Side effects risks
Bactrim Septra: a secret epidemic

Bactrim Septra Sulfatrim Trimeth

TMP/SMZ side effects reports


Page 16 of mail to investigative reporter Brian Deer (left) recounting sometimes serious side effects of the antibiotic often known as Bactrim, Septra, Sulfatrim or TMP/SMX

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

BACTRIM: 25 June

Dear Brian,

I was directed to you through a pharmacist that Googled mood swings and pediatric bactrim. My original call to him was to find out what additive for favoring was in the drug. My daughter who has her temper tantrum moments had been becoming very violent and irritable. More than with a normal viral infection or cold. A call to the doctor was made prior and he thought it was just the combo of illness and drug fighting the infection. Dx of UTI at ER a week ago. Becca at times is not content until she physically hurts something. Which makes for a long day. Keeping track of her little brother, two cats and the dog. It has been a long week. Will She get this drug again, not if I can help it. She is allergic to amoxicillin, but now I would consider her sensitive to sulfa/trimethoprim. Hopefully this may help some other parent wondering where did this monster child come from. Its like having DR Jeckell and Mr. Hyde in our house.

SEPTRA: 26 June

Just yesterday my 82 year old mother had a serious reaction to septra otherwise known as sulfa. she was prescribed this med for a uterine infection. She took 2 on Friday...June 24, 2005 as a 24 hour period.

Another one Saturday morning after her oatmeal breakfast. Within 10 minutes she was vomiting severely.... I had her lay down for a couple of hours....Then she got up and took a bath under my constant supervision...

After her bath we dried her hair and trimmed the top of her hair. During this time she became rather quiet and started to slump over a little bit.. thinking she was tired, I asked her to set up and take a deep breath and let it out slowly...She didn't seem to be paying attention and then her eyes rolled back in her head and she became limp...

I put her on the floor and called 911....the paramedics came and stayed with her awhile and then she came around..

They said it was a reaction to the medicine....very scary...I gave her tons of water to flush it out of her system Mom is ok.

I strongly suggest that everyone tells their Dr. and all pharmacists of their medical conditions...

I did tell the Dr. and her allergy to sulfa is on file...however, Dr. do not take pharmaceutical education...they know what medicines cure what systems but they don't know chemical combinations and all the names for med and generic names.

It is vital to inform all medical persons of your allergies to meds...I did in advance, however when we transfered my mother to another city where she lives with me,,,some how her medical allergies did not transfer to her new pharmacist as they were supposed too.

Everyone should make a medical profile whenever they use a new Doctor or pharmacist...

Please pay attention to your medical means your life


SMZ/TMP: 4 July

Hi Brian,

My best friend also took this sulfar drug SMZ/TMP, about six months ago she broke out with these terrible hives, blotches on her skin and swollen face. The Doctors told her it was probally a food allergy. Just today she took this drug and she broke out with these hives from head to toe, blotches on her skin and a fever she is in so much pain, itch.

The Doctor told her to watch out for breathing problems due this drug can cause shortness of breath.

Christine W.


I have been taking a generic of Bactrim for 15 days for a UTI. I still have a UTI. I've been through this before several times. Bactrim has had very little effect on my UTIs. I have them pretty regularly and try to combat them with lots of water, cranberry juice and cranberry pills. When the UTI gets unbearable I call my doctor's office. The nurses always get him to prescribe Bactrim even though it only takes the edge off the infection. For whatever reason, I can't get the nurses to communicate with my doctor when I say I need Ciphro. They won't let me talk to him directly and say my UTI is only a minor issue and they don't have time to bother the doctor with it. If I want Ciphro I have to miss work (hurting me financially because I'm busily self-employed) and go to his office where he tells me I should have just called and he'd change it for me. I've watched the nurses sit around eating snacks and talking, while avoiding phone calls or telling patients they don't have time to talk to the doctor. It's really frustrating. Anyway, back to Bactrim. 2 days ago I started experiencing a lot of pain in my left hand. Yesterday the pain started in my right hand and my left foot. My right shoulder and the back of my neck are really sore and stiff also. Last night the pain in my hands was so bad I could barely pick up the smallest of my cats. I have a high tolerance for pain so I'm afraid it could be something very bad. The only other problem I have is a burning in my stomach (which kept me awake the other night) and this nagging UTI. The pain and cracking in my hands is really bothering me. I'm afraid to go to my doctor though because I'm concerned it may be arthritis and I don't want that on my record. I am a healthy very active woman so this is really getting me down. I'm blaming the Bactrim because I've never experienced these kinds of pains before and they were unprovoked by any unusual event.


