Sulfatrim - Bactrim - Septrin - Septra: mail to this site on side-effects (2)

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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11 May 2003


i think Septrin killed my 9 yr daughter, my little girl was prescribed Septrin long term for repeated urinary tract infections, she took the drug for nearly two years.

She never had one blood test to monitor her blood count whilst taking Septrin which I have since learned should have happened - She died of Acute Myloid Leaukemia could you please get back to me with your views

Jackie P.

BACTRIM: 21 May 2003

In December of '99 I was prescribed Bactrim for a sinus infection. I took the recommeded dosage (one pill twice a day) for two days (it was supposed to be a one week regimen). On the morning of the third day I woke up with a serious nose bleed. I am now 45 years old and I had never had a nose bleed prior to that day nor have I had one since the 'episode'. Anyway, by ten o'clock that morning the nose bleed did not go away. I went to the emergency room and while they wanted to just 'pack' my nose and send me home, I had noticed I had red spots all over my arms and lower legs. The doctor looked at the spots and said she'd only seen something like that in textbooks. She order a complete blood count and discovered that my platelet count was down to 6,000 (normal range for platelets is 150,000). They admitted me, and by two hours later my platelet count was 1,000. My partner was told that if I did not start getting better by the following morning that I would be dead. Over the next four days I was given intravenous immunoglobulin and 100 mg of prednisone. Let me tell you this...I would not wish prednisone on my worst enemy! I almost died because of that damn drug and I am still angry. I should have sued someone...but who? The prescribing doctor? I'd never had a sufa-based drug before so who would know I was allergic? The drug company? That would be like me fighting a 1000 foot tall giant...they'd keep me in court for years. It was bad being in the hospital...I wasn't allowed to brush my teeth, strain while using the toilet, blow my nose, or get out of bed unless absolutely necessary. I was told that if I were to bump my head I might get a brain bleed and die. When I lifted up the covers, the sheets were speckled with dots of blood...I had begun bleeding through my skin. I developed massive black bruises and lumps under my skin where the blood was pooling. Old healed up scars opened up and bled. What I cannot believe is that this drug is still out there! Please keep your website up. It helped to realize that I was and am not alone. I thank God that I recovered almost completely. I still get weak and tired out easily, but I am grateful to be alive.


Kathleen M. Pennsylvania

SULFATRIM: 22 May 2003 [See followup at 21 August 2003]


My daughter started taking Sulfatrim 5 years ago as a maintenance drug for Vesicoureteral Reflux. At first the only problem we noticed was that she would get sunburned easily. Then we noticed that she wasn't gaining any weight. She doesn't want to eat, she has diarrea 50% of the time, and constantly complains of her stomach hurting. Last year she got very sick with her stomach, diarrea, etc. They told me she had H. pilori bacteria in her stomach and had to be on a very strong antibiotic and Prilosec for 30 days. When I stopped giving her the Sulfatrim, she started eating better but her urologist basically told me I was a bad mother for not giving it her because it was inconvienent for me. He said I was risking her kidneys and there was absolutly no evidence of Sulfatrim causing any of those side effects. He wouldn't switch her to something else because he says Sulfatrim is the safest and most effective. I don't think so, but I can't find anything on the same symtoms she has. She will be 8 years old in November and she just now got up to 36lbs. (Only 3lbs more than my 3 year old) She has almost no muscle, I can wrap my thumb and forefinger around her upper arm. Have you heard of anyone else having these problems?


Geneva W.

P.S. She also complains of a sore throat constantly but I'm not sure if that would be related to her medication.

BACTRIM: 23 May 2003


I was prescribed Bactim on May 22, 2003 for a urinary tract infection. Within 4 hours of taking the pill I had a very high fever, chills, shakes and felt like vomiting. Afterwards I had a fever till 4:00 a.m. when I finally took an aspirin which broke my fever. I usually do not have fevers and have not had a bad cold for several years. The next morning I called my doctor and told him my reactions and he said he never heard of such symptoms from Bactrim and told be that I should continue to take the pills. I however, insisted that this was a bad reaction and not a minor fever. I asked for another antibiotic to replace it and he prescribed Cipro. At this point I looked at my old empty pill holders and found that I had been prescribed Bactim, by another Doctor, in September of 2000 (10 tablets). I had taken all of them and contracted a high fever (which I had noted on the pill container). At that time I had thought I had contracted a cold along with my infection. This time I knew better. This was not a cold or a coincidence - I stopped taking the Bactrim immediately. From reading the letters on your sight, I'm sure that Bactrim is more harmful than helpful. Today, May 23, 2003, I am experiencing pain in my wrists and lower legs. I find it hard to stand more than 10 seconds without severe pain. Sitting with my legs up makes the pain go away. Though I have not developed any worse conditions, I am very concerned for my future health. If anyone has had similar symptoms from Bactrim please e-mail your situation.

