Septra DS - Bactrim - sulfamethoxazole: mail to this site on side-effects (19)

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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  BACTRIM: 23 November 2005

Hello, Brian I am so glad to have come across your wed site for this situation. My 24 year old sister was prescribed Bactrim for a staph infection. The infection cleared up very quickly. Her doctor put her in the hospital for IV antibiotics. She was told to go home and continue to take the Bactrim. She became so ill for the last four weeks we have had to bring her to the ER several times and today she is still in the hospital. All blood work shows no sign of the staph infection which started out on the lower part of stomach area. When it started three weeks ago she begin with severe pain through out her body and feeling very sick.

She had the shakes she is still numb from her neck up and can not taste anything.

Her blood pressure when she stands up is 60 that is why she is still in the hospital. A cardiologist is seeing and treating her for that. She is not in as much pain as before but still very exhausted just to sit up in bed is hard for her. They have ran so many test MRI, EKG, blood work, urinalysis every test has come up nothing. They do not see any reason why she is still so ill and we have mentioned the medication to them and no one seems to think this is still the reaction causing the problem. Could you please let me know if people are this ill for this long with reactions to this nightmare of a medication that needs to be taken off of the market so no one else or their family has to go through this. She was a perfectly healthy 24 year old with no known health issues. She is getting very depressed and has anxiety quite often. Please share any info you have on how long this could take. Also if you know of any one that had trouble with extremely low blood pressure and very fast pulse rate... Everyday we wake up and say maybe today will be the turning point for her but this has not happened yet. She now has seizure type shakes in the morning that she can not control...this maybe be due to the blood pressure meds he is giving her to bring her pressure up. Please help us maybe understand this better and it this will go away..

Thank you


CO-TRIMOXAZOLE: 28 November 2005

Dear Brian

I had my first experience with this antibiotic in July this year. The day after finishing a 7 day course I awoke about 4am with a grumbling stomach. That was July 24th 2005. It is now November 28th and my stomach still grumbles but I have also had fatigue, and trembling legs something like RLS. I am 59 year old and was prescribed these for bronchitis. Some days in August and September my brain didnt function properly and it did not feel like I was real. I have always been quite a fit fellow and tramp the hills and mountains but find now I dont have the energy I manage about 5 hours at work until I get fatigued and my stomach growls and legs tremble.

Kindest regards

Glen G, Christchurch, NZ

SEPTRA: 29 November 2005

Brian -

I have read many of the e-mails on your website...I can empathize with Denise from Manhattan, as my wife was prescribed Septra, by a nurse practitioner, for a supposed urinary tract infection. We have since discovered by a regular visit to the OBGYN, because my wife is 8 months pregnant, that the lab results actually didn't show a UTI - and that the OBGYN says the hospitals sometimes do this - prescribe something just to get you out of there (we went to the ER, because we thought it was premature labor). The thought of a UTI came about because my wife was urinating about every 30 mins. Well, needless to say, the OBGYN has taken my wife off the Septra, after having taken it for 8 days, 2x per day) and God willing, we won't be faced with severe side affects to my wife or our unborn son (we haven't had any problems yet, only minor nausea). I am nevertheless frustrated at the hospital, and regret not speaking up when my gut told me to do so. The nurse didn't give good enough evidence to us that the UTI really existed - she was vague in telling us that my wife had a UTI, and quickly told us she was prescribing us Septra to cure it. Now, unfortunately, I again have to go back to not being able to trust yet another group of people (nurses / hospitals), as I had hoped to get away from...