SMZ/TMP: 12 July


I had to go to the ER last Thursday for some major abdominal pain, come to find out I had a sevier UTI. The doctor gave me SMZ/TMP DS 800-160 to take 2 pills a day once in the morning and once at night. I was told to drink lots of water with it. I thought that with all antibiotics I would start feeling better. Boy was I wrong. I felt worse than I did before I went in. I was fatigued, extreamly nauseated, and major headaches. I felt horrible. I was achey and so tired. I almost did not make it through work and school Monday. Come Monday night I decided to start to do some research on the medication and I came across your web site, it informed me greatly! I did not take my medication that night and called my regular doctor the next morning. She told me to stop taking it and to come in for a follow up! Thanks so much! I will hopefully sleep better tonight now that I am not taking it any more! I will be spreading the word about this drug!


BACTRIM: 13 July

Wow. I have been taking Bactrim 2 times a day since last Friday for a UTI. Not only has my skin broken out in uncontrollable acne, I am very itchy in spots which bruise when I scratch them. I also have been having what feels like a swelling (or sorts) in my sinuses and a mild sore throat, along with a constant dull headache which gets worse and better over and over. If all that wasn t enough I have been having trouble sleeping, hot flashes, and my appetite has almost completely vanished. I feel hungry but when I try to eat it makes me want to vomit, and I have already dropped a considerable amount of weight. I m wondering if I should stop this medication before it really messes up my health. Thank you for your site.

Shilo L.


Thank you so much for your website, I have been going crazy trying to figure out what was wrong with me, thinking the absolute worst, but the problem is bactrim. I was prescribed it 24 hrs ago, this morning I woke up with a crippling headache, yellow eyes, and pain so severe in my elbows and knees that I could barely stand up. I was given Bactrim for a bladder infection, which I will admit has gotten better after only two pills, but I will not take any more of the drug and am going to my doctor tomorrow to get something else. I have never had a reaction to medicine before ever! I am praying right now for the joint pain to disipate and that it won't cause any permanent damage, its horrible. Thank you for putting that information out there, please continue to do so.

Lindsey S.

BACTRIM: 13 July

Beware of IVs if you are allergic to sulfur drugs. After having a bad allergic reaction to Bactrim, my doctor advised me to make sure all medical personnel knew about the reaction because many IV needles have enough sulfur to cause a reaction. After taking Bactrim for about three days for a kidney infection, my feet, ankles, and lower legs broke out in a rash. One day later my ankles were extremely swollen and what was just a typical rash turned into pockets of fluid and blood. After having my doctor look at it she confirmed that it was due to the medicine. I've been in to see the doctor several times since and even made a trip to the emergency room because of the pain. I was put on steroids and after being taken off of them ended up taking Claritin to help the healing process. After about three weeks of the skin being bubbled up, I started peeling it away, so the fluid could drain out better. I then saw another doctor who told me it was like a third-degree burn and have been treating it with sylvadine cream since. I've had it for around two months now and most of it is dried up, however, doctors say it will probably take the whole summer to heal.

Lindsay K.

SEPTRIN: 19 July

Dear Brian

An update of 16th september 2003.I have a name for the problem I have in my stomach(Gastroparesis) a devastating illness, I wrote to you saying I have dumping syndrome ,I have just been told I have a second dumping in my stomach, this was caused with the nissen fundoplication I had to help the emptying of my stomach, which caused another problem on top of gastroparesis so now I am dealing with both early and late dumping syndrome and the pain that goes with it. The specialist has also said that the antibiotic I took (septrin)and an arthritis drug was to blame for all this going on in my stomach in the first place.There is no cure for gastroparesis, no research, no help,it has taken me 8 years to get a proper diagnosis, no one knows anything about it.(All this through (SEPTRIN).

Betty. UK.


Thanks so much for the postings on sulfamethoxazole. I was relieved to see similar side effects to mine. I took one pill and within two hours I felt like my entire skin surface was in pain, like a deep itch or needles from head to toe, it's intolerable. No warning when my doctor prescribed it. I'm supposed to take it as a prophylaxis for pneumocystis pneumonia, I hope that there is something else that I can take.


BACTRIM: 22 July

My name is Richard,im disabled and without any type of insurance.Having pains in my groin and other private areas i went to the local clinic thinking i had another case of swolen or infected prostate gland.Im 35yrs old and have had two bad cases of prostate infections in my life.I ask the dr.for cipro,willing to pay for a higher priced drug,because it worked before, i was unable to convince the dr.of the perscription,and she prescribed me bactrim 880/180.Im allergic to penn,codine,kelflex,asprin,biaxin xl.and ibuprofen over 600mg breaks my scalp out in big itchy bumps.Well anyway at 11:00pm same night i took my 2nd bactrim,id already noticed itching on my middle fingers of each hand.

