would have been better off with Cipro or something. Never again will I take that drug, as I am still recovering and live in fear each day that I have done irreversible damage to myself. I felt like I aged 15 years in one month, not worth it.

Thank you for listening, I am comforted in knowing others have suffered similarly and that I am not alone.


BACTRIM DS: 29 October 2004

Hi Brian:

I really want to thank you for your website. I believe the information on your site saved my life 2 weeks ago. Earlier this year I was diagnoses with Epidiymtis. The first antibiotic didn't work, so the doc gave me Keflex. it worked like a charm, but it was only prescribed for a week, so the infection was fully killed off and so it came back. So, my doc. thought Bactrim DS would be effective for 4 wks. I took my first pill at night and I awoke the next morning with itchiness and rashes all over my arms, legs, hands and feet. I had some joint pain as well. I thought the side effects were normal, I went to class ( I'm a college student), I took the next pill right after class. Within 2 hrs, my heart was beating out of my chest, I had hives, my body was swollen, eyes bloodshot, headache and joint pain so bad I could barely move. Right away I looked online and found your site. Like a Godsend, this site raised the red flag and showed me how serious the situation was. My friends told me to rush to the clinic. The local doc. said it was just a reaction to sulfer.

Within 2 days after stopping the drug, my hives, swelling and joint pain decreased substantially. Last week my eyes eventually became less bloodshot( still a few vessels left popping out), furthermore, I also had very bad upper abdominal bloating (meybe due to swollen intestines) which now gone away and today is the first day in 2 weeks I feel my headache and sinus pressure is dimished. After almost having no energy to move last week, I can now go about my daily life without problems. I have noticed the ringing in my ears a bit louder than usual and more consistant. I took a blood test this week to measure my blood cells and thank God, everything was ok.

I know my experience isn't as serious as others I have read on your website, but I think because of your website, I caught myself in time and became aware that my reaction was serious enough to stop taking Bactrim, seek treatment and get steriods. I hope my remaining symptoms will work thier way down over the next coming days and weeks.

I am determined to have Bactrim and other Sulfa-products re-evaluated and allergy tested so others do not have to experience the side-effects of this poison.

Thank you


DITRIM: 31 October 2004

My 7 month-old puppy died yesterday of toxic shock. After days of not eating and increased vomiting, she had a siezure and died. Blood work taken a day before she died indicated high liver numbers. She had been taking Ditrim--a sulfadiazine/trimethoprim-- for a urinary tract infection. After a week, she was better, but according to the vetrinarian, not 100%, so they perscribed another 960 mg twice a day. Three days later, her loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting began. We are very upset, however we are thanful for this information and have a better understanding of what went wrong because of the stories of others out there that have gone through this. I plan to share this information with my friends, especially now that I know this is something given to people as well.


BACTRIM: 1 November 2004

Brian, I want to congratulate you on your brilliant article on Bactrim.(I took Batrim many years ago and felt so ill I stopped taking them and flushed them down the loo) I then went on to suffer with Eyrethem multiformi for several year and am wondering if now there was some connection?

My Daughter was struck down with Steven Johnson Syndrome 3 years ago at 39 with two small children at the time, she nearly died and has been left with severe eye problems and is registered partially sighted. We were told it was very RARE 1 in 3 million but it certainly does not seem rare now. Paula was not taking any medication that we know of so hers is one of the mysteries.

Is there a U.K website or any connection for SJS sufferers to communicate.

Thanking you.

Doreen H (Mother of Paula)

BACTRIM: 1 November 2004


Two things:

1. I admire your drive to do something about an unsatisfactory drug/medical experience. So many people think that Dr's and Pharmaceutical Companies know better than they do and so they take their word as gospel,even to their own detriment.

2. My Bactrim experience: I am almost 30 years old and have never seen the inside of an emergency room. Never had an IV, never broken more than a finger, never had stitches. I've had persistent lower back and left flank pain which Dr's keep attributing to a low grade Kidney infection. I took Cipro for 3 days about a month ago but the pain didn't go away, so I went back to the Dr a week ago Sunday. That time they prescribed Bactrim for 7 days. By Wednesday my chest felt so tight I felt like I couldn't catch my breath. Although I didn't want to, I went to the ER. They did an EKG, chest X ray, CT scan, and monitored my oxygen levels for almost 4 hours.

They couldn't find anything wrong w/me. I kept asking if it could be the Bactrim and they kept saying no, that if I was having an allergic reaction to the Bactrim I'd have a rash. So I went home and took another dose that night and another dose the next morning before pulling out the insert and reading that symptoms of a severe allergic reaction to the drug included tightness of the chest and shortness of breath. I went back to the Dr and he took me off the Bactrim.

I am usually VERY healthy and typically bounce back from the few ailments I do get with speed and ease. I have been very disheartened by the fact that it's been over 72 hours now since I stopped taking the drug and I'm still short of breath after going up a flight of stairs.

