Septra - Sulfatrim - Bactrim - Septrin: mail to this site on side-effects (25)

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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  SEPTRIN: 14 November 2006

I took my last of a ten day course (two per day) of Septrin for a sinus infection on Sunday . It didn't seem to help my sinus problem. Monday a little before noon, I felt like I was getting a mild case of the hives. Sure enough within a few hours my lips were slightly swollen and I had some swelling, itching, and welts on my wrists, hands, fingers, inner thighs, and bottoms of my feet. Though not serious, not pleasant.

It's Tuesday morning and I am still having them, so I have begun taking benadryl in low dosage to try to get it under control without impairing my ability to go to work. One 25mg tab has only taken the edge off, so I will take another shortly.

This is the first allergic reaction to medicine I've had in my 55 years. Interesting thing; I had read of one person in your blog that complained of smelling cigarette smoke. For one evening while on the medication, I kept complaining to my wife that I kept smelling cigarette smoke. Fatigue and a shorter temper seemed to prevail while on the medication as well.

Dexter K.

SMZ/TMP: 19 November 2006

Hello, I'm the father of a 13 year old young lady. She has had a lot of problems since she had her appendices taken out. Every thing from infection after infection, headaches, all of the other side effects I read about in the other letters on your site. But nothing like what she experienced while taking SMZ/TMP DS. She got the rash 8 days into the meds. She has been to the hospital twice, the doctors did not have any idea what was the cause for the rash. They prescribed Benadril to reduce the itching, but still no diagnoses. I am so glad to have been able to read others stories and get the true side effects. It may give us more information on the sulfa based meds and also sulfa based foods. I am talking to her Doctor about the possibility of an allergy to sulfides. A BIG THANK YOU:)

David P.

TRIMETHOPRIM: 23 November 2006

Took 100mgs trimethoprin syrup at work thankfully i work for the NhS and was on the ward at the time within 5 mins of taking maybe less i began feeling my chest go tight felt flushed and began sweating nearly fainted head pounding a quick dose of piriton adren NEB's o2 took about 20 mins to recover then was unable to speak.
Never taken trimethoprin before but have taken septrin with no side effects felt back to normal within 1 hour but felt very scared at time. As i said quick response from the Doc and staff do you think it was a reaction to the sulphur

Jean H.

SULFATRIM: 27 November 2006

Hi Sulfatrim sufferers. I am now well enough to share my horrific experience with this drug.

I knew and was diagnosed with a UTI (urinary track infection) 9 days ago and was prescribed sulfatrim for 7 days. Without concern immediately started taking the drug with great anticipation of curing the UTI. Into the 6th day my arms started to itch early afternoon. As the evening approached the itching became more severe. By 1:00 am I could not sleep and my throat thickened to the point where it was difficult to swallow. My husband then took me to emergency where they gave my Benadyrl to ease the itch and I went home thinking this would cure all. Things just got worse, so I went to my doctor at 8:00am the next morning and was given a prescription of cream to help with what was now welts all over my body. My eyes were red and itchy and both my vagina and rectum were indescribably irritated not to mention the rest of the body covered in a rash. Later that day I went back to my doctor and was given 2 shots of Epinephrane for effect of Sulfatrim, but it didn't work. Being a Friday afternoon I was told to monitor over the weekend. It got worse. The cream, the benedyrl, the calamine lotion, cold showers, Tylenol nothing worked. By this point I had been awake for 36 hours...I though I was loosing my mind. I was deeply depressed, shaking, tired and full of anxiety and could not stop scratching everywhere. The next day (Saturday) I thought would be better, again I was wrong. There was now shocks of pain in my legs, feet and across my hands into my fingers. By late Saturday night I now had a slight fever and there was nothing I could do. Upon getting interrupted sleep of 4 hrs. Sunday morning approached and the itch had subsided to about 1/2 of what it was. The shock pain was now a dulling ache. I was able to sleep somewhat comfortably throughout the day. By Sunday night the itch was gone but extreme dry skin and what looks like scaring existed. This is now Monday morning which brought about pain from my waist up to the back of my neck across to my arms. It was comparible to having bruised ribs. With every breath there is pain however can deal with this knowing now I am getting better to the person I was 10 days ago.


