Side effects risks
Bactrim Septra: a secret epidemic

Bactrim Septra Sulfatrim Septrin

SMX/TMP side effects reports


Page 12 of mail to investigative reporter Brian Deer (left) recounting sometimes serious side effects of the antibiotic often known as Bactrim, Sulfatrim, Septra or TMP/SMZ

Cotrim TMP/SMX Septrin Bactrim Septra Sulfatrim cotrimoxazole TMP-SMZ side effects

DITRIM: 31 October

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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.

SEPTRIN: 6 December

Dear Brian Deer

I had just been looking up on the internet, a drug prescribed for my dog and was rather horrified to read the adverse effects of Rimadyl on animals.

As I have always, without any definite evidence, blamed some problems I have on Septrin, I, idly, decided to look up Septrin and was flabbegasted, to put it mildly, by the vast stack of evidence against this drug.

I have felt annoyed that various problems I have were, I felt sure, as a result of taking Septrin but having ready of the horrendous effects it has

had on some people I suppose I can consider myself lucky.

I can't remember when I had Septrin exactly but somewhere about 1984/6. Nor do I remember what it was prescribed for, I know that I only took it for 2/3 days at the most when I developed bright pink, puffy legs. I stopped taking it immediately and went to see the GP who displayed me to his nurses and told them to take note of a typical reaction to Septrin.

It was some time later before I developed a reaction to the sun. Never, I'm happy to say, as catastrophic a reaction as other people mentioned in the e-mails, but still one which means I have never been able sit in the sun since without coming out in an itchy rash - something which I hadn't associated with the Septrin until now. I also, from not long after having the Septrin, have developed very dry eyes, which cause me considerable discomfort, and a very dry mouth - both of these I have always attributed to Septrin. Possibly the osteoporosis, which I have developed in more recent years, has been exacerbated by Septrin since it apparently reduces calcium?

Why have the manufacturers never been brought to book for this drug? The drug firm which produced Thalidomide tried to wriggle out of things but were eventually forced to pay out and Septrin's owners should have to do the same as they have killed some people and blighted the lives of others.

It is time the medical world opened its eyes to the problems caused instead of accepting the drug companies publicity for their products.

My very best wishes to all who have suffered bad effects from this appalling drug.

SEPTRA: 27 December

I was prescribed Spectra for a Stash infection as well as another med called Clindamycin. I was told to take both twice a day, the Spectra for 30 days and the other for 7 days. I took the first dose of both at night and woke up with a bad stomach ache. I assumed that I was hungry so I ate an entire meal and took my second dose of both prescriptions. I felt awful that afternoon and vomited once. I skipped that night for fear of another rough night and next day, so I just took one of each pill for the next three days, then I woke up with a horrible rash which was itchy all over, including my face and ears, butt and stomach! This is where I am today, scratching and praying that my rash will be gone by new years! I cannot visit the doctor's because it is the day after Christmas and doctors are closed!!!! Thank you for letting me know that I am not the only one!

Jenny, Houston, TX

BACTRIM: 29 December

Hello Brian,

I am writing again with an update. I got Bactrim the first weekend in October 2004 for a UTI. I had never taken it before. That day I was not sick, went out to lunch before coming home and taking the first Bactrim pill. Within an hour or so I had shaking chills and fever and went to bed. Thinking I must be sick from the UTI I took my second Bactrim pill that next morning. I was so sick all day Sunday, shaking chills, I thought I would die. By this time I thought it must be the Bactrim. I did not take any more and by Sunday evening my fever was gone but I was wiped out. I called my doctor the next day - Monday- I called off work, too. I asked him if Bactrim could bring on fever and chills and he said "No, you must have had something else going on." About a week and a half later I broke out in reddish/purple bumps all over my legs. The next week I had red spots (later they were called petechaie) A biopsy revealed leukocytoclastic vasculitis - possibly from an allergic reaction. One doctor said it was serum sickness - lupus has also been suggested. It has been three months and I still have bumps the size of half dollars that are blackened and scabbed over on my legs, also fatigue and joint pain. I have been on prednisone this whole time and a round of Keflex cause he thought the bumps were infected. Also, I am learning that sulfa is a component in many drugs. I take the blood pressure pill Lotrel. I have since learned that it contains a sulfanomide. I cannot believe that taking just two Bactrim could cause all this misery that has lasted for three months now. Thanks for listening.

Rebecca L, Ohio, USA

SEPTRA: 31 December

Dear Brian

Your site has been very helpful. I thought I was losing my mind. I was taking Septra for a UTI. I developed bright red spots all over my body. Then these spots turn brown and flaky. I also have developed diarrhea and stomach pain not to mention the severe headaches, which cause me to be tired and sleepy.

Also, I told my physician that I was allergic to sulphur products however, he ASSURED me that I would be okay.

Angela, Georgia

BACTRIM: 11 January


An ER doctor prescribed this medication to my daughter (she is 16) and nearly killed her. She has been on medication to stop the side effects but it is such a slow process. I am desperate to stop her pain and have tried to find homeopathic remedies to help- such as oatmeal bath to soothe the rashes, etc. Her doctors just add on more and more medications. Do you have a list of web sites or resources that may have less traumatic remedies to undo the damage this medication has wrought?

Thank you for your time,


SEPTRA: 20 January

On the positive side...

I have peripheral neuropathy and use Vicodin and Neurontin for pain.

I was recently prescribed a Septra generic for a penicillin resistant foot infection and found it unnecessary to take the pain killers while taking the antibiotic.


Jim M

SEPTRA: 22 January

Dear Brian,

This week was the week from hell. I was given a prescription of a generic of septra for an infection. After the 3rd dose the left side of my jaw was VERY painful and the teeth on the left side of my jaw felt like they were dying and i needed several root canals.

I went to my dentist and found no problems with my teeth.Eating was excruciating. I went to the pharmacist and asked him the side effects of the this drug. He gave me a sheet to read. I stopped taking the drug and called my doctor. I was told i probably was having the flu and to keep taking the drug. I said no.

I wanted another antibotic which was prescribed upon my insistence. I can not express the amount of physical pain that went along with this. I also had a sore throat going into my ear. It has been three days since i stopped taking the drug. The jaw pain has reduced somewhat. My teeth are very sensitive as well as the inside of my mouth. My throat feels very strange. The mandibular joint is still sore and the muscles tight.My heart beats and chest feel unusual and there is general body weakness. I hope that these side effects leave soon.

I am very grateful for this site. My doctor nor dentist would believe that this drug could have caused all of this. I am a healthy person and this onset was very rapid after taking this drug. I have not doubt.



Side effects of Septra DS, co-trimoxazole, Septrin, Bactrim, Bactrim DS, cotrim, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, cotrimoxazole, TMP-SMX, SMZ-TMP, Trimeth-Sulfa, Sulfatrim, Septran, Trimethox. Your feedback is appreciated, and your experience with this drug may help others