Side effects risks
Bactrim Septra: a secret epidemic

Septra Bactrim Sulfatrim Septrin

TMP/SMZ side effects reports


Page 3 of mail to investigative reporter Brian Deer (left) recounting sometimes serious side effects of the antibiotic often known as Bactrim, Sulfatrim, Septra or TMP/SMX

Bactrim Septrin Septra TMP/SMX Sulfatrim cotrimoxazole Cotrim TMP-SMZ side effects


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

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

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

Brian, I had a kidney transplant is Feb. 1999. I was given 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 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


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

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 [Followup to 22 May]

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

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

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

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

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.

BACTRIM: 27 August

Dear Brian,

I read with great interest all the letters regarding the antibiotic also known as Bactrim. I was taking it to treat a minor infection, and now have lost hearing in my right ear. It's been replaced with a loud ringing sound. Of course, this makes me dizzy as well. I went to my family doctor; she immediately looked up possible side effects from Bactrim. She told me to stop taking it and has given me a prescription for a different antibiotic. Unfortunately, she couldn't reassure me that my hearing will come back any time soon. She has suggested I get an MRI done in a couple of weeks if the ringing doesn't go away.

All because of a minor infection that could have been treated with something else. This is very frustrating.

Lisa H.

BACTRIM: 28 August

Dear Brian,

I'm happy to report that this morning I woke up and the ringing in my ears was gone. I'll certainly think twice next time a doctor casually writes out a prescription for a relatively minor ailment. You're certainly doing a great service to others by acting as the information exchange on this topic. Thank you.

Lisa H.

BACTRIM: 28 August


After discovered the site about victims of bactrim, I decided to write you about my experience. In October 2002 I used bactrim trying to care an infiammation. aftre taking bactrim, I started to have problems with my eyes, always tired, and with my balance. I used Bactrim severeal time before discovering your site. Then I stopped to use it. Now, in august 2003, I still have a lot of problems with my balance and with my eyes, and I see everything like I were drunk. The doctors always tell my I'm tired, under stress, and maybe I need a rest, and maybe I need others medicine, but I know it is not true. I don't need others medicine, and I 'm not tired or under stress. I know all my problem started after using Bactrim.

I'm afraid because I stopped to use Bactrim since April 2003, but I still have problems, and I can't find anything to care them. Do you know someone who has the same problems and found a care ? There is somebody who can tell me what can I do ?

Thanks for the attention. You can use my letter for you site.

Gio R. Italy.

BACTRIM DS: 2 September

Dear Brian:

A month ago I was given Bactrim-ds for a UTI. After 4 days I was feeling dizzy and very fatigued. I thought I was having an arthritis flare up because I have rheumatoid arthritis. I take lots of meds for this including methotrexate (a chemo drug) indocin(anti-inflammatory) and I also take Cardezem for my heart and Avapro for high blood pressure. When I picked up the prescription at the pharmacy they were hesitant to give it to me because it didn't mix well with the methotrexate.

Since my doctor is GOD (or thinks he is) I thought it would be OK. The reaction is that the Bactrim would make the methotrexate stronger. Since I was to up my dose of methotrexate that day anyway I thought I would just take my usual dose of methotrexate and go ahead and start the Bactrim. My pharmacist agreed. After the first day on Bactrim I was feeling dizzy and tired. No problem since I'd taken this drug before and knew it would go away after finishing the Bactrim. After 4 days I couldn't stand! I was so fatigued and the pain in my legs was so bad I went to the ER. They found that my potassium was so high (10.2 and normal is 3.2-5.0) they were worried my heart would stop. I wanted something for the pain but they said they didn't want to make my heart any more unstable. They pumped me full of drugs to get rid of the excess potassium and I felt better but they admitted me anyway.

They told me I had a close call and told me it was the Bactrim that caused this. Along with the fatigue, pain nausea and dizziness I also had numb lips, tingling in my hands and feet, and a metallic taste in my mouth. I was told to stop the Bactrim(which I already had), Avapro, indocin, and up my prednisone(I failed to mention that drug) and my pain meds(which I also forgot to metion).It seems that Bactrim,Avapro and Indocin all inhibit the kidney from expelling potassium. But according to the renal Dr. the culprit was the Bactrim. My pain level is much higher now. I'm not sure if there was permanent damage from the Bactrim or the fact that I'm off the anti-inflammatory and chemo drugs. I'm seeing my doctors today. Thank you for your web site. Feel free to use my letter even though I'm long winded.


Richard G. Boise, Idaho.

BACTRIM DS: 8 September

Dear Brian,

I sorta feel bad for you, plowed with so many letters from people but at the same time I feel good, because your research has helped many now and in the future. Here's my story.....

I went to the ER with a stomache virus, vomiting diarreah, etc... my daughter and husband had suffered the same just a week before. I went to get some relief from the vomiting for 12 hours. The doctor did a urinary test and some blood tests gave me some fluids and meds. to stop the nausea. He said he was giving me Bactrim DS as a prescreption, but failed to tell me why. I asked the nurse why and she grabbed my chart and read from the lab results and said I had a bad urinary tract infection and that was why. I left had my prescription filled and began taking it. On the third day I was in the shower washing my hair and my scalp was on fire. I had broken out in blisters on my scalp..

I called my doctor and he said to go into the ER immediatly, I went to a different ER, but one that was connected with the other. The Doctor said I had an allergy to the Bactrim and gave me prednisone and benedryl for it. He asked me why the other doctor had given it since he saw no hint of urinary tract infection in the test he had done that night. I told him that was what I was told i had. He checked the doctors notes and lab results from the first night and said that the results were within normal and the Dr. remarked about giving it to me as a "precaution" because I might have had bacteria in my intestines causeing the diarreah. No test was done to determine if i did in FACT have bacteria in my intestines. This "precaution" could have killed me, as it has others. Now I am facing the fact that I may be anemic from this since I have been tired a lot but won't know till I see my regular physician in a few days.

Thank you for all you have done and god bless,

Kathy. Naples, Fl.

SEPTRIN: 9 September

Dear Brian

In April 1989 I had a very severe UTI for which I was treated with Septrin for one week.

Three weeks later I started having an excrutiatingly severe vaginal itch. I spent days and weeks scratching myself in baths of salt water. I got through the largest Vaseline bottle weekly due to the painful wounds caused by my manic scratching.

Fourteen years later I am still suffering from this complaint which ruled my life for quite a few years. I used to think that I would never be rid of it, however, on a scale of 1 - 10 I would say the itch is probably down to about 3, so, hopefully the end is in sight.

My doctors through these last years have treated me with things like EcoStatin, Gyno-Daktarin and Canesten, (all of which seem to make the itching worse) and generally speaking they were remarkably unconcerned or unknowledgeable about the problems of Septrin.

God bless you for your web-site

Tina, Wales.

Side effects of Septrin, Bactrim, Bactrim DS, cotrim, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, Septra DS, co-trimoxazole, TMP-SMX, SMZ-TMP, cotrimoxazole, Trimeth-Sulfa, Sulfatrim, Septran, Trimethox. Your feedback is appreciated, and your experience with this drug may help others