BACTRIM: 29 November 2006

Dear Brian,

Thank you for your web site and to all the others who took the time to tell their story. Here is mine. I was given Bactrim DS for a suspected UTI. I took 3 days worth and started to feel like I was coming down with the flu. I was experiencing muscle aches, headaches, neck stiffness, weakness and chills. I took tylenol and went to bed. The next day I continued the Bactrim. I was still having all the same symptoms plus nausea and vomiting now. Thatıs when I stopped the Bactrim I also developed a high fever(103.0).

I took more Tylenol and went to bed. I was really feeling bad but didn't think it could be a drug reaction. I though I was coming down with the flu. It wasn't until that third night when I woke up in a complete head to toe rash and 104. fever that my husband said you have to go to the ER. At first the doctor thought it could have been menningitis. My vitals on admission were t104 pulse135 bp 80/50. CBC, CMP, Blood cultures, UA, CAT scan, chest xray were all performed. The doctors were very concerned. I saw 4 docs in the ER who were all curious to examine my rash. I was given tylenol, motrin, steroids, and pepcid to stop this allergic reaction. They admitted me for observation but were pretty sure this was an adverse reaction to Bactrim. It's been three days since this happened. I'm continuing therapy of steroids, clariton, and pepcid. I'm thankful this was caught quickly and the doctors recognized it as a bactrim allergic reaction. I hope that I am on the road to recovery now.

God Bless,

Kim B.

BACTRIM: 1 December 2006

My 3 year old daughter was prescribed bactrim for a UTI, and has had the medicine in the past. Ninety minutes past after the first dose, and my daughter went into a dry-cough fit that ended up with vomiting and a trip to the ER. At the ER, the drs. would not confirm it was an allergic reaction, but a mother knows her child better than anyone. They said if it was an allergic reaction there would have been hives present. What is your take on the whole thing? My daughter kept saying how her mouth hurt during the ordeal.


BACTRIM: 9 December 2006

Don't know if you're still gathering cases for your research but, if so, here are my two stories:

1. Bactrim almost killed my cat, pippin. He developed hemolytic anemia, was almost given a blood transfusion and even though I thought it might be the drug, the vet said that would be impossible. It took him 2 months to recover on heavy doses of prednisone and the vet now admits it was the drug

2. It seems I've just developed an allergic reaction to sulfatrim. I'd taken it before with know noticeable side effects but when I took it last week for a UTI I had a severe allergic reaction. For 3 hours after taking it I had a fever, palpitations, hot flushes, sore throat, cough and swollen tongue. I only took one tablet and after a few hours I was fine. NOw, one week after taking the one pill I am covered in red spots (looks like measles) on my tummy and tiny little blood blister things. They don't itch but are dry and the blood blister things quite bizarre. I went to the doctor after taking it and will head there tomorrow since the spots are new

Good luck on your study (I should stop procrastinating and surfing the we--I'm not in the UK--though am a British citizen

Judith W.

SEPTRA: 11 December 2006

mr. deer,

hello, this is cody from ohio. as a young child i took septra for some time. it wasn't until after this period of time that it was discovered that i was allergic to septra so i had been taking medicine that i had been allergic to all that time. how they came to realize that i was allergic is because i had severe muscle aches, cramps and other things of that nature. I recently did some research on septra and discovered that some of the side effects that it causes i still experience today some 17 to 18 years later. My muscles still ache, i feel occasional dizziness, i have been diagnosed as having depression, my joints ache i get occasional severe headaches, and i have thyroid problems. I am e-mailing you for the cause and to let you know that i to am trying to seek compensation for these issues. I never realizd until now that septra effected so many people. if you could reply to me with more information about septra and it's effects both long and short term and if there is going to be a class action lawsuit as a result of what it has done to people that would be highly appreciated. my e-mail address is ctaylor_2003@yahoo.com thanks again for all your efforts on this matter.

