Bactrim - Septra - Septrin - SMZ/TMP: mail to this site on side-effects (4)

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: 27 August 2003

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 2003

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 2003


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 2003

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 2003

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 2003

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.

BACTRIM: 9 September 2003

Mr. Deer,

My daughter, Sarah, was prescribed Bactrim last week, Sept 2, 2003, for a recurrent sinus infection. Day before yesterday, she started complaining of her ears hurting again and started running fever. Today, after running fever with chills yesterday, I took her to the dr. He said that she probably had the flu. Tonight as she went to bed, her fever was going up again, and I noticed a raised rash on her face and her ears were burning. I am almost positively sure that she is having an allergic reaction to this drug since reading this website. As the dr. was prescribing the meds last week, I told him that I was allergic to sulfa, but he assured me that it couldn't be hereditary. I really wish that I knew then what I know now! I didn't know years ago that this reaction was so common, or I would never allow it to be prescribed to my children. Sarah is already, at age 16, allergic to many penicillin drugs and the options for treatment are getting fewer! I will keep you updated on her progress!


BACTRIM: 10 September 2003


I recently took Bactrim for a bladder infection. I can't stress to you the shock I have over the controversy of this drug. My father is a doctor and prescribed it for me. At first I fished one dose and my infection hadn't gone away.I suffered from "trench mouth" for 1 week and felt absolutely terrible.I assumed this was because I felt ill and weak from stress.

I then tried a second course of a generic bactrim. I am currently experiencing very bad "trench mouth" and have stopped the drug.I have read your article and many other and realised that I have an allergic reaction to "sufur-watsis-names". The reason I am writing you this email is to ask if education through email is a viable form of communicating this evil drugs abuses. I always use the internet for research and it has always provided me with copious amounts of help. I believe that anti-advertisements placed on popular sites will really help make people aware of Roche's nightmarish drug.

Rory P, 24 year old male, Johannesburg, South Africa.

BACTRIM: 16 September 2003

Dear Brian,

My Daughter wrote Dec 2002 part story. But I have been ill 30 years and no explanation,s for them. In 1973,I had septrin for the first time for an infection, I was ill for weeks, my body was in pains all over,my heartbeat was not right,beta blockers did not help I could not breath, my chest was tight I could hardly stand I felt exhausted all day. A heart specialist had tests,he explained my heartbeat went 160 beats a minute on standing, but drops within seconds to 30 beats a minute when I sit and have arrhymias too, when standing again my heartbeat goes up to 160 this happens all day long,he could not tell me why this was happening.I still have this 30 years on.I have just seen a Doctor at hospital, he said has there been any reports of the heartbeat being affected while taking septrin. If so could you please write to Brian. I had septrin many times after that, each time I was ill, in 1982 I became very weak and tired, started to collapse outside, I saw my GP, I had tests done, he said I was very anaemic. I had emergency injection,s that same day. I became very ill and weak over the next few months,in the end I had to havea Hyterectomy in 1984. Then in 1989 had a water infection,was prescribed septrin, within hours of taking septrin was in server pains in the pit of my stomach, I thought it may be a tummy bug,but when I took the drug the day after I was in sheer agony, I could not breath I could not eat even water was burning my throat and stomach. I saw my GP that day, he took me off septrin and gave me another antibiotic. After that I was never away from the Doctor,s. He gave me chalky medison for about 7 week,s, getting no better,he sent me to see a stomach specelist.He gave me Tagamet,after 6 week,s I had an endoscopy this reveled 3 duedenal ulser,s and inflammation of my stomach. I was also feeling very very sick while I was eating, but I thought this was the ulser,s. Test after test were clear for the sickness, these were to take over 2 year,s 6 month,s I was losing weight fast, I was down to 6 stone 6 and still losing but test,s were still clear. I saw a Professor for a second opinion,I had a test on my stomach a scan called a gamma camera,I had to drink soup and wait while my stomach emptied. The test showed exactly what was happening in my stomach.The test takes 4 hours. Theperistaltic wave,s and contractions in my stomach are working from bottom to top and splashes from side to side, there is one hour delay on emptying, there was a lot of pain and bloating and I felt as if I was going to be sick, this lasted 2 hours the soup was trying to come up,I felt realy ill. Then after 2 hours into the test I felt unwell with something elsa, the soup had suddenly left my stomach into my intestine I felt very weak,instant headache, shaking,hungry,and sweating,I felt realy unwell again.Thay call this dumping syndrome.This is still happening today, every day every meal,its like tortuer every meal time. I have not had a normal meal since 1989.The specialist explained he was dealing with the unknown, apparently I am the only one in the world to have this happen without surgery..I never had an operation on my stomach at that time. Doctors say this is a very rare side affect of all or half your stomach removed ar an operation on your intestine, if a nerve has been severed in your stomach after an operation, to this day it is still a mystery to the medical profession as to why I have it. The only thing I can think of now is septrin, my stomach was perfect for 43 years till that day I took septrin in 1989. Thay saw I had a small hiatus hernia, with the enderscopy, but I never had indigestion or heartburn so never new I hade one. The Professor thought by repareing the hernia it may encourage my stomach to empty sooner, unfortunately it did not, but the operation itself was a success.The operation was very traumatic for me as I was at the time 6 stone and very weak they had to operate in front of my stomach, it took me over a year to get over I was so weak. I still could not eat normal.When you are very ill like I was you will try any operation that may help. Food and medication are very painful I have now a very sensitive stomach this happend the same day I took septrin, I now have to drink bottled water tap water is too painful on my stomach,I have lived on baby food and fresubin drinks in the past. I am still trying to cope eating other foods today. I was told I will have this for the rest of my life, theres no medication no cure for this, I am trying to cope the best I can on my own whitch is the hardest part. My are also affected,I get pains in my head when I lean forward ,I go red and hot then start sweating and have blurred vision, I also have hypertension.I have had all the tests for hormones MRI,CAT SCAN on my back, all clear test have gone on for 6 years, like all the other unexplained illnesses I have, this looks like another mystery. In December I saw septrin injury,s for the first time on internet,I am still very shocked and angry, I dont know were to go from here as I,ve been ill without a cause for 30 years, Till now. It is too much of a coincidence for it not to be septrin,I am scared now as I do not know what the future holds for me, as I seem to be getting worse all the time. Looking back now at my illnesses and septrin, I have had operations I my not have needed, especialy the hiatus hernia. I am sorry for the long letter, but I had to get it all off my chest, All of 30 years T hank you for being here for us Brian

