Bactrim - Sulfatrim - Septra - SMZ-TMP: mail to this site on side-effects (21)

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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  CO-TRIMOXAZOLE: 17 March 2006

I have just read your website and thought I would add my own experience.

In November 1993, I was prescribed Co-Trimoxazole for a severe form of cystitis. Within hours of taking the medication, I turned bright red. I took 10 tablets in all. This was to cause me to get severe pains in both my arms, effectively paralysing them. I also had what looked like large burns and weals on my back and side.

As it was a long time ago, my memory does allow me to be totally precise with my details but, after 5 days of severe pain and paralysis, my doctors proceeded to prescribe me pain killers and prednisilone in order to alleviate the symptoms.

I was then diagnosed with Steven Johnson Syndrome and told never to take Co-Trimoxazole or any related drug again.

The side effects of the drug resulted in me being off work for 5 weeks and then succumbing frequently to severe illness for the best part of the next 4 years including 2 bouts of pleurisy. I also intermittently had severe pains in my arms for the best part of 6 years.

It was an extremely frightening and traumatic experience, one I would prefer to forget but, for my own safety have to remember as, if I am ever admitted to hospital, I have to advise them not to prescribe anything like Co-Trimoxazole.

Jane L, Torquay, Devon

SMZ/TMP DS: 17 March 2006

Dear Brian,

I am 75 years old and my Dr. prescribed SMZ/TMP DS for uninary tract infection, one ,twice a day. My first dose was late evening. I didn't sleep that night and my blood pressure was high, altho I do take medication for that. The next day I only took 1/2 pill twice a day. I had to lie down all day because of weakness, nausea, ringing in my ears, palpitations and loss of appetite and dizzy also bad taste. I thought I would check the Internet for side effects and found your web site. Glad I did!!!!!!!

PRP, Ky.

BACTRIM: 17 March 2006

Dear Brian,

Firsthand, I want to thank you so much for having this site, you may, and all share their stories, have helped my baby from long-term damage! After reading the information on your website I realize how important this drugs side effects really are. I am a 28 year old mother of 4 beautiful children. My first 3 are just fine. However, my youngest was diagnosed with 2nd grade VUR at 4 months. We were told how rare it is for a baby boy to have this so much that, with MUCH hesitation, we put him on the Bactrim. He seemed OK until he started crawling at 5 1/2mos. At that time he began collapsing, ALOT! So at some point (i think about 71/2mos.) He saw a neurologist who agreed. He had an MRI, which was unremarkable, and an EEG, which did show abnormal brain activity. Now he is on Trileptal for seizures. We are now wondering if the collapsing (which he is still doing, hes 1 now) has been a cause of the "Seizure activity" or the Bactrim. He has also had minor breathing problems off and on and that sunburn/windburn looking rash they all talk about. I am calling his Doctor on Monday!

Thank you so much,

Chase's mommy

BACTRIM: 17 March 2006

I have a friend who has all of the symptoms that others have described fever, fainting, blood pressure dropping every time she gets up, she has been in and out the hospital for the last five and a half months, pain in the joints, burning in the feet and head, lost of taste, swollen tongue, etc.. She is miserable she doesn t have any strength to fight anymore. She is only 24 years old and was perfectly healthy before she took this medicine. No doctor yet has been able to help her. Right now she is back in the hospital because she hasn t been able to hold anything down and has been vomiting for days. When does she get her life back and can anyone do anything to help her. Her parents have moved in with her to take care of her because she can not live by herself. Please help!!! No one else seems to be able to help her.

Jennifer , Louisiana

SEPTRIN IV: 21 March 2006

dear brian my wife jean died 12 months ago in m/c royal imfirmary after she was given 2.8 grams of septrin ( I V ) per day for 9 days she was 66 years old her wieght was 42 KG and she was on dialysis her face and lips swelled up after 1 day but the docters refused to stop the drug she died unable to speak blind and screaming in agony i have tried to get a pathologist to do an autopsy without success. jean has not been put to rest yet and i have had 3 soliciters over the past 12 months none or which has been able to aquire the services of a pathologist

Jeff H, UK

SMZ/TMP Double strength: 21 March 2006

Hi. after reading the postings on your website, I am not going to ask for a refill. This was for my wife and she was given this medicine for acne issue by the dermitologist. I can now remember and relate to her issues while taking this tablet. She had complained of stomach cramps, pain in her legs, and uneasiness which I easily brushed it off. Now I realize how wrong I was and I am going to discuss this with her in detail to see if we can stop taking this medicine altogether.