-cody T

SULFAMETHOXAZOLE: 17 December 2006

I took my first dose yesterday at noon and by 3pm I started vomiting. The reason I was prescribed this medicine was for a sinus infection that started 24 hours before.

It did not seem too suspicious that I would experience flu like symptoms and a fever with a sinus infection, however when the pain in my joints and tingling/numbing sensation did not go away after I started to feel better, I began to suspect I might be having a drug reaction.

Since tingling sensations and joint pain are one of the listed side effects, (and also vomiting) I would ask that you please document my complaint where appropriate.

Thank you.

Marguerite M.

SMZ/TMP: 20 December 2006


I was perscribed this medicane by an ER. DR. after an infection caused terrably painful boils under my left arm. I'm usualy pritty healthy,as I don't have time to be sick. Since I have 2 jobs and recently returned to college, so I've ben takeing it relegously just as perscribed. I first noticed about a day after takeing the first dose that the area around the wonds was broke out, and itching. I decided this must be an allergy to the bandaige. A couple days later I experenced some shortness of breath,and the intence itching was spreading. I egnored the itch, and decided the shortness of breath was caused by the pain killers the ER. DR. perscribed for the wounds,mixed with ibuprofen I was takeing for tooth aches wich seemed to get worse after takeing the medication.

Anyway last evening I attended a christmas party, after dinner I took my medican, righ after that, the shortness of breath stated againe the itch by this time has spread to hives all over my body,the whites of my eyes are glazed,and red,my neck is stiff,and sore,and on top of all that I now have a bad cold. I didn't think I could catch cold while on antibiodics. This is some bad stuff, I'm seeing my regular DR. after they open, becouse I can't afford another ER bill.

Thanks to the info here I stoped taking the SMZ/TMP today.

Thanks for the 411,

Virginia D, Trenton MO. USA.

BACTRIM DS: 21 December 2006

After sitting here for more than an hour reading the mail at your site, I feel lucky to be alive.

I am a 55 year old female. I am extremely active, very healthy and just never seem to catch a cold, have the flu or any other minor ailments that seem to affect most people. I can count on one hand the number of head aches I have ever had in my life. I am fairly light weight, but have a great appetite and cook almost exclusively fresh foods...no processed or fast foods allowed in this house! I drink a glass of wine only very occasionally. I can't remember any anti-biotic's I may have taken in my life, but vaguely remember a urinary tract infection many years ago in my early 20s. Aside from that I had breast cancer 5 years ago and was on the drug Tamoxafen until just very recently.

On November 14,2006 I was bit by a poisonous spider at work. The jury still seems to be out on if it was a brown recluse or black widow, but regardless, I developed a large abscess on my left arm that required surgery on Nov. 27, 2006. On Nov. 20th I was put on the drug Bactrim DS...twice a day for 10 days, then was told to refill it and take another series at the same rate. Almost immediately I felt constantly nauseous and had heartburn and an upset stomach. I asked my doctor if it could be from the drug and he said yes but seemed totally unconcerned so I just assumed the good must outweigh the bad and continued on with the drug. On December 8th I was cleared to go back to work on limited duty. It was that day that I started to feel quite unwell...nothing too specific yet, just a general feeling of malaise.

I finished the second round of the drug on Dec. 9th. On the 10th, while at work, waves of illness washed over me and I had to come home. I was in bed for the next few days, but tried twice to go to work, only to have to come home again. It seemed everyone and their cousin at work had the flu and that is what I thought was going on with me. I felt ill from head to foot, every joint in my body ached, I was tremendously tired, dizzy, no appetite at all, low back pain and noticed that my urine had become very dark. I was also over-whelmed with feelings of deep sadness...weeping 3 and 4 times a day...which is TOTALLY foreign to my personality. Finally I fainted on the floor in the kitchen and my husband took me to the emergency room.