Patrick, Sacramento, CA

BACTRIM: 29 November 2005

Hi there Brian

I had the worst experience of my life when I was prescribed Bactrim for a sinus infection. Twenty minutes after taking this I felt my arms going numb and drove myself to the local emergency room. By the time I arrived there I could barely get out of my car and had to be taken inside in a wheelchair. I was unable to even hold onto a phone! I was admitted and had to be given potassium by IV since my levels had dropped so low. I spent 3 days in the hospital from only ONE dose of this stuff. The doctor could not believe that this drug could do THAT to me...........I was one of the RARE few that this drug affects neurologically. I not only lost strength in my hands and legs but my heart at a resting state was racing and my pulse was over 138 beats a minute......(it normally is 64) After being released I went to the local chiropractor and did not tell him what happened but told him of pains I was experiencing through out my body ....I told him I had pain even across my face...........he said the only thing that would cause the pain in my face was from a toxic substance I must have ingested!!!! Imagine that! I then told him what had taken place.....I fear that if I EVER had this drug again ..it would indeed kill me!

One thing I must add is that I am a very physically fit individual and not overweight etc. so for this to happen to me really scared me. I hope anyone that is given this, is aware of just how bad things can get in a very short amount of time..........I wish I had known!!!!!!!!!

Angel R

BACTRIM: 29 November 2005

I took Bactrim for bad skin infection on my arm. The doctor said it was cellulitus. I was told to take one tablet every 12 hours for 10 days even the condition is all better. My skin condition was all better by about 5 days later, but I kept taking the medication. Through out the course of medication, I started to have vertigo and fatigue. I also felt nauseous, too. On the 7th day in the morning, I saw a hullucination as I saw my landscaper in my yard. I saw him with four arms! I blinked my eyes hard and shook my head but my vision took more than a few seconds to normalize. I went right back to bed.

Suddently on the 8th day in the morning as I was eating a bowl of cereal, my right thigh started to get very itchy. I looked at my thigh and there were red and purple hives all over my
thigh. I panicked and within a couple of hours the hives spread all over my body. I went to an emergency room and they told me to stop taking it. That night, I had chills and fever over 101. My joints were in pain and I thought I was going to die.

Next day, I went to my family doctor and she took blood for a test. My white blood cell count was very low. To treat the condition, I was told to stop taking the drug. Also, I was prescribed to take METHYLPREDNISOLONE tablets (4mg). I took them as I was told and I took a lot of rest and ate a lot of vegitables, white meat, garlic, and euchanatia tea. I got all better in 2 - 3 days.

I will never take this drug again. If you have ANY concern is, if you think you feel any of the symptom I described, stop taking it and GO SEE A DOCTOR immediately.


BACTRIM: 5 December 2005

Dear Brian:

Thank you for this website. My 66 year old sister took a low dose course of Bactrim for a UTI while traveling last month. She had no apparent problems but the UTI returned once she was back home in the UK. She was then prescribed a high dose of Trimethoprim alone. Within 2 hours of taking the first dose, she started getting the acute nausea, weakness and headache associated with the Bactrim reaction. She stopped taking the Trimethorpim immediately, but it's now 4 days later and the headache has worsened, the nausea is still bad, she's had the fever and chills and is now so weak she can't get out of bed. Doctor is coming today. When she called the surgery two days ago, they prescribed a cephalosporin instead, but I've had an anaphylactic reaction to those, so she doesn't want to start on something that may cause more problems. I'm the other side of the world and, having read through your site, I am really worried about her.


BACTRIM: 14 December 2005

Hello Brian! Congrats on not only your articulate and effective article, but also on the courage you've shown by producing it. I'd like to share a story about Bactrim. I was diagnosed with a UTI a week ago roughly, and was prescribed Bactrim. The first day, I felt great, but strange. This sounds weird, but it was like I was in my own little world, and I was extremely giggly. Well that ended quickly. The second day, I noticed I felt extremely tired and not in pain, but stiff. My coordination was off and I noticed right away, because I waitress in the mornings, and I dropped things all shift, and couldn't hold my focus.

I was forgetting everything, and that's very unusual. On the third day I woke up and noticed my skin hurt. Nothing was red, but it felt like a sunburn. I actually couldn't sit on the toilet to urinate because the seat hurt my skin. I basically had to hover over it. I felt like one big walking sore bruise. I don't know why, but I never made anykind of connection. You usually take what your doctor gives you and you're good to go. That, and I had never had any kind of reaction to antibiotics in the past. Well on both the 4th and 5th days of my dosage, (2 tablets/day for 5 days) I started getting shooting pains in my left leg.

