Mail to this site on Septrin - Bactrim - Septra - trimethoprim side effects (32)

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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  SEPTRA DS 800: 29 October 2008

Dear Mr. Brian Deer,

I was prescribed Septra DS 800 for an infection caused by an ingrown toenail. I noticed on the first night I started taking the drug, my hands started turning blue. My toes became numb. I could not sleep all night because I was overanxious. I had thoughts of dying. If you knew me you would know those gloomy types of thoughts do not occur to me. I am an energetic, hardworking person who enjoys time off. I took 2 doses of two pill each 12 hours apart. I finally did a search for the side effects of this drug because the personality traits I was exhibiting were so foreign to me. After accessing your website, I am stopping the drug and asking the doctor for something else.

I do not need the debilitating side effects of this drug.


Linda Kruba.

BACTRIM: 30 October 2008

First I want to say Thank You for putting all this info on the Net, it has helped me to put a lot into perspective.

Dec. of 2007, I was "thought" to have a staph infection, and was put on 2 different antibiotics. 4 days later I was in the E.R. with severe back pain, it started earlier in the day with symptoms of fatigue, achy, nauseous, and fever. By the time I went to the ER I thought I was dying. I could not get to a standing position without screaming out in pain for 5 min., and the vomiting, and diarrhea. They admitted me and pumped me full of morphine for the next 6 days ran every test available from blood work, xrays and cat scans and found nothing. 4 days after leaving the hospital the back pain quit, but the headaches continued. I was off work for over 5 months, with the ending result of "it was a long term virus"????? (you know that phrase they use when they can't find anything)

Well after all the hell I went through, I found a new Dr., and have been healthy for the past 6 months. Then in Sept. of 08 I woke up one morning to find a rash on my neck, Dr. gave me a cream, no help, another cream and antibiotic, still nothing, so she sends me to a dermatologist... He believes it is a spider bite that is spreading through the layers of skin, and puts me on Bactrim. I took my first pill at 6pm, went to work at 10pm, and around 1:30am the side effects started. First I was a bit dizzy and nauseous, stomach cramping, then I started having muscle spasms in my back, then vomiting, on to diarrhea, I was brought home from work at 4am, called the ER and they didn't believe that back pain was due to an allergic reaction, and suggested I wait it out till the Dr. was in at 8am, well my rash looked better, and since they didn't believe it was a reaction, I took my second dose at 6am. Within an hour I was shaking uncontrollably could not get to a standing position, and when I did get to my feet, I couldn't put one foot in front of the other without screaming out in pain from my lower back. The fever set in, and the muscle aches in my body were getting worse, along with the excruciating pain in my lower back and stomach cramps. At 8am I was on the phone with my Dr., she told me to start pushing the fluids, flush the Bactrim down the toliet and she would look over my history from last year. She called me within 40 min. and told me I was having a toxic reaction to the Bactrim and found that it was Bactrim that I was on a year ago when hospitalized. She said we are going to try and keep you out of the hospital, start pushing fluids non stop, don't move around too much and I should be feeling some relief within 6-12 hrs. since I had only taken 2 doses. She called me every couple hrs to check on me, and within 8 hrs the back pain was not as severe as it had been.

It has been 39 hrs since I've had the last dose, and I am feeling much better, but still kind of flu'ish. Sneezing constantly, some itching of the hands and knee's, nauseous and still running a low grade temp. but the fact that the shaking has gone and the back pain is tolerable is a relief to me.

After reviewing my history my Dr. could not believe that the ER over looked the Sulfa reaction last year. or that the dermatologist would treat me with such a high dose of antibiotic without having results of the biopsy. The shaking she believes could have been mild convulsions and had I taken another dose I may not be here today.

Thank God I now have a Dr. that cares about her patients, that takes the time to review medical history and calls to check on her patients.

This has been the worst experience of my life, I honestly felt like I was poisoned and dying. After reading through this web site, I can't believe they don't have these reactions listed as side effects. It seems that wayyy to many of us have had them. I believe this to be a poison drug and should be taken off the market, before more deaths occur.

