Bactrim - Septrin - Septra - Sulfatrim: mail to this site on side-effects (3)

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: 13 July 2003

I took just 4 Bactrim DS pills. I had some redness on my penis after just one pill, but, when you have chronic UTI, that's not unusual. The morning after the 4th dose, I awoke with a blistering rash, on my penis. I immediately knew it was the Bactrim, and discontinued it. It's been 2 days, and the rash has actually gotten worse.

My doctor asked me if I was allergic to sulfur, when she wrote the prescription. I now know, that drugs such as Keflex, which contains some sulfur, and "sulfa-class" drugs, are two entirely different things. I have taken a great deal of Keflex, over the years, so naturally, I told the doctor that sulfur was ok.

The only problem is, that Bactrim is not made from sulfur!!!!

I only hope that my rash is all external. That my doctor would give me a script for Bactrim, is truly unbelievable.

Charlie C. Philadelphia

BACTRIM: 24 July 2003

Dear Brian:

I have been taking bactrim for over 5 years off and on for acne. I have since been diagnosed with GERD and a deterioration of my stomach lining. If I take a bactrim now, the pain becomes excruciating - though my acne clears up. It's like a win, lose thing.

Any similar stories? Advise?


Joe P. Houston, Texas

SEPTRA: 4 August 2003


I'm very concerned about my mother, who has been on Septra since Feb. 2003 as part of her chemotherapy regime for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. She is 76 years old.

Her symptoms include: mouth sores, memory loss and confusion, and symptoms mimicing a stroke (her right side is weak and barely useable). She is having a terrible time "finding words" and she frequently complains about her mental confusion.

Her doctors have run many, many tests (MRIs, CAT scans, PET scans, lumbar taps, ultrasounds) and have ruled out a stroke or an infection as a possible cause of her problems. After a week's stay in one of the top five U.S. university research hospitals, the doctors told us they did not know what the cause of my mother's problems are, and they gave us nothing to treat her problems, and they cannot tell us they have stopped the progression of her condition. They have only prescribed PT, OT, and speech therapy to help her adjust to her situation.

Does this constellation of side effects and symptoms sound like it could be from Septra use?

Thank you,

D. S.

SEPTRIN FORTE: 5 August 2003

Hi Brian

My name is John Cxxxxx and I am a healthy 47 yr old, last week I was prescribed Septrin forte for a urinary infection and duly took the two tablets per day (I was supposed to take them for 10 days)

After four days I began having a strange numbness in my mouth so I stopped taking the tablets, however on the fifth day I woke up and the right side of my face was paralysed, it has remained that way now for three days and before I contact my doctor I would like to know if you have had any similar reports.


John G C.


Dear Mr. Deer,

I wanted to report a death of my beloved Leonberger dog from adverse effects of sulfa/trimethoprim. The vet who prescribed the antibiotic, needlessly as it turned out, is in denial that this drug caused the reaction, but I will soon have documentation that it could be the only cause. The dog developed aplastic anemia, hepitits, pulmonary infiltrative disease, arthalgia, and urinary problems, but ultimately died from aplastic anemia. If the record would help the human cause in any way I would be happy to provide you with the results of an extensive two weeks of testing and attempts to save this dogs life from the University of Minnesota.


Mary L.


Dear Mr Deer,

I have been investigating the use of Septrin. We have a litter of pups that were given Septrin at 1-1/2 weeks of age. One pup had the runs so took to the vet and he prescribed Septrin for the whole litter. At the same time he prescribed on day 3 after whelping Maxolon for the mother to bring down her milk. This bitch had never been sick had been kept away from any other dogs in the house. She whelped 11 beautifuful pups by herself with no problems. This litter was so important to us they are Rottweilers and are from frozen semen.

The pups who weighed around 500 grams were given 30ml of Septrin a day (were on it for 2 weeks until we stopped because of what we found out about this drug) and the mother was on Maxolon of 30mg per day also for 2 weeks. We have lost 5 puppies they were big beautiful puppies not sick or weak. They would feed off their mother and then would make this god awful noise would rush to the vets and within 2 to 3 hours were dead. They actually died screaming.

What we noticed was that their faces seemed to swell their tongues would stick out and be a blue colour and they seemed to have trouble with their neck. In actual fact they seemed as though their throats were closing.