I have a follow up appointment today, and I am definitely planning on telling my doctor about this. I have been freezing (walking around w/ literally 3 pairs of socks on) and my appitite was gone for the whole time. I am getting that back now. I don't understand why this drug is still given, or why there hasn't been more done about it. I commend you for your efforts.

Sherry, PA

SMZ-TMP: 14 December 2005

I got cryptoccocal meningitus because my immune system was suppressed due to my having hemolytic anemia. I was put on a multitude of drugs one of which was SMZ-TMP. I came out of the hospital on 90mg of Prednisone, that was July 23, 2005. For approxiamately five weeks I've been breaking out in a rash that has continually gotten worse and itches really bad. At this point I'm down to 20mg of Prednisone but the rash practically covers my whole body. My infectious disease doctor took me off the SMZ-TMP yesterday thinking that might be the culprit.

Lisa C

SULFATRIM DS: 15 December 2005

Mr. Deer,

I found your website as I was searching the web for sulfatrim side-effects. I have to admit it was really helpful since it reveals accurate symptons and not only theoritical side-effects.

Here's my story. I am 27 years old and last Thursday I consulted my doctor for a UTI and he prescribed sulfatrim, twice a day for 10 days. The next few days were not that bad, my health seemed to improve. On Tuesday night I started having chills and I suddenly felt very tired. Then fever appeared. Wednesday morning I noticed a few red spots on my chest. At night things had gone worse : fever, muscle ache, extremely sensitive skin, red ithchy spots from head to toe, serious neck pain, swollen ganglions, a sore throat, short breath, no energy at all and backpain in the left kidney area.

I went to the doctor today, he prescribed complete rest for 5 days, had my blood tested and I'm going back on Monday for a check-up. Being aware of my health background; I have been hospitalized for left kidney infection last summer and my mother suffers from severe kidney problems...this worries me a little. The side-effects of sulfatrim are absolutely not worth the risks of taking this drug. And since the side-effects are not necessarily clearly stated, I consider this drug very dangerous. Experiences like mine and those of so many other people cannot be left unsaid.

Thank you,

Nancy B

BACTRIM: 19 December 2005

Brian, I wanted to share my experice because it is different than most i have read on your site. I had taken Bactrim straight for about 2 years to clear up acne and keep it away, this was the only thing that worked for me( in combination with Retin A and Benzoil peroxide ) I stopped taking it because i didnt like the idea of taking it all the time. , and eventually my acne came back. I took it again for another 2 years or so, and it worked well again... eventaully i wanted to stop taking it again... and back came the large pimples. So once again i went on it.. acne began to clear up but this time i had side effects. I began to get a bloody mucusy stool... it lasted a month or so even after i stopped taking the med. i also got a minor yeast infection in my penis that went away away when i stopped Batrim.. anyway i went to a GI doc, he suggested that a diff type of bac had taken over when the "good bact" where killed inadvetantly..He said it wouldnt make a diff if i continued to take Bactrim so i stared taking it again (i hate pimples) i got tested for the other bactiria but, it was not there,however i also stopped having the sysmtoms by then.. and i started taking Bactrim again at this time.. now here i am still on bactrim and i have what could be another side effect/.. the past week or 2 i started gettin little itchy bumps, kind of like poison ivy, kind of like aquatic dermatosis... I thought it was the second of the 2 because i go in the ocean alot, and have had it.. anyway now i think it may be from Bactrim...so im not sure what to do!!!!!! ill let you know how it works out...


BACTRIM: 20 December 2005

I started taking this med last Wednesday for a common sinus infection. I took two each day until I woke up Sunday with severe nausea. I have stopped taking it but so far (this is early Tuesday morning), no improvement. I'm also beginning to be very very sore in most joints.

Jan S

BACTRIM: 21 December 2005

Hello, i am a 20 yr old female, otherwise healthy who was prescribed bactrim for a sinus infection. I took 6 days worth and then began to feel chills...tookanother days worth and got hives... really really itchy and cover me from head to toe hives. I stopped taking the bactrim, but at what point should i worry.

do symptoms typically worsen from here.. ???

