Septrin - Septra - Trimeth-Sulfa: mail to this website on side-effects (8)

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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  APO-SULFATRIM: 12 February 2004

Hi. My husband was prescribed APO-SULFATRIM DS800/160MG on Jan 22/04 for a possible urinary infection. A few hours after taking just one dose, he developed chills, sore achy joints, very bloodshot eyes, and a severe headache. Virtually incapacitated by what we thought was the onset of the flu, this normally healthy man was bed-ridden. Approximately 24 hours after taking that first dose, he requested that I take him to the hospital. The doctor immediately put him on IV fluids and tried to treat the main source of his discomfort - the blinding headache. They weren't really sure what was causing the problem. A few hours later, after administering a IV painkiller, he was well enough to go home.

The doctor scheduled a CAT scan as a follow-up and also suggested not taking any more of Sulfatrim until feeling better, then trying again. This is what he did. A few hours after taking the pill the same symptoms appeared. So we could now conclude that this was the source. Needless to say, he did not, and will not take this drug again. He still has a residual headache from time to time (very rare for him before). After reading the fatal reactions that others have had, we were thankful that it wasn't worse.


Lucky R and Kim F, Ontario, Canada


BACTRIM: 19 February 2004

I just got home from a 3 day hospital stay with my husband. He saw a vascular doctor, dermatologist and infectious disease doctor. They are saying he had a reaction to Bactrim. His toes turned blue and his penis has pus and skin like burns on it. Just wonder if you have seen these symptoms before. The doctor said it was a good thing he sought help or he could have died. He has been through tons of blood tests, cultures, sonograms, etc. to try and figure out what this was. He took Bactrim only for a sinus infection and a day later, his toes were blood red and very painful. A few days, his penis became involved. What an ordeal!

Susan C.

BACTRIM DS: 24 February 2004

I took my first dose of a generic of Bactrim DS on last Sunday evening (to treat a bladder infection). I was to take one pill twice a day for five days. For the first few doses, things seemed fine. Then, last Wednesday, I developed a fever. It broke by the next morning, when I took my next dose. By that evening (Thursday evening), my fever returned and reached 103 degrees, accompanied by chills, fatigue, and intense muscle pain throughout my back. I went to the emergency room, where I was checked for everything but allergies. After a few hours, the fever broke and the doctors insisted that I was healthy, that the fever must have been caused by a virus. I went home and took another pill (the ninth of the ten I had been prescribed), and in the middle of the night the fever and chills returned with a vengeance. In the morning, I decided that I was suspicious of the antibiotics and refused to take my final pill. I turned to the Internet to see if I could find any information on Bactrim. I was stunned to see that signs of allergy included "drug fever." I didn't need to check a medical dictionary to see what that meant -- I was sure that I had lived through it.

The fever subsided by Friday night, but was replaced by a burning rash that covered every part of my body except my hands and my feet. I would not go back to see another doctor about the rash -- I knew the cause, and I was perfectly capable of taking Benadryl. After taking five full doses of Benadryl between Saturday morning and Sunday morning, most of the rash was gone from my torso, though as of now (early Monday evening) the redness remains in my cheeks and nose, and my arms and legs remain covered in red and purple spots.

I am angry to see that my symptoms are relatively mild compared to what could have happened to me. I am angry that the doctor in the emergency room did not recognize an allergy when adverse reactions to Bactrim seem so common. I am angry that the pharmacist did not give me any warnings about side effects. And I am especially angry that this drug is still commonly prescribed, when there seem to be so many reasons to choose other drugs. I will admit that my bladder infection cleared completely -- but the havoc I endured was not worth the cure.

Eureka, Los Angeles, CA

SULFATRIM: 24 February 2004

Hi Mr. Deer,

I am letting you know how it is going with our guinea pig that I wrote to you about. She is coming along fairly well. Although I have not mentioned it to the vet, I have added a .05 % hydrocortisone cream to our guinea pig's treatment, which seems to be making a big difference. I took a shot a trying this because things seemed so awful to not try it.

Although I am not a nurse, I work in a nursing home and have some experience and understanding in how they treat pressure wounds and ulcerative wounds. I have followed the vet's instructions along with picking up some ideas and some better understanding of how to approach treating the wounds. Your website and the links proved to be a helpful resource. Although the vet wouldn't state that the source of the problem was from the Bactrim, he did say he felt more sure of it after several visits.

At this point she is nearly all healed, though will never be the same. She is most likely blind in both eyes and will at the very least need moisturizing drops several times a day. At least blindness won't affect her as much as humans in life style needs. Her skin, ears and those other areas won't be the same and are scarred. She has actually lost part of her actual outer ears, but still seems to hear well. She also has lost toenails that they feel will not grow back.