When they took some blood tests of the first boy they said he had no red blood cells. He died within a couple of hours. With the loss of thesecond boy also within a couple of hours they did a autopsy. It took 8 days for them to get the results which they said was canine herpes. I do not believe this after reading the reactions of these drugs. Any information you can give would be great. I live in Australia and am having trouble getting any information.

I was lucky that I spoke to the Stud dog owner in Belgium who contacted a couple of vets in Europe and said the pills were killing the puppies and to hand feed - which we have done. The vetinary institutions here I cannot get any information from.

Would appreciate any information.

Thank you.

Sheila I. Australia

BACTRIM: 10 August 2003

I was recently prescribed Bactrim for a urinary tract infection. This was the second urinary tract infection I have had in the last few months and both times taken the Bactrim. As happens normally, I had a yeast infection (or so I thought). I used Monistat but now I continued with constant vaginal burning. I went into see the gynecologist and he said there was no yeast infection and he could not see anything wrong with my vagina. After a few days the vagina stopped burning. A few months later I had another urinary tract infection. Bactrim again. My vagina is burning and today I started spotting blood. I am past menopause, age 55. I Noticed today that the literature from the pharmacy does list "vaginal irritation" and "unusual bleeding" as side effects. I also had a flushed face (thought I was getting rosacea). Has anyone reported vaginal irritation? Could the bleeding be due to the skin irritation of the vagina? Are any attorneys monitoring this website with regard to any class action suits?

Virginia, Delaware

BACTRIM: 11 August 2003

My Dr. prescribed it 4 days ago for a UTI, It's made me dizzy, itchy everywhere (like needle-stings) very flushed skin, the backs of my hands are burning and my head feels pained nd confused....also.. very blurred vision and my hair is falling out.

I am SO grateful to have found your website! I now realize that the same(or related) drug which was known as "Gantricin" that I took in 1965 caused 2 years of depression and much the same symptoms...

I can't take Floxin the other abx for UTI's, so I guess I'll just have to live with it...


BACTRIM: 13 August 2003

Brian, I had a kidney transplant is Feb. 1999. I was given Bactrim....to be taken the life to the kidney. Shortly after, i started to get very painful blisters on my hands and feet. I reported it to the doctors and they said that the Bactrim would not be the cause. The middle of June, 4 months later...i woke up with what i thought was an ear infection. I went to the emergency room and thats what they said it was.By July i was completely deaf! The transplant doctors refused to believe that it was the Bactrim that caused this. I know differently. In my opinion, no one should take Bactrim....it needs to be stopped! I've had a Cochlear implant and i'm getting on with my life.

I hope this letter will make people aware of the dangers of Bactrim, so that they will not become a victim of its terrible side effects.

Marla S.


BACTRIM: 14 August 2003


I recently had a very close friend who was 14 weeks pregnant when she was prescribed Bactrim PO for a UTI. She took the first pill and developed a headache and then flu like symptoms, the rash, swelling of the joints, small ulcers in her mouth, vaginal bleeding and the rest of the symptoms that are listed as reactions. What I am looking for is what affects this may have on the baby. I am at a loss as to where to go to find any studies. I am aware that this drug is not suppose to be prescribed for pregnant women.


BACTRIM: 18 August 2003

Dear Brian,

My daughter took a few doses of Bactrim for a UTI three years ago. She wound up in the hospital with a high fever, joint pain & blood dyscrasias that mimicked leukemia (which is what they initially thought she had). Her liver enzymes were also off the scale. They finally diagnosed her as "acute viral syndrome". 2 weeks ago, after a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, she again was diagnosed with UTI and given bactrim. 5 hours after taking her first dose, she awoke from sleep with vomiting, high fever & severe joint pain. Eventually she went to the ER with 104.2 fever. She told them of her previous experience with Bactrim & both her GYN & the ER doctor dismissed her observations. They told her you don't get a high fever with a drug reaction. Her blood work showed some anemia & again abnormal liver enzymes. They again diagnosed her as "acute viral syndrome". ( Luckily, she is now on Macrodantin for the UTI). My daughter & I are convinced that the docs are uninformed and that she does have an idiosynchatic reaction to Bactrim.

Beverly M.

