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Questions & Answers
Side Effects & Adverse Reactions
Some epidemiologic studies suggest that exposure to sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim during pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk of congenital malformations, particularly neural tube defects, cardiovascular malformations, urinary tract defects, oral clefts, and club foot. If sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be advised of the potential hazards to the fetus.
Hypersensitivity and Other Fatal Reactions
Fatalities associated with the administration of sulfonamides, although rare, have occurred due to severe reactions, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, fulminant hepatic necrosis, agranulocytosis, aplastic anemia and other blood dyscrasias.
Sulfonamides, including sulfonamide-containing products such as sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, should be discontinued at the first appearance of skin rash or any sign of adverse reaction. In rare instances, a skin rash may be followed by a more severe reaction, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, hepatic necrosis and serious blood disorders (see PRECAUTIONS). Clinical signs, such as rash, sore throat, fever, arthralgia, pallor, purpura or jaundice may be early indications of serious reactions.
Cough, shortness of breath and pulmonary infiltrates are hypersensitivity reactions of the respiratory tract that have been reported in association with sulfonamide treatment.
Sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim-induced thrombocytopenia may be an immune-mediated disorder. Severe cases of thrombocytopenia that are fatal or life threatening have been reported. Thrombocytopenia usually resolves within a week upon discontinuation of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim.
Streptococcal Infections and Rheumatic Fever
The sulfonamides should not be used for treatment of group A β-hemolytic streptococcal infections. In an established infection, they will not eradicate the streptococcus and, therefore, will not prevent sequelae such as rheumatic fever.
Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea
Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD) has been reported with use of nearly all antibacterial agents, including sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, and may range in severity from mild diarrhea to fatal colitis. Treatment with antibacterial agents alters the normal flora of the colon leading to overgrowth of C. difficile.
C. difficile produces toxins A and B which contribute to the development of CDAD. Hypertoxin producing strains of C. difficile cause increased morbidity and mortality, as these infections can be refractory to antimicrobial therapy and may require colectomy. CDAD must be considered in all patients who present with diarrhea following antibiotic use. Careful medical history is necessary since CDAD has been reported to occur over two months after the administration of antibacterial agents.
If CDAD is suspected or confirmed, ongoing antibiotic use not directed against C. difficile may need to be discontinued. Appropriate fluid and electrolyte management, protein supplementation, antibiotic treatment of C. difficile and surgical evaluation should be instituted as clinically indicated.
Adjunctive treatment with Leucovorin for Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia
Treatment failure and excess mortality were observed when trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was used concomitantly with leucovorin for the treatment of HIV positive patients with Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia in a randomized placebo controlled trial.6 Co-administration of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and leucovorin during treatment of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia should be avoided.
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FDA Safety Alerts
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FDA Labeling Changes
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To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim tablets, USP and other antibacterial drugs, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim tablets, USP should be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by susceptible bacteria. When culture and susceptibility information are available, they should be considered in selecting or modifying antibacterial therapy. In the absence of such data, local epidemiology and susceptibility patterns may contribute to the empiric selection of therapy.
Urinary Tract Infections: For the treatment of urinary tract infections due to susceptible strains of the following organisms: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella species, Enterobacter species, Morganella morganii, Proteus mirabilis and Proteus vulgaris. It is recommended that initial episodes of uncomplicated urinary tract infections be treated with a single effective antibacterial agent rather than the combination.
Acute Otitis Media: For the treatment of acute otitis media in pediatric patients due to susceptible strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae or Haemophilus influenzae when in the judgment of the physician sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim offers some advantage over the use of other antimicrobial agents. To date, there are limited data on the safety of repeated use of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim in pediatric patients under two years of age. Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim is not indicated for prophylactic or prolonged administration in otitis media at any age.
Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Bronchitis in Adults: For the treatment of acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis due to susceptible strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae or Haemophilus influenzae when a physician deems that sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim could offer some advantage over the use of a single antimicrobial agent.
Shigellosis: For the treatment of enteritis caused by susceptible strains of Shigella flexneri and Shigella sonnei when antibacterial therapy is indicated.
Pneumocystis jiroveci Pneumonia: For the treatment of documented Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia and for prophylaxis against P. jiroveci pneumonia in individuals who are immunosuppressed and considered to be at an increased risk of developing P.jiroveci pneumonia.
Traveler’s Diarrhea in Adults: For the treatment of traveler’s diarrhea due to susceptible strains of enterotoxigenic E. coli.
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Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim is a synthetic antibacterial combination product available in DS (double strength) tablets, each containing 800 mg sulfamethoxazole, USP and 160 mg trimethoprim, USP; in tablets, each containing 400 mg sulfamethoxazole, USP and 80 mg trimethoprim, USP for oral administration.
Sulfamethoxazole, USP is N1-(5-methyl-3-isoxazolyl) sulfanilamide; the molecular formula is C10H11N3O3S. It is almost white, odorless, tasteless compound with a molecular weight of 253.28 and the following structural formula:
Trimethoprim, USP is 2,4-diamino-5-(3,4,5-trimethoxybenzyl) pyrimidine; the molecular formula is C14H18N4O3. It is a white to light yellow, odorless, bitter compound with a molecular weight of 290.3. It has the following structural formula:
Inactive Ingredients: Magnesium stearate, povidone, pregelatinized starch and sodium starch glycolate.