Thank you for your informative web site.

Darka B. Maryland

SULFATRIM: 4 June 2003

Within an hour after taking one tablet I broke out in hives and had to take an antihistamine for relief. It was a very scary experience. I was all alone at the time and was afraid to sleep. I sat up all night so the breathing was easier. This is a very dangerous drug.



SEPTRA DS: 6 June 2003

My 21 year old daughter was taking septra for aprox 1 year for acne. she has been off of it for about a month and had a sudden flare up of joint swelling w/pain in first the right knee and then a couple days later it spread to the left. her symptoms mimic lupus.

Is it possible that the side effects would not show up for a several weeks after taking the drug? it is beginning to clear up now and she is no longer taking the drug!

Thank you.

Loretta R.

BACTRIM: 10 Jun 2003

I came across your website and was very interested to read about Bactrim and thought I would share our experience. I also plan to discourage anyone from taking this drug.

When my daughter was 3 or 4 she was given Bactrim for a respiratory infection. She became very ill with a high fever and rash all over. We were told by the Dr. she had scarlet fever and to continue taking the course of the drug which she did. She became ill again when she was around 6 and was again prescribed Bactrim. When she developed the exact same symptoms I realized it must be the drug and notified the Dr. and stopped the Bactrim. We now consider her allergic.

My daughter is now 17 and 2 years ago was diagnosed with systemic lupus (SLE) After reading your site I have to wonder if the Bactrim could have caused it. I find myself very angry that we were told she had scarlet fever when it was probably a drug reaction. Maybe all that we are going through now could have been prevented if the drug had been stopped when she first developed the rash. I would appreciate any feedback.

Thank You

Janice C.

SEPTRA: 18 June 2003

My daughter has taken the generic for Septra---SMZ-TMP for about 2 years------and has recently developed anemia. Is theis a side effect of the medication ? She is taking iron supplements but still no change.



SEPTRA: 19 June 2003

Dear Brian

I wondering if my daughter is having a side effect from Septra. On April 30, 2003 she underwent a general anesthesia for cystoscopy. She was diagnosed with a chronically inflamed bladder and give a double dose of Septra for 2 weeks and to continue for 3 months 1 dose daily. During the 2 weeks we noticed her hair falling out. I did not think to call the pharmacist to see if it could be the cause (I thought it was just changing hormones she s 14 years old) I did call when her prescription was almost gone and they told me Alopecia was listed under Miscellaneous. Then I had a conversation with a dermatologist and he told me that it could have been the anesthesia but hair loss didn t take place for 3-4 months after general anesthesia. He thought it could be the infection. I don t know what caused this either the anesthesia or the Septra. Have you heard of Hair Loss or Alopecia from Septra? I m very worried because she has about 30-40% loss of her hair. Hope you can help.


Donna D.

SEPTRIN: 22 June 2003

Dear Brian,

Bless you for the work you are doing.

I got one question i'm onder the impression that concerning Septrin it got quiet after 94-95.Why isn't it in the spots in our days it is still dangerous i suppose.

I've allready understood that you are a good man, it shows in so many things......

I'm trying to help a friend with my research( also a very very good man).But i can't draw any conclusions yet if he is suffering from something related to Septrin.It sure points in that direction.



SULFATRIM: 25 June 2003

I just wanted to update you after taking my daughter in to the doctor today. She has blisters in her throat (& is in a lot of pain)! The DR said the blisters are not from the Sulfatrim, but I am very skeptical after reading some articles on your website! The DR said it is a virus, but none of our other children have it, & the blisters occurred, when she began to take Sulfatrim (a little less than 24 hours later) (as I assume these caused the sore throat & difficulty in swallowing). They have now switched her medication.

I for one am very thankful for the site! I thank God, that I saw it. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have suspected the antibiotic. I don't know it "absolutely" to be the culprit, but I think; it's a very real possibility.


SEPTRIN: 27 June 2003

Dear Brian, I was wondering if you knew of a help group in the U.K. for those effected by Septrin. I was prescibed Septrin in 1988 for a sinus infection. I suffered a severe allergic reaction, I was told I had Johnson Stevens Syndrome or something like that, and apart from dijestive problems seemed to recover quite well initially. Unfortunately I have had bad health since that time and was diagnosed as having post viral fatigue syndrome after Glandular Fever in 1992 but I believe my problems really stem from my allergic reaction to Septrin. Please could you let me know where I might find out more about Septrin.