Susan, Iowa.

BACTRIM DS: 2 November 2008

I am a 40 yr old female, in generally good health, with 2 healthy children. Upon my first dose of Bactrim DS, (within 30 minutes) I had a SEVERE burning, and itching sensation usually associated with a vaginal yeast infection. I began treatment for such with OTC regimens(also sulpha) that only made the symptoms worse. I disregarded the Bactrim as the culprit,seeing it was only in my system for half an hour or so. 1 month later.. one dose of bactrim ds, and 30 minutes later I am sitting at the computer, searching for an answer to the almost immediate reaction to this drug, a second time. I then read ONE testimonial like mine.

What a relief. I thought I was crazy. I have recently developed a sensitivity to Penn. based drugs(in the last 5 yrs) but I have NEVER had a reaction to anything like this.

I have thrown the pills away, and I cant find any info from my pharmacy warning me of this type of reaction. I am sure I am extremely sensitive to sulpha based drugs. I dont even want to handle them . Thank you for the info. I just wish I could give that last pill I took back.

Atlanta, GA.

BACTRIM: 7 November 2008

Hi Brian,

Last June, I was prescribed the anti biotic bactrim for a urinary tract infection. Three days after taking the medication, I could not walk. Every joint on my body became crippled. I had to be taken to the bathroom, placed in bed, it even took 40 minutes after I awoke in the morning to hold a coffee cup. I called my doctor four days later asking him if he could give me some blood work for polymyalgiarheumatica or even lyme's disease. I live in Massachusetts, and they are many cases here of lyme's disease. Well, everything came back negative. Behold, within one week I was back to normal. Now, five days ago, I was yet diagnosed with another urinary tract infection. I was put on bactrim for 3 days. On the second day, I began with the crippling joints again, swollen feet and hands being 4 times their normal size. I then realized it must be the bactrim. I immediately went to an emergency room telling them this story. I was placed on an IV solution then sent home. The next day got even worse. I am an active 100 pound 48 year old woman and this was devastating to me. I then called my doctor once again and asked for him to see me as I felt I needed blood work. My sister is an RN and she told me that I need to drink lots of water as I can go into kidney failure, become anaemic and even get a liver disease. She knew so much about the drug, I was shocked. I wish I had consulted with her on it before taking it. When I did ask for blood work, my doctor nastily told me I was aggressive. He also stated that he is the doctor, not me. I replied back to him that I'm the patient and it's all about me. He didn't like me very much because he only knew the usual side affects such as the skin rash and burning. I researched it further. This drug is also a crippling horrible medication. I never would think I could feel pain like I have felt from it. It got to the point that I would have loved to be put to sleep just not to feel the pain I had. I'm better now, it's only been day five since stopping the bactrim, but I am still exhausted and my feet and joints are still healing. I find it appalling that this drug is given to anyone! The side affects can be deadly. I was wondering if you have heard of the joint pains so severe from Bactrim?..It was me that made my doctor investigate and put together the dates of the first urinary infection and the joint problems I was having. He didn't like it too much. Let everyone know that when it comes to your body, you have the right to speak up to a doctor and if you need further testing due to the negligence of a drug, it's their responsibility to do so. I'm happy that I have a smart sister. This web site has also helped me understand what I have been through. I consider myself lucky not to have died like others have from this drug. I also have learned that I will put nothing in my mouth till I learn about what I'm taking first. Thank you!

Kathy Disciscio.