It was quickly determined by blood and urine work that many things were way out of whack. I stayed in the emergency room about 12 hours that day, while they ran an ultra sound, a CT scan, and EKG and on and on and round and round it went. I showed acute liver inflammation, jaundice, elevated biliruben, anorexia, de-hydration and many other results out of whack that I don't know the meaning of. My blood pressure kept dropping below 90....88/56...86/54, etc. setting off alarms all over the place. Their official conclusion was that I have hepatitis. It made no sense to me at all. I asked if it could possibly have been the drug. The doctor seemed very skeptical and said the hepatitis panel would be back would tell us what type and he was sure it would be hepatitis A. He sent me home and told me to rest and drink plenty of water. The next day I had to see the surgeon who had operated on my arm. By now I was very yellow..both my skin and eyes. He sent me immediately to see my family doctor and told me he couldn't believe I was not in hospital. He felt that it might be the drug but was very unlikely. My family doctor felt that it was not the drug and told me the health board would contact me when the panel was back and that she was sure it was hep A and to make a list of every restaurant I ate at recently etc.

Imagine everyone's surprise (but mine) when the hepatitis panel came back negative. Only then did the emergency room doctor contact the pharmacy for side effects of Bactrim and immediately phoned me to read off a list that included every single thing that was happening to me including possible hepatitis! I am currently at home, on bed rest and told to constantly drink water. I am certainly feeling better, though not well. My urine is still dark and I continue to have constant lower back pain. I am scratching myself almost raw, but the doctor said that is the biliruben coming to the surface and there is nothing to do but ride it out. Yesterday I got my latest results of blood work that shows all my levels are dropping, though only slightly. I am off work until at least Dec. 28th. I will have more blood work done on Dec. 27th.

My family doctor seems to think this will all clear up with no lasting side effects of any kind. I am having serious doubts after reading some of the comments at your site. What a scary thing this all is!

Anyway, I am not sure why you are collecting these stories but there you now have another. I would never take this drug again in my life. In fact, I will be very hesitant and suspicious to ever take any kind of drug again.


Carol B, Austin, Texas.

SEPTRA: 28 December 2006

Hello Brian,

I just wanted to tell my 2yr old son s story regarding an allergic reaction to Septra. My son had been sick with a stomach virus and a very high fever for 2 days. With him having such a high fever for two days my husband and I had decided to take him to the emergency room. When the doctor saw him he confirmed that he had a really bad stomach virus but was still concerned for the fever so he prescribed him an antibiotic (Septra). Of course I took the prescription got it filled and immediately starting giving it to him. Two days into taking the medication my son started developing tiny little hives by his eyes, cheeks, and stomach. I didn t really think anything of it except that maybe a mosquito had got a hold of him. By the end of the day his hives turned into huge welts all over his neck ears, and face. His left eye was swollen shut and his lips were swollen I started to freak so I called his doctor and they told me to call 911 immediately. The paramedics arrived and took one look at him and said he had to be taken to the E.R. I took his medication that was prescribed to him just so that they knew what he had been taking. When the doctor saw him he right away said that he was having a severe allergic reaction to the Septra. They started him on Benadryl right away and it helped the swelling and discomfort but it took days before he was completely better. This was a very scary and dramatic time for both my son and I and I hope and pray that no other child has to go through that.

Thank you for hearing my story.

Vanessa L, Peoria, AZ.


BACTRIM: 29 December 2006

Dear Mr. Deer:

Our Mother, a vibrant lady, died suddenly on May 16, 2006. On two occasions when she was taking Bactrim, she ended in the emergency room at the hospital. She didn't make it the third time. The US doctors insisted they had no information on side-effects by Bactrim.

She was put to rest overseas in a televised funeral ceremony (she and my Father were known people) and we have just discovered from your website that there are serious side-effects with this dangerous drug.

Barbara K.