Thanks a lot for everything.


BACTRIM: 21 March 2006

Dear Brian,

I am so confused and scared ; I'm so glad that I found your site. I am desperately hoping that you can help me. This is my problem - I recently started taking Bactrim and Compazine as of last Thursday am now experiencing very strange effects. I'm restless, I'm constantly itching and burning, I cannot sit still, I have to keep pacing the floor, and I find it very hard to focus and concentrate. My stomach cramps, I'm endlessly tired and exausted, I have diarrea, my mouth is constantly dry, and I cannot sleep at night. I was beginning to feel very strange last Thursday because of a burning sensation in my arms and chest and discomfort when I went to the bathroom so I decided to take myself to the Emergency Room thinking that I was still experiencing previous flu-like symptoms and possibly a bladder infection. I was going to go to the doctor but everything was closed due to Spring Break. That is when they prescribed me Bactrim and Compazine due to a kidney infection and an UTI. The day after, I couldn't sleep and I found myself staring off into space and couldn't stop myself. I felt very anxious and scared but didn't know what to do. My mother later admitted me to the ER again and they gave me an IV drip and a shot of 'epheniferin' (i don't know the correct spelling) that is supposed to speed up your heart rate, and another shot of something else that was supposed to counterreact the drug. I remember laying in the bed, staring off into space and feeling very out of sorts, not being able to stop clenching and unclenching my jaw. I don't know what's wrong with me but I really do not feel like myself! I went through many tests, from a spinal tap to a CT, urine tests to blood tests but none of them have been conclusive ; they've all come back normal or negative. That is why i'm wondering why they gave me a drug when supposedly nothing is wrong with me! I am now having these symptoms that I listed above and I'm so lost as to what to do. I just want to sleep and know for sure that I'm NOT crazy!

Thank you SO MUCH for listening to all of my whacky problems! :)


BACTRIM: 23 March 2006

i realize that you're article is from a few tears ago, but i just stumbled upon it as i was trying to look up adverse reactions to drugs containing sulfur.a couple of weeks ago i went to my doctor due to some pains i've been experiencig in my hip and back off and on.during the visit they found i also had an uti.i was prescribed an antibiotic-the generic form of bactrim-and an anti-inflammatory for my hip.after taking the meds for a couple of days, i had a horrifyig experience.after arriving for work i began to feel naseauos and my head started hurting.i NEVER miss work, but this day i decided i needed to leave.not long after getting home and climbing into bed, istarted to run a fever and had chills and hot flashes.my head ached worse and worse and soon every bone in my body is rivetted by SEVERE pain.somehow,though i don't know how, i made through the excruciatingly painful night and called in to work again the next day. my fever was still going and i still felt pretty rotten,but not quite as bad as the night before.i called the doctor,s office and expressed my concerns because something just told me it had to do with one of the medications since i was pretty much fine before i started taking them.everyone wanted to dismiss it as the flu,though i had no sore throat,no runny nose,no cough,or things of that nature.they gave me an antibiotic shot and prescribed a different nsaid.that was a couple of weeks ago.two days ago i decided that it didn't seem as though my uti was completely cleared up. and since they seemed to strongly believe i had the flu or something like it and it wasn't the medicine i was taking before, i decided to finish off that antibiotic.MISTAKE!!!!!it didn't take a couple of days for things to go to hell this time.a few short hours after taking the bactrum and really feeling perfectly fine iwas beginning to feel naseaus and my head was starting to ache. then i noticed when i breathed in very deeply it felt as though my diaphragm was hurting. or kind of like the feeling when you've done way too many crunches when you're way out of shape. the naseau and headache quickly worsened and i had to leave work in a hurry.by the time i got to the house i was throwing up every few minutes.eventually this took place from the bed whereas i could not find it in myself to get up.just as before my body was racked with pain and spasms.i was freezing though i was lying under 2 comforters,a sheet, a sleeping bag and had a heating pad on me turned up on high, and a heater pointed directly on me.i was crying and calling out in pain. i called my husband and told him i needed him to come home.when he got there he just couldn't believe how red i was and hot i was.we called the pharmacist who said call the doctor where i spoke with anurse who said all they could do is prescribe another antibiotic for the uti. are you kidding me?is anyone listening to any of the words that are coming out of my mouth?twice i've taken this medicine in the last two weeks and twice i've experienced this same thing.i don't really care about an uti at this pointand sure don't want another antibiotic.i want to know if this is going to kill me and if not can someone get me out of the hell i'm going through.um, we can prescribe you another antibiotic. so we call my sister to come assess the situation.she said i was burning up with fever, my skin looked as though i had a sunburn, and my face looked kind of welped up.she then called the e.r.the nurse agreed it sounded like a reaction.i should take 2 benadryl and wait an hour and see how i felt.i did.a couple of hours later i wasn't feeling much better so husband insisted that i go to the e.r. i told him they weren't going to listen to me.and guess what.after relaying what i was going through and had gone through 2 weeks prior the e.r. physician ordered a flu swab.i couldn't believe it!they didn't really have to even figure out what was wrong with me,i'm pretty much telling you what the problem is.twice i'm fine,twice i take this medicine, and twice i have this same reaction to it.i think a monkey could have put those things together.i tested negative for the flu.SURPRISE!i did get a pain shot though that made my night a lot more easy.and oh,yeah,they told me to get some claritin for my allergies.i'm starting to think the medical professionals are overpaid.the next was quite a lot better besides sore from head to toe and a bad headache. today i went back to work,but my shoulders and knees seem still alittle stiff and sore.and my limbs seem really weak and when i stand after sitting the muscles in my thighs and calves semm to be constricting like they want to cramp up.i am wondering if this will have any long term effects on my body or will it just fade away with time.at any rate, i am going to print out these letters i've read or tell my doctors to go to this site and read for themselves what i knew all along.i don't understand why they wouldn't listen to me.and i don't know if i could've actually died from this or not but i told my husband as we were leaving the e.r. and i was clutching my aching chest that if i didn't make it through this he better sue the hell out of them for not listening to me.if you recieve this and you know about any long term problems to anyone who has experienced this i would greatly appreciate you letting me know.