GENERIC BACTRIM: 9 November 2008

Here is my experience with a generic form of Bactrim. I was prescribed Bactrim for a skin infection that had been resistant to Keflex. With in a day I had symptoms like fever to the point I could not rest without an ice pack on my fiery hot face and then a bright red rash starting on my chest that spread out over my entire body. Eventually I was vomiting, having terrible headaches, blazing fever, shaking chills, weakness etc. that was not relieved at all with Benadryl, Tylenol etc. I went back to my Dr. where in addition to the symptoms above I was found to have a very elevated heartrate, high fever, red throat and lab work that suggested an infection. I was told the rash was likely erythema multiforme and the fever, vomiting etc. was likely due to an infection (I have a very weak immune system and frequently get infections that require multiple courses of antibiotics). I immediately stopped the Bactrim (after 6 days) and got Avelox for the infection and Promethazine for the vomiting as it was wreaking havoc with my type 1 diabetes and was still showing no signs of improvement. Dr. called in Rx for a steroid medication but by the time it was filled I was starting to feel better. Within about a week of discontinuing the Bactrim the symptoms had all but disappeared and I went back to life. Fast forward to today two weeks later I was curious about what I if I really was allergic to the Bactrim and thought I'd experiment. Brilliant. Kids- don't try this at home- I learned my lesson! I took ONE PILL (previously took 2 twice a day) and within an hour I was itching all over, breaking out in a rash, feverish, weak, shaking, breathing hard, throat tight and only not vomiting due to a timely dose of the Promethazine. Just as sick as I had been the day I went to the Dr. with the erythemma multiforme and suspected infection but this time suddenly and violently. This second time around is the most violent reaction I have ever had to any medication or any substance. With in minutes to an hour it was like I was hit by a truck with the exact symptoms as before. So... I'm going to go ahead an attribute it to the Bactrim and call the Dr. and pharmacy first thing in the morning to have it listed in my records as an allergy.

P.S. My husband took and got rid of the Bactrim and I will never again so much as touch it with a 10 foot pole!

TRIMETHOPRIM: 12 November 2008


I had been taking single trimethoprim for UTI about a month ago. I had terrible side effects , depression, panic attacks, digestive system problems, short-breathing, fast-heart beating, sweating and feeling cold, chilly all the time. Even though I read this is the less problematic part of the drog.

After a month my side effects are still around and I don’t know if they will ever go away. Can anyone tell me that single Trimethoprim without SULFAMETHOXAZOLE can cause this permanent or long term demage in my life since I am feeling terrible but as I read this part was less issue than the SULFAMETHOXAZOLE.

Thank you in advance,

Viktor V, Finland

BACTRIM: 12 November 2008


I developed a UTI several days ago, and was prescribed Bactrim. I'm not one that usually takes antibiotics, but the UTI was getting pretty irritating. Within several hours of taking the first pill that morning, the muscles in my forearm became very sore and tender to the touch.

Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I thought maybe it was because of sitting at the computer all afternoon, but it's not anydifferent than any other day for me, and that's why it was so unusual.

By the time I left work, I couldn't use my right arm at ALL because any slight turn or bending causes a pain. I went home and wrapped my arm, and it has been wrapped for a couple days now. I was prescribed a 3-day dose, twice a day, and now I am wondering if I should even take this last days dose.......