The rest is not so bad looking and appears normal. Thanks again for all your research, ect. Thanks also for your quick response.

I wish our country had someone like you right now. It seems that the media has sold its soul to "evil incarnate" George W. Bush, and that no one will question him. Not that I am fond of Mr. Blair either, right now, but at least we can find out what is closer to the truth in the USA as well as the world by checking out your media on the web.

God Bless You,

Mary Ellen C, Wallingford, CN

SEPTRA: 25 February 2004

I am taking Septra for an infection of my kidney, my urologist prescribed me the double strenght because I am due to go into surgery tommorow morning and they just found the traces of bacteria in my urine sample. so this is the plan I guess. I have had a hard time with it. upon taking it I noticed nothing notable but about an hour later I began to feel flushed in my face and hot and cold sweats and while in the middle of cooking dinner had the first of Many instances where I just kinda zoned out. I had to stop and think where am I and what am I doing. I had logged on looking for information for sideeffects since my husband is in the military and I have four young children to take care of. I wanted to know what more to expect!

Thank you VERY much for the information you have provided. I had been looking forward to this surgery to aleve the pain but I am VERY temped to stop taking the medication and just postpone the surgery! Thank you for your informative page

K G.

SEPTRA: 26 February 2004

Hi Brian,

I have been taking Septra for a couple of years (on and off) for acne. It seems that other antibiotics do not work to clear my face. However, Septra seems to give me good control. Unfortunately, I have noticed that I have been very anxious around the same periods (weeks, months) when I taking this antibiotic. I have also notice increase hair loss and I am in my mid 20s.

Can you please tell me other antibiotics that work in similar ways to Septra that I can try. I have not had much luck with tetracycline, erythromycin, amoxicillin. Do you think it is likely that the Septra is causing me to be extra nervous and losing hair at an accelerated rate? Thanks. Bless you for your kind work.



TRIMETH/SULFA: 4 March 2004

My 11 year-old niece who lives with me was prescribed this drug for a UTI. I had never heard of this medication and didn't question the doctor. She took ONE pill after dinner and within 1 hour broke out in a terrible rash starting at her feet and making it's way up her leg. I am allergic to sulfur and have has a similar rash to a sulfur based acne wash and so I looked at the prescription more closley. Judging by the name "sulfa", I presumed that it was possible for her to be allergic as well. To make sure my hunches might be right, I went on the internet to see if there was a sulfur component to this antibiotic and found your website. I must say that I am outraged that with such unbelievably severe reactions to this drug, that my doctor gave this to my Rachel. She is at this very moment in the emergency room with her father, because I will not take any chances on this reaction being passed off as a little rash. Thank you for this site and I pray that no one else gets hurt by this drug. I will surely pass on the word. Let's hope Rachel will be ok. Thanks again.


Michele H.

SULFATRIM: 6 March 2004

Dear Brian,

My 4 year old daughter has been taking sulfatrim for 1 year now. We just found out that she can not hear out of her right ear. We think this has something to do with her taking sulfatrim. After reading all the info you have and the e-mails you received we have decided to stop the antibiotic. She was using it to prevent UTI's. We spoke to her pediatrician about his thoughts but that was before we read your sight. We will speak to him again and see what we should do now that she's not taking it. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thank you for doing this research. I hope my daughter's hearing comes back now.

Kim, New Jersey

SEPTRA: 10 March 2004

Thank you so much for your website. I am appalled by the common use of this drug. My Mother is allergic to sulfa drugs and, as I learned over the course of the past 2 weeks, so am I. Was prescribed Septra for UTI. After successfully taking it for several days, I became horribly ill 2 weeks ago. My symptoms were a painful headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, earache, eye burning, and red, itchy skin. After becoming dehydrated from the vomiting, I visited my M.D. who said I had a virus. I resumed the antibiotics when I believed the "virus" had left. Immediately upon resumption of the drug, I became ill with the same symptoms but amplified the second time. I went back to the doctor, was unable to walk, was told I may be allergic to the Septra antibiotic, was given IV fluids and sent home. In total, I have lost 6 days of my life due to this allergy. I realize that this is a small price to pay in comparison to many of the terrifying accounts I've read on your website from other people who've suffered from allergic reactions to this drug. I am so angry. In speaking with a doctor (not my own) about this issue, he warned me that I should never take a drug in the sulfa family which includes the arthritis medication Celebrex. I wanted to share this with the others on this website to, hopefully, prevent further episodes from use of a non-antibiotic medication.

Thank you for giving us a forum to express our fears, concerns, and anger.


Tracey, CA

SEPTRA DS: 10 March 2004


I am a 41 year old professional and mother of 3 in the U.S.