Dierdre H

AP0-SULFATRIM: 22 December 2005

Hi Brian,

I just spent the past hour reviewing your very interesting, informative site.

I had a UTI a three weeks ago. Took Apo-Sulfatrim for three days. After taking the first pill, 15 mins later, like hitting a brick wall, I experienced the most intense vaginal itch ever. I have heard before that yeast and bladder infections go hand in hand and didn't give it too much thought. Went back to the pharmacy and purchased a 1 day Canasteen application. I was surprised though how strong and quick it came on.

Immediately my bladder infection started to feel better after the first antibiotic. The vaginal itch continued for two more straight days, keeping me up throughout the night and bedridden, therefore missing work. Finally on the eve of the second day I called a pharmacist to get their opinion as to whether the antibiotic could be causing this and whether I should retreat the yeast infection. The response, continue the antibiotics and if I don't feel any better go to a doctor tomorrow. So on the third and final day of the antibiotic treatment I went to the see a doctor at a clinic. To my surprise he told me to take my last pill and to retreat the yeast infection with a 6 day application. The physician never did a physical exam. Could not believe it! If he had he would have know it was not a yeast infection. I even spotted blood which I suspect came from the intense irritation. I finished the course of my pills and Canisteen and within two days after the antibiotic, I started to heal.

Nine days after taking my last Apo-Sulfatrim my bladder infection returned. After struggling all day with it that eve I took another antibiotic, and low and behold the vaginal itch returned within 15 mins. Needless to say I did not take another pill and I had my confirmation that the itch was an adverse reaction. I was in discomfort for three more days. I was so angry especially with the physician, as well as the Pharmacy Pamphlet which neglected to highlight any effects related to vaginal itch.

Three weeks after taking my last pill, my GERD is out of control. I am normally on Pantoloc daily and that is making no difference. My stomach is burning, it feels like someone punched me and I am nauseas. I suspect these symptoms are remnants of the antibiotic. Do you have any idea how long it takes to leave your system?


Kellie M. Ontario, Canada

SEPTRA: 22 Dec 2005

Hi, my Dr prescribed Hydrochlorothiazide which is a water pill for high blood pressure last March I was told by the pharmacist's that it contained Septra which my Dr knows that I am very allergic to, the pharmacist phoned my Dr as they know that I am allergic to that drug and there is a certain amount of Septra in the drug I was told it was just a small amount I was prescribed 25mg to be halfed and half taken in the mornings a few weeks later I developed burning sensation in my legs and my tongue was covered with ulcers it has gradually been getting worse and now I have terrible sweats and get really dizzy,feel very weak and breathless my whole body feels its on fire I have to be careful what I eat or I get stomach pains I can't sleep at night I feel frustrated and depressed as the Dr can't tell me what is wrong with me.


Ailsa S

SULFATRIM: 24 December 2005

To: Brian Deer

I often have bladder infection my Dr. prescribed Cypro which worked very good until the bacteria became immune to the antibiotic,he then prescribed APO-sulfatrim-DS after taking the first dose my face started itiching my lip broke out in what looked like a cold sore and I had different rash spots on my face and one eye after I stopped taking it these side effects went away.It sure was,nt fun.

Wayne M


SEPTRA: 27 December 2005

I am writing this email because I have never experienced any allergic reaction in my life to antibiotics. I have taken a few doses of septra for a recurring UTI and my entire body was covered in hives. These hives were more like large welts, and lasted for several days. As uncomfortable as this rash and burning itching was, I am more upset over the terrible peeling scaling skin. I now have patches on my chest, arm, lips, and chin.

No amount of moisturizers, Vaseline, or creams seem to stop the peeling dry skin and pain.

Melissa C

SMZ/TMP: 28 December 2005

Dear Brian,

My husband was diagnosed with having a prostate infection and POSSIBLY a urinary tract infection. The doctor gave him ten samples of Levaquin 750 mg. He also prescribed Flomax .4mg in tablet form, along with SMZ/TMP DS 800/160 to be taken 2x daily for 20 days. (to be taken after the Levaquin was gone.)