God bless,

Betty, UK.

BACTRIM: 17 September 2003

Dear Brian,

I cannot believe I randomly found you on Google! Thank goodness! After I took my first pill this morning for a UTI I began to feel a little nauseaus..though "ok, that's normal, happens sometimes, just have to deal with it" , but as the day progressed I began to feel horrible. I felt like vomitting, my head was killing me, my throat hurt all of a sudden, and the joints in my shoulders were hurting. Unfortunately I was looking for some advice on the internet for a long time and in the meantime took my second pill. I am feeling a little better now and wish that I had not taken the second one as I know what I am in for tonight. I feel dizzy and weirdly enough, a little hyper. I notice that urinating isn't as painful but now I have all these other symptoms, including blurriness and dry mouth as well. I have not develped a rash or blisters as of yet and hope not to. To be honest, it feels I am coming down with the flu. I called my doctor and she told me that it is not an allergic reaction, just that Bactrim can be tough on the body. After reading your article, I am not too sure about that. I am so grateful for you because I would have kept taking these pills and after seeing what can happen, thank God you wrote this article.

If Bactrim does indeed cause so many adverse reactions in so many people, why in the world are Doctor's prescribing? And why are the mighty powerful drug companies able to continue producing?

Thank you again and please feel free to email me back with any helpful sites or such

God Bless

Bethany G.


TRIMETH/SULFA DS: 20 September 2003

Hello, I'm a college student and when i got a bladder infection 4 days ago, our college's doctor prescribed "TRIMETH/SULFA DS" to me for a week. about 2 hours after i took the first pill i became very dizzy, i have hot/cold flashed, i have no appetite, and I can't sleep for more than 4 hours every night.

I was wondering if these are typical symptoms of this drug or it I just have a cold that hit me.



BACTRIM: 21 September 2003

Brian, I was prescribed Bactrim for a chest infection around 1989, this was the 3rd time i had been prescribed the medication, i did have an adverse reaction after just one day, on contacting my doctor i was told not to use it anymore, i had a high fever and came out in a skin rash all over my chest and torso, i havent used it since, on speaking to my GP yesterday, he told me that i would never be able to use this drug again. I have a recuring chest infection, maybe caused by exposure to asbestos many years ago, as i worked in the building industry.

Keep up the good work,

Arch G, Australia.