Tammy C

BACTRIM: 5 April 2006

Hi. Not sure if you are still posting emails for this article but here's my story. I was recently prescribed Bactrim for a sinus infection. I had never taken the drug before. I took the drug for 7 days without any side effects. On the eighth day a short while after taking my morning dose I began to feel ill. By that afternoon I was running 102 fever. The next day (which was on Saturday) I began to develop a rash on my stomach and legs and still ran the fever. By the next day, the rash covered my entire body. I visited my doctor (general practice) on Monday and he diagnosed me with Fifth's Disease even though I told him exactly which antibiotic I was on. So, I went home fever and all and still continued to take the Bactrim. My legs started aching and my chest and upper back looked like I had been sunburned and I told my husband I felt like I was on fire. I went to bed and have not been able to sleep a wink because of the itching and pins & needles feeling, ( I am still running fever) something kept telling me to get up & do some Internet research on this drug which is why I am sitting here at 4:00 in the morning typing away. I am convinced that these are symptoms from the Bactrim and last night will be the last time I ever take it again. I will be calling my ENT as soon as their office opens up!! I am very grateful for this site to provide all these emails with personal experiences because you can read about all the side effects of Bactrim but when individuals tell their own experiences while taking this drug helps out more than you'll ever know.


BACTRIM: 5 April 2006

Dear Sir,

Please, please send my niece anything you can regarding Bactrim to my niece Shery Calkin, 123 Webster Road, Sandston, VA 23150 U.S.A. We honestly believe her daughter, Candice, my great niece died from taking Bactrim. She was treated for bladder infection and her mother found her in her bed dead.

All the reactions I have read on your website from different people are saying the same things. Do you have any information where death has occured in the U.S. and who we may contact. We will not rest in peace until we find out this is what caused her death. She turned 17 years old March 1st and on March 11th we buried her. I beg of you to help us.


Janet M, Highland Springs, VA

BACTRIM: 6 April 2006

Hi Brian:

My name is Brenda and I am 35 years old. I suffer from a very weak immune system and was prescribed a generic form of Bactrim to prevent pneumonia six years ago and it resulted in a red rash on my skin. My doctor had warned to stop the med if such a reaction occurred. Two months ago, with a T-Cell count of 60 (healthy persons should be 1500) I was prescribed Bactrim DS for the same reason, to prevent pneumonia, but at the time, I could not remember the name of the previous medicine that caused the rash six years earlier. I told my doctor (nurse practitioner) that I remembered having a rash from an antibiotic but could not remember the name of the drug. He decided to try the Bactrim anyway because it was a very effective drug. I took 1 tablet. Within 30 minutes I broke out in hives all over, my eyes turned beet red and felt like they were going to pop out. I developed a fever of 103 and my skin was covered in a red rash. Within 30 more minutes my muscles felt like I had been beaten all over. My muscles were sore to the touch and I was unable to support myself to walk or lift my arms. My throat became sore like strep-throat. Within another hour I loss feeling in my fingers and developed a large blood spot in my right eye. After another 2 weeks I started to suffer temporary distorted vision in my right eye lasting 1-2 hours per day and constant drainage from both my left and right eye. My right eye would swell closed when I slept on my right side. The hives stopped with 12 hours of starting Bendryl. It took 1 week for the redness in my eyes to clear up, 3 weeks for the blood spot in my right eye to go away, 5 weeks for the muscle soreness to stop and a full 7-8 weeks to get feeling back in my fingers. My doctors have performed a CT scan, spinal tap and numerous blood test and eye exams, all yielding nothing to explain what is causing the loss of vision. I am now experience blurring in my left eye as well as distorted vision in my right, but only 1-2 hours per day. I am seeing a specialist in two weeks to further examine the temporary vision loss.

Best Regards,

Brenda R

SEPTRA: 9 April 2006

I was prescribed Septra 2 weeks ago when I went to my doctor complaining about a menstral cycle that just wouldn't end. She prescribed SEPTRA to take "just in case" i was to get an UTI because I was also suppose to take a weeks worth of birth control pills to get the cycle back on track. About a week later on my way home from work, my eyes were sensitive to the sunlight, I couldn't see without squinting and by the time I got home I looked in the mirror and they didn't even appear to be open. I couldn't even have any of the lights on in the entire house. The next morning I woke up and it was gone. I didn't think much of it because I also have Rheumatoid Arthritist and my doc told me I would be sensitive to light from time to time. On Saturday (yesterday) I woke up freezing cold. My temp. was 104.2, my face was swollen and red, my lips were swollen with bumps, my arms were red with patches, I had no appetite, I was tired all day, I couldn't get out of bed, I felt my throat trying to close, and all I could do was drink water. No matter how many covers I put on myself I just wouldn't stop shivering. That had to be one of the worse days in my entire life. I decided not to go to the doctor, so I took a benadryl to reduce the symptoms of the reaction. It worked. I was able to at least get up and move around. Today is Sunday and although my temp has gone down to 99 I now have this constant body itch that just wont go away. Even my ear lobes itch. Monday morning just can not come soon enough. Going to see my doctor is first on my list.....thank you Brian for letting me know im not the only one going through this horrible ordeal.

Jamie C.W.

BACTRIM: 13 April 2006

Dear sir,

I was prescribed bactrim in 1976 while on holiday for a chest infection. Within 6 hours I was barely conscious and suffered hallucinations and incredible sickness and diarheoa i couldn't even keep water down. My urine turned almost black and there was blood in my stools. After 4 days I stopped taking the medicine. I am convinced that had I continued I would have died. It took me six months to recover. The doctor advised me to continue the treatment. The pain in my chest was indescribable i still cannot sleep on my left hand side. I lost 3 stone in weight. when eventually I got home my own doctor did not recognise me. At the time i was a young very fit man had i been younger or old i would not have survived.

John L

BACTRIM DS: 13 Apr 2006 21:32:37

Hello Brian, I want to share my "episode" with you and your readers. I'm 54 male. I recentrly had a large bladder stone removed thru cystocope and was instructed to take prophylactic antibiotic Cipro, but I told the doctor that last time I did it made me very ill. He instead gave me a prescription for Macrobid. I did not fill it immediately because I wanted to seek additional advice and ended up getting a prescription for Bactrim DS. Took dose 1 that night. Could not sleep. Day two I started taking it and felt a strong heaviness in my body, still functional but felt like I was walking through Jello. Could not sleep. Day three, I took my morning dose (#4) and again the heaviness came over me. I thought perhaps it was withdrawal from all of the Vicoden I had been taking and figured I would just get through it.

I forgot to take dose 5 that night and felt very well. Next morming felt terrific, took morning dose #5 and half hour later started to feel in slow motion. My feet began to tingle and go numb, then my fingers, my heart was pounding and very fast, neck and shoulder muscles aching feeling like I could not hold up my head. I called pharmacy to see if this was normal. He said it is not consistant with the drug but call doctor, so called my doctors, they also said not consistant with the drug but do not take more and drink plenty of water, if it got worse, go to Emergency Room. I laid down but could not rest because of heart rate. Finally asked a neighbor to take me to ER.