He started taking the septra on the 20th of December, and continued taking the drug for 5 days. On day 4, he started feeling weak and had the all-over blahs . The next day, he still had those symptoms, along with loss of appetite, chills with uncontrollable shakes, profuse sweating, and inability to sleep even though he was exhausted.

He stopped taking the drug after I did some research and came to your website. I was appalled at what I read and angry at the doctor who prescribed this to him. My husband has already had two heart attacks in his life; he doesn t need another. He also takes meds for that, which makes me wonder if the doctor even took that into consideration. I m sure he did, but I still wonder why he would prescribe something that he most likely has no clue about the side effects or he s one of those that doesn t care, just wants his money.

We called the doctor back to inform him that my husband was having these awful side effects. His nurse called back to inform us that they would call in a new prescription, however, never even bothered to ask what side effects he was experiencing. She asked no questions nor did she provide any other information.

The new drug is Cephalexin 500 mg generic for Keflex. I haven t done as much research on this one yet, as my husband s not going to take it until he starts feeling better and getting over the effects of the septra. Any information you can provide on this drug will be greatly appreciated.

Also, I would like to know if you can offer up some ways to get him feeling better quicker. It s been two days now that he has not taken the septra and is still feeling ill.

Are there certain foods or drinks he can take that would help quickly? I ve got him on ensure to at least replace lost vitamins and minerals, but am having a hard time getting him to drink lots of liquids or eat anything.


Melinda, Nashville, TN

SEPTRA: 30 December 2005

I started septra 5 days later my tongue started itching and swelling well the next day when I woke up , my neck glands looked like golf balls its been 4 days since I have stoped taking the septra and my toungue amd neck are getting worse I am on aumentan for a sinus infection and have been using this drug for years no problems I know that septra has done something to me is there a time frame for the sulfites to leave ? this sucks I look like someone with a tumor on my neck Thanks for any help very painful

Tony T

SEPTRA: 30 December 2005


I took Septra about two weeks ago for a UTI and had no side effects. Then a week and a half later I suddenly received a fever that started off with a white tongue, light sneezing that all disappeared except for the fever. I have this fever still and it is going on day 10. I do not have any rashes. I feel hot on the top of my back and on the top of my hands. My normal body tempertature is 96- my fever has been between 97.2-98.5. Could this be the effects of Septra? Is there a way to flush this out of my system completely before it gets worse? I am 29 year old female with no health problems. Thank you

Jenny F

BACTRIM: 5 January 2006

Great site. After having some nasty side effects from this drug, I wonder in your experience, what is the average time for it to be flushed from one's system. I had the typical itching, burning, dizzyness, and now I have been off it for about three days and still have numbness in my feet and a sore back (which might not be from the bactrim). It did knock out my epydidimitis, but was a tough drug to take.

Ryan C, Fort Worth, Texas

SEPTRA: 6 January 2006


When my daughter was 3 years old, she started getting recurring pneumonia, many drugs were tried and tested. All of a sudden, after a year and a half of pneumonia, endless tests and tribulations, my daughter's illness suddenly went away. Relieved? No, it was the beginning of an even worse nightmare. With each day that passed, my daughter grew weaker and developed a strange hue of skin.

I took her back to her doctor who ordered blood tests, my daughter needed an immediate transfusion of packed red blood cells or she would die. From then until now, she is ten years old now, she has needed monthly transfusions. The specialists finally diagnosed her with Acquired Red Cell Aplasia (Her bone marrow was incapable of making red blood cells.). I wondered and drove myself nearly crazy trying to find out what caused this. It was decided that the antibiotics she was on for nearly two years caused the bone marrow failure. What drugs had she taken? Augmentin and Septra. Was the treatment for the pneumonia a life saver or a killer? Time will tell, I just want people to be aware of the many risks associated with these drugs. Don't think this could never happen to you or your family, that's what I used to think.


Jennifer F

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