SULFA/TRIMETH: 14 November 2008


I am so pleased to have found your website. My father, myself, and now it looks like my son are all allergic to any Sulfa based medication. With my father after taking the Sulfa he broke out in a rash not hives. He stopped the medication right away. His doctors said it was an allergic reaction to the medication and put him on prednisone. Then with me I don't remember what the infection was but I was prescribed sulfa and after a couple of days I started to itch and within a day my entire body was covered in hives. I stopped the medication and started on Benadryl and called the dr for a new antibiotic. So my son who is 9 has recently been suffering from an ear infection he went through one course of another antibiotic but it did not completely clear up. He is allergic to penicillin so they prescribed the Sulfa/Trimeth for his second course of antibiotics. He started it a week ago, fortunately I misunderstood the directions he was suppose to have it twice a day I was only giving it once a day. Then yesterday morning after 6 days on the medication he was complaining that his legs itched. I looked at his legs checking for hives since both my father and myself have an allergy to the medication. He did not have any kind of rash or hives but he had dry skin thought maybe that is why he was itchy put lotion on him and sent him to school. Then when I picked him up from school he says "Mom my arms itch so bad!" So I got him home still no rash anywhere. But gave him Benadryl for the itching. An hour later he still said he itched I checked him all over mostly his skin looked a little red in areas maybe a little blotchy but nothing resembling a rash a few little goose bump type bumps here and there but thats it. I called the dr and they wanted to look at his skin them selves to decide if he should stop the medication so I brought him in. But this time he did have a rash around his nose and covering his checks and some under his chin when we got to the dr's. The dr said that a rash is not enough for them to say it is an allergy and would not want to label him as having an allergy to sulfa unless he broke out in actual hives. They did take him off the Sulfa since his ear had cleared up and told me to give him Benadryl. They want to do what they call a challenge and next time he has an infection to give him Sulfa again and see if he has the same reaction or has a more allergic reaction such as hives. This morning still not any sign of hives, but his itching is worse and the rash on face is worse and lips look swollen. However after his morning dose of Benadryl the rash on his face seemed to improve quit a bit. He started complaining of a stomach ache later in the day I am not sure if this is part of the reaction but after reading some of the reactions from other people I would believe it is. So after reading this site I will never allow them to do that "challenge" every time a person is exposed to something they are allergic to the reaction could be worse. I have seen enough to feel certain he has an allergy and am not going to allow them to endanger his safety just so they can make sure he has the allergy because they are not satisfied. This all because he has a penicillin allergy and this would rule out two major families of antibiotics. There are still others available and I am sure the scientists will come out with more. So thank you for making this site, it is sad that the FDA here in the US needs to have someone else do their job for them.

Lita H.

BACTRIM: 14 November 2008

Hello Brian my name is Jennifer Herrera and I am in the United States. I recently was perscribed Bactrim for a UTI and wasn't told of any side effects. I was prescribed 2 pills a day for 3 days. After taking the 2nd pill I noticed my face was redder than usual and I was feeling hot to my face and neck. On taking the 3rd pill I still had the red/hot face and neck but no accompanied by a THROBBING headache! like someone was squeezing my head. So I stopped taking them. The following moring I was at work sitting at my desk and had this sudden stabbing/throbbing pain in my right back/abdominal area. I was really getting worried but it soon faded away.

My question to you is how do we make people/Doctors more aware that these side effects aren't rare side effect like every web page says. And how is it they can just give you these pills without any counseling on the side effects and risk. And second should i inform my doctor of my side effects and let them know I'm upset that I wasn't at least giving a leaflet listing the side effects and possible risks. And 3rd any links or further information about how bad Bactrim is will greatly be appreciated.

Thank You,

Jennifer Herrera

BACTRIM DS: 15 November 2008

I've been on this for 5 days for a sinus ear thing, im really week,seeing spots,shaking uncontrolably,bouts of diahria,burning stomach,headache constant. I'm considering taking myself off,my husband wants me to finish my 10 day dosage because we had no insurance so we paid for the full cost of visit and meds. We drive truck so it's hard to get back to the drs. Especially since we are states away. I'm unable to drive until I get better

Rob L.


My daughter who is 3 1/2 years old, was prescribed her very first antibiotic, Sulfameth-Trimeth Susp (cherry), for a UTI. The first few days she did wonderful. On day 9 I noticed she looked rashy. It looked as if someone had used a red ink pen to dot her skin from her shoulders, chest, belly, back, legs. I called the pediatricians exchange and they suggested to stop the medicine and that she's probably allergic. Will she be okay now that I've stopped the medicine, what should I do? Is there a test I should ask for to make sure she's fine?

Rebecca T.

SMZ/TMP DS: 21 November 2008

An ear/nose/throat specialist prescribed SMZ/TMP DS for my sinus infection. I took one pill on Tuesday evening and went to bed. I got up feeling a bit groggy, but not bad. I took a second on Wednesday morning. About four hours after taking the second pill, I began to feel extremely exhausted, as though I just wanted to sit still in a chair and not move. I also had some very brief periods of cold sweats and a sense of feeling very warm. I also felt nausea and had no appetite.