SEPTRA DS: 31 December 2006

Aloha All,

I was placed on a 10 day dose of SMZ/TMP DS 800-160 tabs, the generic for Spetra DS for a boil on my leg that became infected.
For the first 3 days as I had misread the dosage I took only 1 tab twice a day and experienced no reactions; however on day 4 when I began the correct dosage of 2 tab twice a day I began experiencing most if not all of the symptoms I am reading on this site.

Yesterday morning before returning back to the doctor's office I took one final dosage. That was a big mistake as I then had to deal with yet another day of pain. The doctor told me to stop immediately and has now placed me on Clindamycin 300MG which I will begin today.

I have never experienced such a multitude of reactions to a drug as with Spetra. I was nauseous for a couple of the days and actually had to vomit on one day. I could also not control a nasty heartburn even though I was not eating anything that should be causing this.

The headaches are incredible. It is a constant pounding that no over the counter pain killer seems to quell.

My throat was sore and I felt difficulty swallowing. I also experienced bloating, stomach pain if I coughed and lower back pain.

There were moment when I felt cold and then a short time later break out in a sweat.

Today as I write this email it is just about 24 hours since I took the last 2 tab and for the first time in a week am beginning to feel a bit like myself. I spent the full day yesterday laying down as the headache would not subside until later in the evening. Right now my only pain is from my lower back and hopefully this will pass.

I have taken various medications in the past and while may have occasionally experienced one or two of the side effects, never one that effected so many parts of my body at one time. This drug in my humble opinion should not be prescribed without the doctor fully explaining the serious side effects. While I grant that is has helped the infection I now do not know what other damage it could have caused to my body.

Thank you ever so much for coming across this site which came up when I Googled the drug by name.


John, Honolulu, HI.

BACTRIM: 8 January 2007

In case you are still interested in hearing about Bactrim reactions, I will share mine.

In 1982, I had a kidney infection, with primary symptoms being pain in lower back region and fever. My GP prescribed a course of Bactrim. Shortly after taking the medicine, I began to feel as if I had flu, with general malaise and aches and pains all over. I was dizzy and could barely move off the couch. I felt as if I were going to faint every time I got up. Did I have more fever than before? I don't know because I was too woozy to even think about taking it. At the time I had an infant and remember thinking "I need to get someone to help me." However, I'd feel better some four or five hours after the onset of symptoms and be able to go about my business for a bit. By then, however, it was time for my next dosage of Bactrim. I experienced the same symptoms as I had previously. I never thought to call my doctor as I assumed this was all caused by my kidney infection. Call me dim witted, but it was only after about three days of this that had the "Aha!" moment and associated taking the medicine with the reaction. I quit taking the medicine. The symptoms abruptly stopped. Only then did I think of calling my GP. I told him how terrible I was feeling. He asked if I had had hives or any other skin rash; when I told him I had not, he didn't seem particularly concerned, but did switch me over to another antibiotic to treat the kidney infection. I never heard anything allergies to Bactrim, but am convinced that I did experience a most negative reaction.

Today I have MCTD with overlapping symptoms of lupus and Sjogren's. I don't know if this is in any way related to my Bactrim experience, but I always mention reaction to my doctors, and make sure my chart has "Sulfa allergy" posted prominently.

Lucia H.

BACTRIM: 8 January 2007

Hi Brian,

I am glad I found your website. Yet another victim: I turned out to be very allergic to Bactrim, (given for a Sinus infection) and still have tingling in my legs about 5 days after stopping the drug...I have researched all about the neuropathy side effect since I read about it from others on your site. Do you know how long it takes for one's nerves to recover from the toxic trauma from the drug? I took Bactrim for 5 days, and my body began going crazy from it on day 5.....just like everyone else: head spinning, dizzy, chills, flu-like, tingling, etc. I stopped taking it right away and consulted my doctor, who confirmed it was an allergic reaction. That was about 5 days ago.

Thank you!


Marnie, age 27

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