SMZ-TMP - Septra DS - sulfamethoxazole: mail to this site on side-effects (16)

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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  SMZ/TMP: 22 May 2005

I was prescribed SMZ/TMP for a infection, and they didnt even know if it was a Urinary Infection, I took the pills on the first day, and felt really strange and called my sister because I was feeling depressed,anxious,restlessness,and uneasy. Well that was the best day I had on it, there were worse to follow. A few days later I took my dose and went to work, I then started having breathing problems and really moody, and all the symptoms I felt the day before, but ten times worse. I then changed moods/personalities, it made me have rage and I felt like I wanted to hit things and I was cursing and anyone who talked to me, I cused them out. I also had a state where I was really confused, where I was at, and what was going on.

I remember just sitting there on some steps slumped up against a shelf, and sliding down the steps and I had no reaction. People were talking to me and up in my face and I remember seeing and hearing them but I could not get out of the state I was in and eventually went to the Emergency Room. Finally, today, which is the reason I was on the site, looking at the side effects, I took it and it was bad for about a hour/hour and a half. Felt really depressed, so depressed I have suicide on my mind, along with being restless and not caring about anything that was going on. I was angry and frustrated and couldnt concentrate on anything, I could not urinate, and now looking back on the previous times I took the pill, I did not urinate while on it. I had severe headaches, and I just felt like I was dying. This pill may help some people, but I know its not for me. I am lucky I came out of it ok because it really makes you depressed and susceptable to doing things you would not normally think of doing. So thats my experience, I will not be taking this again, no matter what my doctor says. I think it is in my best intrest.


BACTRIM: 25 May 2005

In 2003 I had back surgery and from that was infected with MRSA.. a very dangerous Staph infection, after mnths of pain , headaches, dizziness, confusion, fever, I was diagnosed with Bacterial Menningitis, Mycobacteria fortuitum, among other Bacteria infections in my spinal cord.

I was taken by my husband ama to Jacksonville Fla. to the Mayo Cllinic and at that time learned of abscesses on my brain. I was within 2 weeks of death when i got to Mayo. I hav ebeen put on bactrim among other antibitotics June 2005 wil be a year i have been taking them.The infectious Diesease Dr. at Mayo thinks i should stay on the antibiotics for another year. the side effects are living Hell . NO one can even imagine until they have taken the antibiotic. When you say antibiotic everyone thinks AWWW just something to help you but the side effects sometimes are worse than the actual infection. I can sympathize with anyone who has taken this antibiotic.

I am only 40yrs old and have been the picture of health until 2003. Now ,I can't barely make it through the day at times must less do any of the things i used to before I became sick and was placed on numerous antibiotics.

Depression has taken over my life in many ways. Don't know if it is the antibiotics or just all I have been through. I came so close to death it scares me to think of it. If not for my husband litterally putting me in vehicle from another hosp. ICU unit and taking me to Mayo .I would have never been here to tell my story.

I thank GOD everyday for giving me a second chance.

God bless you


BACTRIM: 29 May 2005

My daughter was diagnosed with Salmonella last week. She contracted it around May 20. In addition to Flagyl which she started taking on May 23, the doctor prescribed Bactrim on Friday, May 27. After the 4th dose, we noticed approximately 10 raised red welts on her lower legs, some approximately 1" across, others ranging from 1/4" to 1/2". She also has less than 6 small welts on her lower arms.

We called her pediatrician at 1:00 p.m. As it is Sunday, the doctor advised we go to the ER. The ER doctor advised that we stop taking the antibiotics. He said the Salmonella is not the cause, but the drug Bactrim may be. He said if she has additional symptoms or worsening to return to the ER, otherwise to follow up with her pediatrician on Tuesday (Monday is a holiday).

We first noticed the symptoms last night, but thought she had bumped her knee and it was a bruise. Today we noticed more spots. She has no other symptoms, thankfully.

Terri H.

SEPTRA: 31 May 2005

Dear Brian,

I wanted to thank you for the information listed on your website. I was recently prescribed Septra for a bronchial infection. I felt amazing after the first pill and for three to four days following. I then began to feel pain in my back, particularly my kidney area. Two days later I developed a fever which ranged from 101 to 103 and great joint and muscle pain, particularly in my legs. I began to research this drug and came across your website. I called my doctor who told me to continue taking the drug. I then developed a severe rash over my body, continued with the high fever, experienced ringing in my ears, immense joint pain and my mouth and tongue began to swell. I am a runner but I would walk a flight of stairs and would be panting. My chest felt heavy. After enduring two agonizing evenings, I called and demanded to see my doctor. Upon her first sight of my rash, which covered my entire body, but began in the abdomen, she diagnosed an allergy and prescribed steroids to counteract the reaction.

