Generic Name: sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (SUL fa meth OX a zole and trye METH oh prim)
Brand Names: Bactrim, Septra, SMZ-TMP
What is Septra?
Septra contains a combination of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim are are both antibiotics that treat different types of infection caused by bacteria.
Septra is used to treat ear infections, urinary tract infections, bronchitis, traveler's diarrhea, shigellosis, and Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia.
Septra may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use Septra if you have severe liver or kidney disease, anemia caused by folic acid deficiency, or a history of low blood platelets caused by taking trimethoprim or any sulfa drug.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Septra if you are allergic to sulfamethoxazole or trimethoprim, or if you have:
severe liver or kidney disease;
anemia (low red blood cells) caused by folic acid deficiency; or
a history of low blood platelets caused by taking trimethoprim or any sulfa drug.
To make sure Septra is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
kidney or liver disease;
a folic acid deficiency;
asthma or severe allergies;
a thyroid disorder;
HIV or AIDS;
porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system);
a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD deficiency); or
if you are malnourished.
FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use Septra if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)
Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not give Septra to a child younger than 2 months old.
Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults, especially those who take other medications such as digoxin or certain diuretics.
How should I take Septra?
Take Septra exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Measure the liquid with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Use Septra for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Septra will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.
Drink plenty of fluids to prevent kidney stones while you are taking trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole.
Septra can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using Septra.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid?
Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, stop taking this medication and call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. This medication can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
Septra side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Septra: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, sore throat, new or worsening cough;
cold or flu symptoms, swollen gums, painful mouth sores, pain when swallowing, skin sores;
low levels of sodium in the body--headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady;
liver problems--upper stomach pain, tired feeling, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Common Septra side effects may include:
nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite; or
mild itching or rash.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Septra?
Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with Septra, especially:
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with Septra, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about Septra (sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about Septra.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Septra only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
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