But i have psorisis on my hands so i brushed of the feeling and started for bed. While brushing my teeth i noteced red and purple like blotches and boil like lumps on my belly sides and arms,but since i had no trouble breathing i sat up till 4am to see what would happen,then went to bed.Awakening at 8:45 to the most violent chills ive ever had i immediately checked my temp,97.7 and the tremoring was uncontrollable.I got my family up and went to the ER.When the Drs looked at me they gave me a shot of steroids and a benedral pill.It took about an hour and a half for the violent chills to leave me,i couldnt even smell of food for the nausua,and after the blood and urine screen came back normal,the drs sent me home with a steroid pack and levaquin 500mg for 10 days.Ive been in bed off and on all day,about 12hrs or more.Something told me in a way not to take the sulfa drug but on the other hand i felt it was better too because it was cheaper.Thank God i didnt die from this ordeal,but belieave me i felt like i would die right there in the ER.Ive never been so sick in my life,when i was trying to talk to the er drs i had to hold my jaw still with my hand to stop the quivering,so they could understand me.I hope this helps someone and to all parents everywhere,never let a dr give this drug to your child,if it done this to me imagine what a child would go through,i know im not alone in this,i just got off your web site,keep up the good work and God bless in Jesus name all who read this.


BACTRIM: 26 July

Hi Brian

I've taken Bactrim DS three times now. Right now I'm taking it for a UTI (same as before). Two a day for 10 days. This time is not like the others. My symptoms weren't that bad because I caught it early. The first day I had bad headaches, one minute I could be so hungry and when I try to eat I feel nauseous. I have abdominal pain that comes and goes. And every time that I've taken this medicine my period had been a week late (including this time). I'm 30 and the only time my period was even a day late was the two times I found out I was pregnant with my two kids, this isn't the case now because I've had a tubal. I'm on day 6 of 10 days and my bladder infection is still there. Actually my burning and itching are constant, not very intense but very uncomfortable. I didn't have these symptoms when I started this medicine.

Thanks for listening


SMZ/TMP DS: 30 July

im 13 and took smz/tmp ds and I would feel hot than I had a panic attack so I stopped taking it (it was for mrsa which colonized under my skin) and I have been feeling better so far but this is the 1st day I havent takin it so I just have to see!



Our dog, Oscar, died a week ago of liver failure. A month before he was given sulfamethoxazole for an infected sore on his leg. He was an Irish Water Spaniel and only four years old. He was a great dog, very loving, although a bit immoral when it came to chicken. Oscar figured out how to open our refrigerator and help himself to left over chicken, cheddar cheese and anything else that smelled good to him. We loved our dog and he did not have to die.

This is certainly not as tragic as some of the stories you have covered in your articles about Bactrim, etc. but an interesting connection perhaps.


Lori, USA.

BACTRIM: 6 August

Hey Brian,

Just found your website because I was interested in this horrible drug my DR prescribed to me for sinus infection. The only thing I thought I was allergic to was penicillan. I took 1 tablet at 7:30 AM and less than 2 hours I felt aches all over & nausea. Temperature escalated to 103. These symtoms lasted for 2 days. This is the 3rd day that my body is totally worn out. I called my DR the morning of symtoms, she still has not called me back (3 days later)

Time for a new doctor-don't you think?

Jessie C.

BACTRIM: 8 August

Just happened to find your website while searching for side effects of the drug. You see, I too have had reactions to the drug. I was taking the generic form for a urinary tract infection last week. Thank goodness my complaints are minor compared to those on your site. My problems were shaky hands, bloated stomach, severe sharp pain in the hip, a knee that felt out of wack, and jaw pain. I feel fine now although fearful of recurrence. I will never take Bactrim again! Thanks for letting people share their stories. The public should be more informed.

BACTRIM: 17 August

Thank you for all the information via internet regarding Bactrim. My doctor prescribed this for treatment for an earache August 1.

I became so ill I thought I was going to die. I took 10 of the 14 tablets (generic brand). I feel so shaky inside, it is difficult for me to walk and feel like crap. Am 78 years young and not ready to die--at least not because of a bad drug that should not even be on the market. Do you know of anything that could counter this or help me get back to normal?

Thanks so much for all the information. May God bless you.

Dorothy S

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