SULFATRIM: 21 August 2003 [Followup to 22 May 2003]

We saw a new doctor that we really like. He doesn't want to do anything right now, but he did take her off the Sulfatrim. He said that unless she has another infection there was no need to keep her on any medication. He doesn't believe in maintanence therapy. He gave me an undated prescription to keep in my purse so I could have it filled if she started having problems. She had an infection before he took her off the Sulfatrim.(that's why we saw him. Her regular pediatritian refered us to him) She is eating a lot better and hasn't had diarrea. For some reason her color even looks better. She sees him every 3 months.(unlike before, her dr wanted to only see her every 2 years unless there was an infection) She seems to be doing really well!

Geneva W.

BACTRIM: 22 August 2003

Hello Mr. Deer. My mother was taking bactrim for a kidney infection when she accidentally became pregnant with me. The doctors told her to abort me- that I would be deformed and retarded- that she could always have more children later. She was only 20. My parents discussed it and decided that they were not going to terminate the pregnany and if I had problems they would deal with that and love me anyway. I was born without any physical or psychological problems, luckily. I am 24 now- with no serious health issues, except that a couple years ago I developed gastritis and have been taking zantac for that, and now I seem to have developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome on top of that. I wonder if these things could have been caused by the Bactrim... Also, without knowing it was so harmful, my doctor prescribed and I took Septra once for a urinary tract infection. It also made me very sick. I was nauseous and bed-ridden and had to miss work for a couple days immediately after beginning the medicine. I called my doctor, who told me that it wasn't the drug. But I stopped taking it and insisted on getting a different drug instead. After reading the information on your site I am very glad I did. One thing I fear, and have always feared since I found out about my conception on Bactrim is that I would not be able to have children myself. I've heard of this with some other drugs that were found to be unsafe. I am in a committed relationship and might be coming to that point in my life some time in the next few years. I was wondering if you have heard of any cases like mine and whether this might be a legitimate concern. Any info you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,

Holly W.

SEPTRIN: 22 August 2003

Dear Brian I was prescribed Septrin on the 15th August 2003 i had to stop taking it on the 21st. Although i have not had the severe side effects i have had terrible sickness my tongue went black and i could not go to the toilet. I was prescribed Septrin because i have had Wegners Granularmatosis a disease of the lungs and was told that buy taking Septrin i would reduce the risk of it coming back, i was told i would have to take them for the rest of my life. Thanks for your time.


BACTRIM DS: 23 August 2003

Dear Mr. Deer,

I took Bactrim-DS from 14 August to 18 August, two pills daily. While on it I experienced "typical" antibiotic symptom -- diarrhea, etc. On Saturday (16 August) I awoke with hand tremors, extreme pain in my thighs, knees, hips, difficulty walking, extreme fatigue, a brown tongue, consistent thirst, and a foul taste in my mouth. The doctor suggested that I continue taking the medication since I only had two more days to go. By yesterday (Friday, 22 August), my symptoms all worsened and although I stopped taking the medication on Monday I called my physician. He was out of town and I saw the physician who was covering for him. She said that it sounded like an "extremely rare" reaction to a very common drug and I that I probably have a "sulfa allergy." She claims that the symptoms should abate and that I should be over the worst of it -- but instead of feeling better, my joints are now swollen, my thigh muscles are so sore that I can hardly walk, my mouth burns and food tastes terrible, and the thirst is unquenchable. Lest you think that I am a chronic complainer, I am a 56 year-old female NY marathon runner who is NEVER ill! Thank you for your series -- it made me feel psychological (although not physically) better to know that I am not alone.

Best wishes,

Dr Ilona R. Stony Brook, NY.

BACTRIM DS: 26 August 2003

I felt like crying with relief when I found your website. I was giving Bactrim a couple of months ago for cystitis and within a day or two had extreme anxiousness (a feeling of jumpiness inside), nausea to the point of almost vomiting, clamminess, diahrrea and fever. At that time, I put it to a strange stomach virus, but did stop the meds. Yesterday I was prescribed it again for a sinus infection and within 2 hours of the first dose I had a fever, nausea, anxiousness... Did not click until this AM after my second dose. Today has been hell. I was encouraged to read that one man felt better two days after his last dose- he had similar problems.

THANK YOU! I felt like I must be off my rocker with these crazy symptoms, but found every one of them over and over on your site. By the way, when I called the Dr. to say I thought I might be having a reaction to Bactrim and sheepishly gave him my symptoms, he said, "Oh yeah. Lots of folks have reactions to bactrim"

Peter C.

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