Many Thanks

Veronica S. United Kingdom

SEPTRIN: 2 July 2003

Hi Brian,

I was prescribed septrin at age 11 for a throat infection. I woke on 8th December 1980 feeling a bit odd & hearing that John Lennon had been murdered on the radio. I went to school as usual and was a bit lethargic all day. I went to Guides as usual in the evening. . I remember walking home from Guides with my mother & complaining I felt like I was coming down with a cold. This was after finishing the course of Septrin prescribed by my Doctor. In the morning I still felt hot with more fluish symptoms. My parents kept me off school. By mid morning I was burning up & had a red rash all over my body. My parents phoned the Doctor & her partner came down, said I had an allergic reaction to septrin & advised my mum to use calamine lotion to calm the rash & asprin to lower my tempeature & treat me as if I had flu. About an hour later I was burning uop feeling like I was burning from the inside out and screaming in pain. my own doctor was called by this point. By the time she arrived blister like spots were appearing all over my body & I was in agony. I was immediately rushed to hospital & was diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome. I was admitted to a private room in a children's ward & treated as a burns victim I has blisters all over my body some internally. I could not see speak urinate defecate or eat. I was fed by a tube & fittes with a catheter. They cleared the blistering from my anus to avoid haveing to fit a colostomy. (I was told all this later by my parents & doctor as I was heavily sedated because of the pain). I cannot remember my first two weeks in hospital because of the sedation. The first recollection I have was one of the nurses turning me and seeing by hands almost as two huge blisters. I remember also sticking to the sheets on the bed. I was in hospital till the end of January. Fortunately I was able to get out of bed and walk round my room by early January. Because my skin was so raw I could not have any contact with the other children in the ward. I felt very isolated. The only people I had contact with were Doctors (including a specialist team broght from manchester) Nursed and my Parents. Everyone who came into my room had to wear scrubs & masks. I lost my fingernails and toenails. Im so glad to have someone to talk to about this .Sorry if my story is a bit dis-jointed but its just all pouring out at the one time. Once I was released from hospital It was April before I could go back to school. Once I was back home for a week or so I was bored & my teacher started to send work home so I could make headlines into catching up. I did and returned to school with luckily for me not too far behind my schoolmates. At this point I still had a bit of discolouration all over my body. I recovered well the only lasting effects I have are scars & bad eyesight. I developed what was diagnosed as Scarlet Fever when I was 16 but now having done research I'm convinced it was a lesser form of SJS. Im now 34 as said with no lasting side efects save scarring & bad eyesight. I know I have got off very lightly compared to most people's stories I have read. Especially Kaitlyn. My heart goes out to her. If you can advise me of any support groups in the UK especially in Scotland I would be very grateful.

My thanks go out to all the Staff at the Children's medical ward in Leith Hospital. The people I remember are Dr Syme Dr Beveridge & Dr Simmonte & a nurse who was originally from Dallas (Dallas was a big thing back then!!!) My thanks to you all and those who I havent mentioned you saved my life. I wil be always grateful. I just feel so blessed I can live a normal life compared to others.

Thanks for reading.

Please feel free to get in touch or forward my e-mail address to others.

Heather. UK

BACTRIM: 5 July 2003

My mother (84 years old) was just prescribed Bactrim for a bladder infection. She has experienced a severe reaction (Stevens-Johnson Syndrome) with painful open sores all over her body. We understand this is potentially fatal and she is being taken to urgent care as I write this. I live in a different state than my mother so I am unable to attend to her myself immediately. I am extremely frustrated because the same physician prescribed it for her last year and she had the same reaction. I m not sure what we can do, but I would appreciate any information available. Thank you.

Rose P. Los Angeles


My first experience with the drug was in 1999 when I was given it as an injection for severe bronchitis. My throat, lips and tongue swelled up. Blisters formed around the outside of my mouth which then scabbed over and became raw and would bleed. The layers of skin inside my mouth died and came off in stringy sections. Within hours I had hundreds of tiny canker sores all over the inside of my mouth. Thick sections of skin peeled off my lips and around the outside of my mouth. I was so swollen that I could not speak correctly and the horrible pain made it even more difficult. It took several days before I was comfortable again. I did not know then or until recently that the drug that was given to me was Bactrim.

I was recently perscribed Sulfatrim and took a single pill. Shortly after my throat became very sore as if I had strep throat. My lips and tongue swelled again and I noticed a few blisters in the corners of my mouth. A day later I developed several canker sores. The blisters are scabbed now and bleed if I open my mouth too wide. My hands became itchy and bright red. My reaction this time did not seem as severe although it has affected a part of my body that it did not last time. The skin on my penis died and came off in large sections and in some places it is cracked, scabbed over or raw and open. I am positive that if taken in sufficient quantity this drug could easily kill me. I will NEVER take any drug that contains this chemical. It has been nearly a week and I am still suffering.

Trent G.


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