I continued with a third pill that evening, then a fourth on Thursday morning. Again, about four hours after taking the pill, I was hit with a massive wave of fatigue, cold sweats, warm feelings, nausea, and no appetite, along with some muscle soreness. The medicine was making me feel far, far worse than the sinus infection, so I called the doctor and they told me to stop taking it, so I skipped my Thursday evening dose.

Late on Thursday evening, just before bed, I got a very bright red and slightly elevated rash all over my left ear and much of the left side of my face. Also, my saliva began to take on an unusual taste. I called a nurse-practitioner that I know and trust and she told me almost immediately that it was an adverse effect of the SMZ/TMP DS, made sure that I was no longer taking it, and told me to take Benadryl.

It's now mid-day Friday, perhaps 27 hours since my last dosage. The rash seems to be gone, but the saliva still tastes odd and I still feel oddly warm at times. I am drinking tons of water to attempt to flush this out of my system.

My advice: if your doctor prescribes a sulfa medication as a "first" attempt at clearing up an infection, ask for something else. This hasn't been fun.

Trent H., Iowa


BACTRIM DS: 28 November 2008

I woke up last Monday with a swollen left eyelid. The next day it was getting worse,so I went to a Drs.Urgent Care,due to the fact my private Drs. hours were over. The doctor at the urgent care prescribed me Bactrim DS. My eye has gotten worse and is even swollen under my lower lid. I woke up this morning and was feeling jittery, I now have muscle pain in my groin area and back.

Luckily I was able to reach my family physician this afternoon and he told me to stop taking the medication immediately. I also have had light headaches today.

Diana P

SULFA: 4 December 2008

I wanted to let you know that I had a sinus infection last week along with the flu and was prescribed a Sulfa antibiotic: Sulfamethoxazole-TMP, otherwise known as Bactrim, Septra, Bethaprim, Cotrim. After being on it for a day, I developed a rash on my legs, but my sinus infection began toclear up, so I continued using it. On Tuesday morning I abdominal pain and it became severe at night, so severe, that I was not able to sleep at all, no matter which side I turned on. I felt that I needed to go to the ER but did not want to wait for hours in extreme pain waiting to be seen so I didn't. Yesterday, the abdominal pain began to lessen in strength, but today I have an itchy rash on my upper body. Maybe not everyone is sensitive to Sulfa drugs, but I am going to make sure my children do not take it or, if needed, take it as a last resort to other antibiotics.

Just recently, I took Benadryl to reduce the itchiness and it seems to be effective. I have an appointment scheduled today to see my doctor, but don't feel there is much she can do other than prescribe an anti-inflammatory, which I am skeptical of. Last spring after experiencing sinus pressure I was prescribed Methylprednisone and experienced a severe reaction to it the form of swollen glands, severely inflamed throat, and difficulty swallowing and breathing. My ENT doctor said it was not common to experience that type of reaction from Methylprednisone. The same ENT doctor, had my nose swabbed with lidocaine for a scoping procedure relating to the same sinus problem last spring and, as the lidocaine was taking effect, I felt the effects of it spread all of sudden to the right side of my head, producing severe head pain that eventually radiated to the rest of my head. This severe head crushing pain lasted for four hours. I could not drive myself home and almost passed out at the doctor's office.

Thanks to the Internet, I can prove to my doctors that I am not alone in the side effects that I have experienced from taking the Sulfa drug. I don't know if I am alone with the experiences I encountered from Lidocaine and Methylprednisone, but I have a feeling it is unlikely.:-) Please be cautious, for you and your family, if you are prescribed a Sulfa antibiotic.

Take Care,

Ann from Arizona

BACTRIM: 6 December 2008

Hey Brian,

Here is my current understanding of my medical state. I apologize for the length of this email, but it seems to be a long story.

