Bactrim - Septra - Trimeth-Sulfa: mail to this website on side-effects (6)

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: 15 November 2003

Hi Brian

I am allergic to Septrin and after taking it when I had pleurisy quite a few years ago I became quite ill.

I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2001 and Septrin is one of the drugs that can induce a flare-up of Lupus. All patients of the Lupus Clinic at St Thomas' hospital in London, where I received my diagnosis, are strongly advised not to take this drug. I hope this information is useful

Hazel E.

TRIMETH-SULFA: 16 November 2003

Our son Thomas was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection in August of 2003. Trimeth-Sulfa was prescribed on 8/16/03. He took one dose, one tablet before bedtime on Saturday the 16th. When we awoke on Sunday the 17th we found him on his bedroom floor, gasping for breath, with some blood around his mouth and nose area. Doctors later speculated that he might have bitten his tongue while vomiting. His brain swelled (like meningitis) and he died on Tuesday August 19th. After reading your web site and some of the side effects, it could very well be that Thomas had a severe reaction to this medicine. Have you heard of this type of reaction from others?

Thomas was only 16. In excellent health. He was a special needs child, developmentally delayed and small in size. But nothing prepared us for this.

I don t know if you even have this email address anymore, but wanted to inform you of what happened to us. Are there any groups or discussion groups regarding this problem?

Thank you for your time.

Michael P. Spokane, WA.

TRIMETH-SULFA: 16 November 2003

Mr. Deer: Thank you for such a quick response. We just went to Tommy s gravesite today to visit. It was a pleasant surprise to find your note.

We did discover your site by looking up the drug, because, quite frankly, there was not anything else we could think of that would have caused his death. He was perfectly healthy before taking the drug. However the doctors told us sulfa was harmless and they could not imagine how just one dose would cause these problems. I think they are wrong.

I do have to add that the doctors fought a valiant battle with Tom, and were very supportive to us. But his brain swelled so much that as soon as we took him off the respirator he passed on. Even though we have other children that are older, this tears a hole in your heart and soul. If we had just questioned more or watched him closer we might have caught him sooner.

We have not been able to find anything in the states that address this issue, nor support or on line groups that discuss this problem. So far your site has the only info that links trimeth-sulfa with such adverse effects. I did see on one other site side effects that said in RARE cases Tommy s reaction could happen.

Anyway your column was an eye opener. We are going to pass this information along to the pediatrics unit here in Spokane so they might be able to react sooner in the future.

Again Thank you for writing. I m going to print this off to show my wife. And Thank You for making this information and research of yours available to the public.


Mike P. Spokane, WA.

SMZ-TMP (VETERINARY): 18 November 2003

Dear Brian,

We have a Golden Retriever who is eight months old. Up until two weeks ago he would wake up (after sleeping in his crate all night) about 6:30am and go pee in a dirt spot on the side of our house, come in and eat, then immediately go back to his spot for number two. He's been doing so great.

When the California fires were burning we noticed that his eyes weren't looking right, so we took him to our vet who said they were infected because of the smoke. He prescribed SMZ-TMP. The day after he started this medication he refused to go pee in his spot, but if you took him on the grass he would go right away. Everyday has gotten worse to the point that he wouldn't pee for hours, even on the grass. When he did go it didn't seem to hurt, so we didn't think it was a bladder infection. He wouldn't even sniff around. It's like he was afraid of the dirt or something... very strange. He was acting normal otherwise; very playful and eating fine.

We asked the doctor about side effects and he said that this has nothing to do with the antibiotic. Although, he said the dog may be "rebelling". That didn't seem right because we usually gave him the pill mixed in with food or with a treat. He eventually got exited when he saw the medicine bottle.

The Vet initially prescribed about 10 days worth. After one week we went back for a checkup and he prescribed 10 more days. After about 15 days we really started to worry and wanted to do more research. We called the Vet again to ask for the official name of the drug and they gave us the run-around, saying "Oh, it's such a long name, I can't even pronounce it... come in for a brochure... etc". It immediately raised a red flag.

Finally, after getting a little nasty with them, they gave the name. I did more research and found this site. We immediately stopped giving it to the dog and the next day he was back to normal, going to the right spot on the side of the house.

Thanks for posting all of this information on your site. Our dog seems to be fine, but I still wish I would've found your site a little earlier.

David G.