BACTRIM: 22 September 2003

After reading information posted to other sites, I just wanted to add my experiences, for whatever it's worth. I have suffered from very frequent UTI's (about every 3-4 weeks) for more than 4 years. Each time, a physician orders the lab work and then, as a first choice, prescribes Bactrim. In over 4 years, it has never worked to clear up the infection (even though susceptibility testing reportedly states Bactrim should be effective). Cipro and Amoxicillin have both been highly successful treatment modalities. Although I luckily didn't suffer from any of the side-effects, as posted in internet stories, Bactrim has just not been as effective as reported in the pharmacological studies. I can't speak for respiratory-related infections (maybe Bactrim is better for those), but I can definitely state from repeated personal experiences - why take the risk when I am proof of a case where it is just, plain, ineffective? Although I can't find any pharmaceutical companies that will respond to my questions, I continue to wonder about the reason for my experiences. Lab results and ongoing infections continue to disprove many of the claims about this particular antibiotic. Two of my physicians are also aware of my problem with the med and also don't know how to respond.

I hope this helps anyone who is considering treatment with Bactrim.

Sharon S.

BACTRIM: 25 September 2003

I went into your website looking up different things about Bactrim. Let me tell you my experience.

I was told that I had a bladder infection, my doctor prescribed BACTRIM. I took one pill at night, after supper, and with plenty of water. When I woke up the next morning, before I stepped out of my bed, I felt like someone had beat me to death. My legs were killing me. Its two days later right now. I am still hurting but today I am broke out all over my legs along with the pain in my legs. I have never had this kind of a pain before nor have I ever broke out before. I called my doctor and they told me to stop the medicine now. Gladly. She is putting me on something new. My legs feel like they are getting no circulation at all!!!!!!!! If there is such a problem with this medicine, why don't they take it off the market????

Virgina W.

SEPTRIN FORTE: 29 September 2003

Dear Brian,

I have this morning read with great interest, your article on Septrin and have also been reading through the various letters and emails sent to you following your article. It has truly opened my eyes to the fact that I had a very very lucky escape from a near death experience. In September 1990 I was on holiday in Barbados. I had the symptoms of a urine infection and went to the chemist to speak to the pharmacist in the hope of getting one of those powder drinks you can take to cure such a problem. She asked if I had taken Septrin before, and I had, so she sold me, over the counter a few days supply of Septrin Forte. I took one tablet immediately and went to the supermarket next door. About 5 minutes later my head started to itch terribly but the more I scratched it the more it itched and started to burn. I started to feel very lightheaded, but thought it was probably too much Caribbean sunshine. My face started to itch and burn and I looked at my arms and my skin was turning purple and white raised lumps were appearing. I touched my lips and they felt very swollen. My whole body was turning purple and the white lumps were appearing all over. I caught sight of myself in a piece of reflective metal and saw that my lips had swollen up and were purple. I was of course, quite frightened by this time, some 10 minutes after taking one pill. I realised I was unable to swallow and breathing was becoming difficult. I was with my then partner and another couple with whom we'd made friends. The guy of that couple was a firefighter and the lady was a nurse. I asked them if my lips had swollen up. I was by this time feeling very faint. Fortunately for me they remained very calm. About 12 minutes after taking the pill, I couldn't walk. The guy picked me up, calmly carried me back to the hotel and the lady, unbeknown to me, went back to the chemist and asked for a doctor. The guy took me into the room, filled the bath with cold water and put towels in it, removed my clothes and covered me in the cold towels. I was delirious and hysterical all at the same time. He kept talking to me very calmly and covering me in the cold wet towels. My body was swollen, purple and covered in spots. I struggled to breath and was slipping in and out of consciousness. The doctor appeared with the lady. He took one look at me and put a needle straight into my arm. He sat with me and talked to me. He was a lovely man - very calm with a very kind face. He was reassuring me that I would be fine. I came back to full consciousness and the purpleness, the spots and the swelling started going down straight away. The doctor stayed with me for about an hour as I was very very scared and very upset by the whole event. He was clearly waiting to ensure that my allergic reaction did not get any worse. He left me with some piriton and some cream for my body which was very sore. He called me that night and came back to see me the next morning, when he told me I was a very very lucky lady and that had another couple of minutes passed, then he would have had to perform a tracheotomy. I feel I owe my life to the couple I befriended and the Bajan doctor. I am just sorry I don't know their names and have never had the chance to see them again. I feel I had a very close shave with death.

I don't think I have any side effects from this one off incident but I do, from time to time, find myself allergic to alcohol and my face, neck and chest go very very red. My face actually looks as though I have scratched it. I don't know if this is linked at all. I am allergic to penicillin and I am allergic to moules. The moules allergy is most bizarre. I only have to be in a room where they are being cooked and my stomach starts to turn, I go white and my legs go to jelly and if I don't leave immediately I vomit and pass out. I don't know if this is linked to the septrin allergy.

Thank you for your article and my heart goes out to all those who have been less fortunate than myself.

With kindest regards

Hilary D, UK.

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