Sulfamethoxazole, an anti-bacterial sulfonamide, works by restricting the production of dihydrofolic acid that helps bacteria to survive. FDA approved Sulfamethoxazole in 1961.The bacteria have developed some resistance to it, and that's the main reason why it's almost obsolete and isn't used as an antibiotic anymore. It is, however, still in use as with trimethoprim (Sulfamethoxazole-temp) as combination product Septra or Bactrim. It proves effective in many conditions. Keep reading to learn more about it and the way you can use it safely.

What Is Sulfamethoxazole-TMP Used For?

Both trimethoprim and Sulfamethoxazole are antibiotics used to eliminate bacterial infections. Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Sulfamethoxazole-TMP or simply SMZ-TMP) are combination antibiotics used specifically to treat urinary tract infections, ear infections, shigellosis, traveler's diarrhea, bronchitis, and penumocytis jiroveci pneumonia.

The combination of both these antibiotics works quite well, but there are certain side effects of Sulfamethoxazole-TMP, which is the reason why it is a good idea to avoid using it if you have a kidney/liver disease or have a history of low blood platelets. Be sure to take it under the supervision of your healthcare provider to avoid dealing with any severe side effects of Sulfamethoxazole-TMP.

How to Use Sulfamethoxazole-TMP Safely?

It is important that you don't exceed the recommended dose and use it as per the directions on the prescription label. Don't forget to shake it well if you're using it in the liquid form and then measure a dose. Use a specially designed dose-measuring medicine cup or spoon to ensure you're not taking in smaller or larger amounts than recommended.

When using Sulfamethoxazole-TMP, it is of immense importance to complete the course. It is so easy to think your infection has cleared and you can stop taking your medication. It's usually not the case because your symptoms improve even when the infection is still present. So, complete your course and never skip your doses or the bacteria will develop resistance against these drugs. Remember, Sulfamethoxazole-TMP is not effective against flu, cold, or other viral infections.

Be sure to drink plenty of water when using this medication to avoid any side effects ofSulfamethoxazole-TMP. Water will prevent kidney stones from developing. Go see your doctor if you notice any strange symptoms while using your medication. Also, remember that diarrhea is always a common side effect of using any antibiotic medicine, and it sometimes is a sign of new infections, especially if your diarrhea is watery or bloody. Stop using Sulfamethoxazole and don't use anti-diarrhea medicine without your doctor's advice.

It is also important to avoid any exposure to sunlight – at least as much as you can. The use of this medication will make you sunburn easily. You should limit your exposure to the sun and consider wearing protective clothing – be sure to use sunscreen when you go out in the sun.

What Should I Know Before Using Sulfamethoxazole-TMP?

You should avoid using Sulfamethoxazole-TMP if:

  • You're allergic to sulfonamide medicine or the ingredients in Sulfamethoxazole
  • You have experienced your blood platelet levels depleting after the use of sulfa medicines
  • You have anemia or any other kidney problem
  • You're already taking methenamine or dofetilide

In addition, you should not give Sulfamethoxazole-TMP to children under the age of 2. You should call your doctor immediately if you have any of the abovementioned conditions and have already started using Sulfamethoxazole-TMP.

You should also bear in mind that some medical conditions may interact with this medicine. Be sure to inform your doctor about any health conditions you may already have before using Sulfamethoxazole-TMP.

  • Don't use it if you're planning to become pregnant or already pregnant
  • Avoid it if you're taking non- prescription or prescription medicine, dietary supplements or any herbal medicines
  • Don't use it if you already have some blood problems, kidney problems, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, thyroid problems, or HIV infection
  • Avoid it if you have high blood potassium levels

Interactions with Other Medications

It is worth pointing out that just like some health conditions, Sulfamethoxazole-TMP can interact with other medications as well. It is therefore of immense importance to inform your doctor if you're using any of the following medicines:

  • ACE inhibitors, diuretics and indomethacin
  • Anticoagulants
  • Dofetilide
  • Methenamine
  • Pyrimethamine
  • Amantadine, methotrexate, and oral medicine for diabetes
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Cyclosporine

In addition to these, there are many other medications that may interact with Sulfamethoxazole-TMP, so it is important to tell your doctor about any medicines you currently take.

What Are the Side Effects of Sulfamethoxazole-TMP?

Just like other medicines, you may experience certain side effects of Sulfamethoxazole-TMP. You may sometimes notice signs of an allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing, hives, and swelling of lips and face after taking Sulfamethoxazole-TMP. You may also experience some other side effects as well. For instance:

  • Bloody or watery diarrhea
  • Swollen glands, chills, flu symptoms and body aches
  • Severe cough
  • Lightheadedness, pale skin, trouble concentrating and rapid heart rate
  • Bruising with unusual bleeding and red/purple spots under your skin
  • Numbness and tingling with slow heart rate and muscle weakness
  • Upper stomach pain, nausea, and loss of appetite
  • Urinating less than normal with dark color urine and clay-colored stools
  • Convulsions and hallucinations
  • Low blood sugar resulting in weakness, hunger, headache, irritability, confusion, etc.
  • Severe skin reaction with sore throat, fever and swelling on your tongue and face
  • Burning sensation in eyes, skin pain, and blisters

You may sometimes experience fewer side effects that may not be that serious as well. This may include swollen tongue, vomiting, ringing in your ear, dizziness, and spinning sensation.

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