BACTRIM: 19 November 2003

I can only tell you that my kidneys are in such pain , I was prescribed bactrim just yesterday. I hurt so bad. I have M.S., take copaxone. I stopped taking it I fear my kidneys will get damage , The doc has me on it for bronchitis . Let me know if you have ever heard of this drug effecting the kidneys.


BACTRIM: 23 November 2003

Bio: Retired 72 year old male, in generally good health.

I located this site when I recently suspected I was having "side-effects" from a new prescription I was taking for a UTI. I have had these infections in the past, but had never received this particular medicine before. Because of a esophageal problem, my doctor usually tries to give me liquid form antibiotics, e.g. Augmentin, etc. My regular GP was away, and his assistant prescribed a generic form of Bactrim Pediatric suspension (Sulfameth-Trimeth Suspension).

By the second day, I was very uncomfortable with body aches, especially my back, and the beginning of leg pains, especially in the calves. By the end of the fourth day, I suspected some kind of severe allergic reaction as my legs were very swollen, walking was extremely difficult, and very painful. I had to take about 1000mg of tylenol every 4-6 hours to make the pain tolerable, but this was of limited value. At the end of this fourth day, I stopped taking the meds, and called the physician's assistant (The doctor was still away) to tell her that I suspected I was experiencing side-effects that were like phlebitis, or some vasculitis and muscle problem, but something clearly was amiss. After two days, or no improvement, I got back in to see the physician's assistant, who said this was an allergic reaction to the meds as I suspected. She immediately got me on a prednisone pack ( MethylPrednisolone Tablets USP 4 mg -21 tablets) which I am still taking, but within an hour of the first dose, I could feel an improvement starting.

Frankly, I was shocked to see the very poor history of this "medicine" that was revealed so many years ago in the British Press and some of the medical literature there over the years, and the seeming lack of awareness here in the USA in 2003,--- in fact, surprised that it was still being sold here with such a checkered past!

I for one am grateful to have found this reference and some early support it gave for my suspicions of allergic reactions that hopefully saved me and my family a lot of further anguish.

DFH, Ph.D.

SMZ/TMP: 25 November 2003

Hi Brian,

I am emailing from the U.S. and read your site regarding the side affects of smz/tmp. I am having considerable hair loss and am a healthy 22 year old female. I was wondering if you have had similar reports regarding this specific side affect. More information on this would be extremely helpful. By the way, I am taking this medication for treatment of acne. I soon have a doctors appointment in association with this and would like your opinion before I go.

BACTRIM: 30 November 2003

I have been searching the web for information on my 2 and 1/2 year old cough which followed upon 5 days in the hospital with peripheral neuropathy, evidently due to Bactrim since no other cause could be found in spite of blood tests, scans, etc. Neurontin took care of the neuropathy for the most part, although I still have sudden pangs, furious itches, and tingling from time to time.

But nothing gets rid of the cough. I have been examined inside and out, upside and down -- no luck in finding a cause. I think it must be nerve damage in my throat from the Bactrim, and the doctors agree that my diagnosis is as good as anything.

Have you heard of this? More important, have you heard of any treatment? I would appreciate any references or help you can give. Thank you for doing the investigation, but I'm sorry to say the stories don't seem to have been read by doctors in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Best regards,

Valda C, CA.

BACTRIM: 5 December 2003

My experience with Bactrim has rendered me extremely worried about the ease that doctor's and other health care professionals prescribe medications. I have never been allergic to any med and when I took Bactrim for a sinus infection, the day after my first dose I began to get large, red, itchy welts on my arms. I was not aware that I needed to contact my doctor for this and I continued to take the med. Several days past, and the rash began to appear all over my body, and it also seemed to swell and itch. The itching and swelling of my hands was so extremely bad that I cried from the misery. I ended up going to the ER after a week on the drug and was diagnosed with urticaria and an allergy to sulfa drugs.

Laura L.


SULFATRIM: 14 December 2003

Hi, my daughter was prescribed sulfatrim a week ago for a UTI. She is almost three years old. She didn't have any of the side effects that i have read about so far, but i notice that about an hour or two after she takes her medicine she goes into a violent rage.

She throws herself about and screams. It is horrible because she was NEVER like this before. I feel as though she has completely changed.

I know she is in her terrible two's, but her fits were never like the ones she has now.