Passed out several times on the way. They could not wake me up when we got there and 4 people lifted me out (so I am now told). Next I remember being on a stretcher face up with many faces asking questions but I could not speak, could not move muscles. Could not squeeze doctor's finger. My face and whole body feeling pins and needles. It was as if I was asleep and dreaming and wanted to make a sound but nothing comes out. I drifted off, but could hear bits and pieces of conversation--"non-responsive", "dehydration", "pepsid" (I think), "benedril". I don't even know if they were talking about me. Just voices. Couple of hours later, doctor came and said my "salts" were all OK and could go if I could walk. Able to walk slowly but objects in the room appeared to be moving --in slow motion. They suggested to X-ray my head & chest, but I said please no, give me more time I was coming around. After another saline drip, I was able to walk and no more motion of the room. My write-up was "weakness episode" and referred to "internal medicine in 4-5 days". I am home now but still feel as if I am walking thru Jello, head fuzzy.

Called the pharmacist again and he explained that it could have been an "idiosyncratic response" but that my symptoms were consistant with the dehydration and since I have been drinking mass quantities of water since the stone removal, it is possible that I depleted or super diluted my electrolytes. Also that a true allergic drug reaction probably would have happened right away, not on dose #5. All quite logical and acceptable. Though some of my symptoms are consistant with de-hydration, I was perfectly fine last night when I missed a dose and even better this morning after missing last night's dose.

My gut tells me it was the drug, but according to official record, that is "inconsistant". Isn't there some way to get this information out there so that these symptoms can be acknowledged as "consistant" with the drug? Drug half-life is 60 hours so it should be completely gone in 21/2 more days. Hopefully there will no long term effects as I have read in others.

Chuck B, Honolulu


SEPTRA efectos secundarios: 14 April 2006

Mi Papa, paciente de Parkinson por 16 años, fue recetado por su medico primario con Septra para tratar una infeccion de orina

Sus movimientos, el balance y su estado en general estan bastante controlados con sinimet y myrapex. Cuando empezo a tomar septra notamos que no tenia control de sus movimientos: todo se le caia de las manos y durante sus horas de comida el mismo movimiento no lo dejaba tomar sus alimentos pues estaba muy agitado y sudoroso por el esfuerzo que hacia.

Elio M

BACTRIM: 16 April 2006

I took generic Bactrim for 10 days last month for a UTI. No problems. I felt the UTI coming back so yesterday I filled the refill. I'm also taking several allergy medications and flovent and albuterol for a severe seasonal allergy I have. I took one pill last night and woke up with spots all over (hives). I didn't realize it was the Bactrim because I also started the asthma sprays the same day. Any way, I took one more Bactrim and Benadryl, but the hives have gotten worse. That's when I found your site, and my symptoms seem to match many of the people. So I guess I'll stop the Bactrim - maybe I just developed the allergy because I am in an immunocompromised state. But I guess it will now last forever. I hope these hives go away soon. They are all over except on my hands and feet and face.

Barbara M

BACTRIM: 16 April 2006


I'm a 30 year old male from Louisiana. I started on Bactrim yesterday after going to the hospital for an infected finger. I started itching shorly after taking the medicine, however, I did't associate it with the drug. After I took my dosage today, I started itching again so I started to wonder if it was the Bactrim that was causing the itching. Well, after reading through your sight and others, it appears that it is. I won't take any more of this crap and go to my doctor and ask for an alternative.

Ryan McC

TRIMETHOPRIM: 18 April 2006

I stumbled across your website by sheer accident and now awaiting a phonecall ffrom my doctor. I ain't at all well seemingly have a kidney infection which the above was prescribed to treat now i have an extremly swollen tummy feel sick constantly and tired. just wondering if these symptoms could be a reaction to the medication as others have described on your website. i am really just looking for someone to listen and understand Thanks.



Good site.

I was perscribed this medication on April 14th and by April 17th experienced insomnia, a fever of 102.7 glazed-over eyes, a tremendous headache, and all round muscle aches with a rash on my penis.

Within one day of stopping use of this medication, symptoms have subsided.

I found your site useful in cross referencing the symptoms I had against the medication (which I did out of general curiousity).

This med is bad news.

Jamie B

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