Valerie N-H

BACTRIM: 3 November 2004


Thanks for this site. My grandaughter was given Bactrim six years ago when she was five months old. It was supposed to be for urinary reflux and she took one dose per day. The doctor ordered bloodwork at the end of one month. She was neutropenic. They took her off the bactrim, but she remained neutropenic. I had told the doctor and the pharmacist that the child's mother was allergic to sulphur drugs, but they didn't think this was a problem. I told them that her mother broke out in a rash (like sunburn) when she was three years old and received three days dosage of the medicine. My daughter has had no other sulphur in her life, but has always suffered from swollen hands and feet. She also has stabbing pains in her sides and back areas. My grandaughter remained neutropenic for two years and was sent to St. Judes, but instead we went to Arkansas Children's Hospital, where we were told that there is no treatment except in major emergency situations such as an automobile accident - that she would just have to be careful and not get injured or catch virus that would cause infection (ears, etc). It was a nightmare for all of us. Five years after the medication, she has taught herself how to make neutrophil cells again. In the meantime, she has suffered severe yeast infections and has been hospitalized with fever of unknown origin lasting up to three months.

No member of my family will ever take Bactrim again - or any sulphur medication. That medicine took three years away from my family and I have still not recovered from the trauma of the ordeal. I am wondering what side effects my grandaughter will have as she grows older - I understand that some people develop Lupus and I am beginning to suspect that her mother (my daughter) is one of them. (My daughter is adopted. Her biological mother had lupus - and if I had her medical records, I would not doubt that she had been given Bactrim or some other sulphur drug during her life. She died at age 37). We are meeting her family in two weeks. I have lots of questions for them, one of which is whether or not anyone else in their family has had dealings with Bactrim.

Thank you for listening. I hope the pharmaceutical labs get what they deserve for this drug.

Wanda W.

BACTRIM: 15 November 2004

I found this website when I was searching for an answer as to why this happened to me. About a month ago I was prescribed bactrim for a UTI. I had never taken it before, when I went to the doctor I was not sick, only a little blood in the urine and not feeling too bad. I even went out to lunch afterward. I came home and took a bactrim, within the hour or so I came down with a fever and chills so bad my teeth were chattering. I stayed in bed but thought I had better take another bactrim cause I am sick. Well I was so sick all night and the next day with chills and fever. I quit the bactrim. The next day I was weak but the fever did go away. I asked my doctor if bactrim could have given me a fever and he said no. Well a week later I have come down with vasculitis - all over my legs and onto my arms. I am now on prednisone for it and have tested positive on an ANA test - the lupus test. I just wonder if bactrim could have done this to me?

Becky, Ohio

NOVO TRIMEL DS: 20 November 2004

Hi Brian

I was put on Novo Trimel DS (also known as Bactrim/Septra) back in July 2004. After being on this for a few days I was advised to stop taking it as my doctor had made a mistake and I did not have a bladder infection after all. After only being on them for a day I started having severe lower leg pain that did go away after stopping taking the pills. However, ever since taking this drug I now suffer with extreme exhaustion and feeling weak. I have been back to the doctor twice and have had the standard tests and nothing shows up as being wrong.

Has anyone ever been able to explain to you what has gone wrong and if they have ever been able to regain their health. I have read lots of letters on your web-site about the problems people have had, however, no one who has mentioned having extreme fatigue/exhaustion has ever mentioned anything about recovery. I would be interested in any info you can offer me. Understandably I am getting quite frustrated with not getting any answers and struggling to make it through each day.

Bernie, Vancouver, BC

BACTRIM: 21 November 2004

About three years ago my doctor prescribed bactrim. I believe it was for an infection but do not recall the details. I was about 70 yeares old at the time. I got out of bed to go to the bathroom and when I returned to the bedroom I fell to the floor at the foot ot the bed. I was so weak that it took a lot of effort to climb back into bed. This weakness continued the next day and I fell off the living room sofa and could not get back up. My wife had to call for help. The doctor then put me into the hospital where I underwent LOTS of tests, non of them conclusive. At this point I was no longer taking the bactrim. After several days in the hospital I no longer had the symptoms and was discharged. The only thing that my doctor could tell me is that it must have been the bactrim. It was a very frightening experience as I am normally an active person.

Howard R, Montoursville, PA


BACTRIM: 24 November 2004

My husband went to Dr. for a sinus infection, etc. He was prescribed Bactrim, even though he said he would rather stick with Cipro, as he had good results with that. After taking one pill last night at 10:00, he woke up at 3:00 with severe reaction to the drug. His hands, feet, etc. were scarlet red, swollen and extremely painful to move. Dr.'s office said to take Benadryl and discontinue the drug. Tonight he is still suffering with the pain, itching and swelling.

I would say, stay away from this drug. It's definitely not worth risking the side effects.

Margaret, Northville

SMZ TMP: 27 November 2004

I have had a recent adverse reaction from using the SMT/TMP antibiotic. This is not the first time I have had adverse effects to an antibiotic. Since I developed a urinary tract infection, I was forced to try an antibiotic once again. On the third day of taking this medicine I began to quickly develop a sharp stomach pain followed by anxiousness, severe weakness, dizziness and heart palpitations.

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