BACTRIM: 16 December 2003

I was 19 when I was given bactrim for a prolonged UTI, I remember feeling terribly allergic to it, I was unaware that it was the medicine at first. I developed a continuous itch all over my body, and then these little purple dots that covered every part of me. I finished the medicine unsure if it was bactrim that had caused it, since i sometimes do have allergies. about 6 months later I was given one bactrim pill when seeing my urologist, and immediately my body developed little purle spots everywhere. The best antibiotic I for me has been levaquin, better than cipro for me.


TRIMETH/SULFA: 31 December 2003

Hi, Your website appeared after I used an online search engine to search for Trimeth sulfa side affects. A couple months ago I had an almost fatal mental breakdown accompanied by several physical side affects including abdominal pain,chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, and aching muscles and joints.

The medication was prescribed to me after my doctor discovered that I had an enlarged prostate. After taking Trimeth-Sulfa for about a week, i began to feel extremely intense emotional ups and downs, intense panic attacks, and severe depression including feelings of suicide. It was an absolute roller coaster ride. At the time I sought medical care for my anxiety and depression and was prescribed alphrazolam and Lexapro. When I was first prescribed Trimeth sulfa, i was not told the name of the drug by my doctor, only that it was "a general sulfur antibiotic." I was in college at the time and had to leave because I was so out of my mind. Any information you could give me on the side affects of this drug would be greatly appreciated.

Nik O, Middleton CT.

BACTRIM: 2 January 2004

thank you for posting your bactrim side effects website.
it gave me the information to recognize that i was having an adverse reaction and stop taking bactrim before further damage.
9 days bactrim provided effective relief from bacterial infection, no adverse effects at all until day 10, then:
slight nausea, total lack of appitite
flushed hot red cheeks and ears
heartburn (acid stomach upset)
all adverse symptoms stopped entirely within 12 hours of ceasing bactrim
two days later resumed bactrim one pill
then within 3 hours
tingling hands, face and scalp

BACTRIM: 6 January 2004

Until I found this website, I didn't realize that I too was/am having an allergic reaction to this medication. After being prescribed this sulfa drug 1 tab twice a day for a bladder infection, within 30 minutes I began itching all over. Of course I thought that this reaction was part of the healing process, fighting off the bad germs or something. My sides and back have developed small dark brown spots that are slightly raised. I am a medium browned skinned black woman and my face and skin has a weird grayish tint to it now and still I itch. Normally, I have excellent health, a CBC was done, so I was good to go for the bactrim prescription. Now I feel fatigued, lack of appetite, my eyes are glazed, somewhat depressed, thoughts of suicide crossed my mind for the first time, while at work. Maybe these symptoms will diminish as time goes on. I was shocked to read about so many tragedies and needless horrors in reactions to this drug. I continued to take thise medication until today after finding your website. I pray these side effects will go away, in time. My thinking is that my reactions are not so severe that they won't be reversed, in time.

Thank you a thousand times for your website. It has been a Godsend. From now on, I will ALWAYS do the homework on any medication whenever possible.

D F, Atlanta, GA


Dear Brian,

I am sitting here all numb after reading all these emails. My son was given this prescription of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole last week in Mexico for his acne...and for some unknown reason..he did not begin taking this right away...I had to do the research first. And somehow found your site...Thank God for your research and your website...otherwise, he would have started this regimen of taking these pills once a day..and they gave him boxes of this stuff to last for months...under different names..Ectaprim F, Bactrim F and Septrin F. He is only 17 years old and has suffered with acne since he was 12..however, it is not that severe any longer..with good hygiene it is getting better.

You can't imagine my gratitude to you for your information. Seems like you may have saved my son from much suffering.

Grateful to you,

Ninfa S.

BACTRIM: 11 January 2004

I, too, was taking the generic of Bactrim for a 14 day course. I stopped after 7 days because of the horrific taste in my mouth and smell in my nose. It was like I had just smoked a cigarette and it was with me 24 hours a day. I don't smoke, no one in my family smokes. I quit smoking 14 years ago, but this brought it all right back.

I originally went to your site to see if anyone else listed this as a side effect and was quite surprised to find they hadn't. And was then almost embarrassed to write about this since my problems are miniscule in comparison.

Good luck to all that take this drug. I know I won't ever again. I am now on Spectracef. I think I will Google it and see if there's something I should know...

Tami S.

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