I was prescribed sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) by my Dr. to treat a “Staph” infection on my chin. I started the medication on November 1st and continued it until November 11th. Near the end of the medication cycle I developed some strange symptoms that have persisted to this day. The first symptoms included muscle stiffness, poor circulation in my extremities, confusion, and a red splotchy rash on my back (which I assumed was unimportant and unrelated to the other symptoms). Not previously being aware of the potential side effects, I thought I was having symptoms of diabetes. I called between the 7th and 11th of November to schedule an appointment with my Dr. to examine these symptoms. Neither the Dr. nor myself connected my symptoms to side effects of the Bactrim. On November 17th I went to see the Dr. again. He tested my blood sugar and my oxygen saturation level via my finger. He asked me to come back in a week and see if the symptoms had improved. By November 24th the symptoms had not disappeared. It was at this point the doctor discovered that Bactrim might occasionally cause antibiotic induced lupus. The doctor and his team, then, took blood samples with which to run tests looking for indicators of autoimmunity. Upon returning on December 1st, I was informed the majority of the tests came back in the normal range. However, one test in particular did not. It was clear I had an elevated rheumatoid factor (28, with a normal range of x<14). In my understanding, this score potentially indicates some level of autoimmunity.



BACTRIM: 9 December 2008


I came across your website and wanted to share my horrible experience with Bactrim. I was prescribed Septra for a UTI about 8 months ago. After taking it one day I developed severe thrush in my mouth. I could barely talk for the open lesions and pain in my mouth and had to get nourishment through a straw basically. The doctor gave me Diflucan (2 doses) and it steadily grew worse for a week, then they put me on oral lozenges and it still wasnt getting much better. I was in MISERY and was starving. Then I noticed my joints were beginning to ache in my hands and legs. I thought I had athritis but I am only 32 and in pretty good health. I SAT for 2 days with heating pads on my joints under blankets popping tylenol and crying for the severe joint pain. I told my doctor and they said it was not a side of effect of Batrim, well obviously it WAS !!! So I took matters into my own hands. I had been on it about a week and had 3 days left and threw those away. The NEXT DAY my thrush began to slightly improve and was gone within 3 days. I experienced severe joint pain in my whole body for a whole week after stopping my medication and finally it eased up and went away. I also had many spells of very low blood sugar and weakness, I would have rather had the UTI than all of this. I read the side effects on the bottle and none of these were listed so I thought there was something majorly wrong with me. In this same week of the thrush , joint pain, I had several panic attacks. SO a couple of weeks after getting off of Septra , I went to they doctor. They tested me for Arthritis, daibetes everything they could think of and could find nothing wrong with me. I now know after a little research it was the Septra. I dont understand why they refuse to see such serious side effects and list them when so many are obviously allergic to Sulpha drugs? Anyways thanks for what you are doing, I hope people heed the warnings about this drug. The risk isnt worth it to me.

Brandi, Lubbock Tx

BACTRIM: 13 December 2008

Thank you, thank you, thank you! You saved me from total misery. I took my first Bactrim ever last night and I awoke early this morning with stomach cramping and nausea. I called the 24 hr. pharmacist to get her take on things and she said this was not considered a side-effect but is normal and that I should continue taking it. To her, a side-effect only consisted of a rash or inability to breath!! Anyway, I felt I could not stomach a second dose at that time(my first 12 hours was just about up) and I remember saying to myself that if I take this it's going to rip my stomach to shreds. I thought I'd take it with some bread, but realized I couldn't even eat bread. Then I realized I wasn't even comfortable drinking water. I then put "feeling nausea on bactrim" in google to do some research and your site came up. I was horrified to read these stories and had to close if off because it started to make me feel worse. I pushed the bottle far away and tried to calm down and thanked God for finding your site and not taking that second pill. I have eaten three pieces of bread and an apple all day. I'm feeling better but my appetite's not back yet. I spoke yesterday with a co-worker who raved about this drug, she even takes it prophylacticly to prevent UTIs. But how could the pharmacist not be aware of the potentially dangerous, and quickly compounding, side effects? My pharmacy (a huge national chain) definitely has to educate their pharmacists on this reality and I'm going to be telling them this while providing the link to your site as reference.

Judith D, California

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