I must tell you that because of your website, I discontinued the septra, against my physician's orders, due to the fact that I had self-diagnosed an allergic reaction.

Thank you greatly.

Jennifer C, Tallahassee, FL.

SEPTRA: 2 Jun 2005

I just completed 9 of my 10 day prescription of Septra for a sinus infection. I had restless sleep every night and was awake 3 to 4 hours at a time. I purposely skipped one of my nightime doses so that I could attempt to get a good nights sleep. In the daytime, I felt edgy and nervous and it felt like I was on a bad diet pill or something. I had headaches throughout most of the treatment, however I attributed those to the sinus infection. On the 8th day, I had small blisters on my tongue but thought it might be from something I had eaten. On the 9th day, I woke up and had pink spots in some parts of my body (stomache, chest, neck, forehead, cheeks). I called the doctor and he said to stop taking the antibiotics and flush the remainder of the pills down the toilet. His concern was that if I had trouble breathing or the pink spots turned to blisters, I would need to come in the hospital, otherwise, I should drink lots of water and take benadryl for the itching. When I woke up yesterday, the pink spots had spread throughout my entire body and there were so many that it looked alot like sunburn. My skin was hot to touch, it looked red and swollen and stung like a burn. It felt like needles were being poked continuously at my skin. I went to the doctor again yesterday and after looking at my body, she asked several times whether or not I had been in the sun over Memorial weekend? I had not been.....at all! After looking at my ears (which were red hot and full of spots) and other various parts of my body, she agreed that I was having a severe allergic reaction to the the Septra. She said that it could take up to two weeks for the spots and itching to go away and I should continue to drink lots of water and take benadryl to relieve the itchiness. I think it is completely absurd that they continue to prescribe such a harsh medicine to people when so many patients are experiencing this type of reaction OR WORSE! I've read that 1/3 of the prescribed patients are allergic. I've read that this medicine is now illegal in England. Anyways, I just wanted to pass my experience with Septra on. I consider myself lucky after reading some of the other horrendous stories!


Joetta McF, CA

TRIMETH: 6 June 2005

Dear Mr. Deer;

My name is Trish Bxxxxx, and I am wiring you as a concerned mother of a 6 years old girl. My Daughter was diagnosed with a bladder reflux condition and the tender age of 6 months and was directly put a a liquid from of septra and later of trimeth to help her until she outgrew the condition, at the age of 3 while I brushed and flossed her teeth one broke, as you can well imagine I was horrified. Thinking I was a horrid mother I contacted a dentist straight away and has her checked out. When I went to my local pharmacist and toll her what had happened as she was also a friend I was told that it may have well been a side affect of aforementioned drug. She had 6 cavities (her teeth were rotting for the inside out) filled. As I mentioned she is now 6 and is facing getting more cavities filled as they are now breaking down around the existing fillings.


Trish B.

RESPRIM FORTE: 22 June 2005

Hi, I have just been prescribed this drug in Australia for an ear infection. Within a couple of hours of taking it, I began to come up in red small blotches which very quickly became very itchy. I also had a high fever and have had little sleep for the past two nights due to the fever and itching.

I have only taken three pills over the course of two days! I am not taking any more and will print off the relevant pages of your website and give them to the doctor.

Interestingly, unlike the UK where when you buy medication it contains a sheet of contra-indications and side effects, there was nothing either in or on the packaging to warn me that it had serious side effects. The only thing it said was to stay out of the sun, which I have.

Thanks for the website, it was just what I was looking for!

kind regards

Rachel S.


Hi. My name is Shelly and I found your website as I was researching the drug Sulfamethoxazole. I recently came from a family vacation and somehow got a bladder infection. My OBGYN gave me the antibiotic for sulfamethoxazole. I have been on this drug for two and a half days and I feel as bad as I did the day I walked into my doctor s office, but in a different way. I have increased nervousness, restlessness, feeling dizzy and having muscle spasms in my calves. I stopped taking the drug for a day, and all the side affects I just listed went away. Unfortunately, the bladder infection came back. I decided to take the medication again, thinking the side effects I listed above were just a coincidence. I took the drug tonight, and I feel horrible. All the symptoms are back. This is when I decided to research this antibiotic.

Thank you for the information provided. I will not take this medication again, due to what I just read.

Thank you again,

Shelly G.

BACTRIM: 25 June 2005

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 2005

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 prescribed..in 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 histories..it means your life



SMZ/TMP: 4 July 2005

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 2005


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 2005

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.

BACTRIM DS: 13 July 2005

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 2005

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 2005

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.


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