In late 1986 I was treated for chronic urinary tract infections. Each infection the doctor tried a different antibiotic hoping to find the one that would eradicate the 'bug'. I think it was about the third or fourth bout with UTIs when he prescribed Septra DS (Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim double strength) - a 10 day regimen.

At about day 8 I was admitted to the hospital with bruising, petechiae, and a low grade temperature. A blood draw found my platelets to be frighteningly low at 1,000. I was treated with IV steroids over the next few hours and after the laboratory mistakenly reported my new count to be 100,000 I was almost discharged. However, the doctor was suspicious and had the lab check their work. It was still at 1,000 - such a low count the lab had never seen it.

I received platelet transfusions and continued IV steroids over the following several days. My platelet count slowly crept up until it was back to normal. This was attributed to an allergic reaction to the antibiotics. It frightens me to this day what the outcome could have been, and probably should have been had I not been so lucky. I don't know if there have been any lasting effects. I've had occasional heart arythmia problems and lost 6 pregnancies, but who is to say this has anything to do with my experience.


BACTRIM: 12 March 2004

Dear Mr. Deer,

I was reading your articles with regards to the antibiotics and it scares me. I have a father, 76-yr-old, living in Newark, CA. who is very ill at this moment and i do believe that by him using the antibiotic (Bactrim) that led him in this kind of situation.

Melba E.

SEPTRA: 17 March 2004


I came across your site, one, I can honestly say, it gave me flashbacks.....I had my first urinary track infection when I was 9 years old and was told it would just go away, just drink a lot of water. I was given Septra at age 13 for a urinary track infection. For the next 5 years I continued to have reoccurring bouts of infection with an increase of dosage of Septra each time, progressing until I was ingesting 16 pills a day double strength at times, no warnings given to stay out of the sun, drink lots of fluids and have regular blood/urine tests. I was very healthy and athletic so fatigue/weakness, sunburn, skin peeling, loss of weight and so on... was chocked up to "being an active kid" until the fatigue became "not normal" and a blood test revealed extremely low white count, followed by a bone marrow test, followed by urinary track/bladder dilation/scrapping once with results ordering me to continue taking Septra or I'd be on a Kidney machine by the time I was 20, then a couple of years later following another cystocopy that I was to cease taking Septra immediately with no explaination, then blood tests galore followed, ultrasounds, MRIs, x-rays,dental problems, joints problems, skin biopsies, eye/nose problems, memory impairment, countless trips to the chiropractor/physiotherapist's office, removal of the gall bladder and finally a very serious blood clot in the arm and a bout of fluid around the heart occurred and then an oncologist thought to check out my history and low and behold found (bone marrow test some 13 years prior) which confirmed positive test results for Lupus (SLE).

That's my story in a nut-shell......my question is.....Is there any literature out there that indicates whether long term use of Sulfa drugs, even though I don't touch the stuff now, has it caused permanent damage and does it continue to break down the body well after you stop taking it?


SULFAMETH: 1 April 2004

Mr Deer

I am hopeful to get some questions answered after visiting your website. Thank you for any information that could help me.

I have a very long story, but I will make this short. I am 35 and have have had multiple pregnancy losses. After adopting and deciding to not get pregnant again, I became pregnant anyway. We went thru extra care at a High Risk clinic and during this pregnancy I had my normal UTI's that never seem to go away. In the past I have been given Macrobid which never seemed to help so after that didn't work this time they gave me Sulfameth and a daily dose of Macrobid. I had a hard time keeping them down due to my nausea, but it did make the UTI disappear. A couple of weeks later I started having some dizziness. Not long after that I went into labor at 23 weeks and lost the baby(again). A week after I was home from the hospital, I became very dizzy and noticed I was starting to turn yellow. After some confusion as to what was going on I ended up in the hospital for a week and was given a blood transfusion to rebuild my blood count.

It was all very scary and potentially I could have had my spleen removed. But thankfully things worked out and the counts got back to normal after taking steroids. I was told I had a delayed rare reaction to the sulfa meds and to not take them again and I could have a blood disorder that makes my blood cells fight against each other.

That was from Sept-Dec 2003. It is now April 2004 and I am having some additional concerns. I was still having problems with light headedness and shortness of breath and anxiety and some gastrointestinal problems. The hematologist could find nothing wrong on his part so I went back to my physician and he diagnosed me with Disautonomia and gave me Flurocortisone which has helped. My question is have you ever heard of a reaction like mine and are there any long term effects? I keep having some discomfort on my right side and occasional lightheadedness, also my feet are starting to have what feels like hot flashes- they get warm then it goes away. Can this reaction cause Disautonomia? Can there be side effects or damage to my liver or something else that could show up later? (all my tests-blood tests and cardiac tests look fine).


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