Sulfamethoxazole - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Sulfamethoxazole: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Sulfamethoxazole?

It is an antibiotic drug from the class of sulfonamides or sulfa drugs. Generally, it is administered via the oral route. This drug has a bacteriostatic mode of action against target bacteria, meaning it inhibits bacterial action by limiting bacterial growth. Folic acid plays a crucial role in the biosynthesis of nucleic acids and proteins required for bacterial division. It interferes with the synthesis of folic acid in the target bacteria, thus ceasing folic acid production and ultimately hampering bacterial multiplication.

What are the uses of this antibiotic?

This antibiotic is generally given along with trimethoprim to have an enhanced synergistic action against bacterial growth. Doctors usually prescribe it to eliminate urinary tract bacterial infections, otitis media (middle ear infection) in children, acute episodes of chronic bronchitis, bacillary dysentery (Shigella-caused enteritis), traveler’s diarrhea (caused by E. coli) and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (very serious pneumonia) prophylaxis or treatment. This medication is not for children below the age of 2 years.

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What are the associated side effects?

Certain side effects occur with Sulfamethoxazole administration. It is not necessary that all the mentioned adverse effects occur. If these effects persist for long or worsen, avail medical attention immediately. The common side effects are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and appetite loss. The serious associated conditions are weakness, blood in urine, sudden and extreme drowsiness, abnormal sweating and blurred vision. The conditions that require immediate medical attention are irregular heart beat, stiffness in neck, seizures, and persistent severe headache.


Frequently Asked Questions about Sulfamethoxazole

1. How long does sulfamethoxazole & trimethoprim stay in your system?

Each drug reaches its peak level within 1 to 4 hours of administering them orally. However, half-life of sulfamethoxazole is 10 hours and trimethoprim is 8 to 10 hours in the blood serum, the drug traces can be found in the urine up to 72 hours of single-dose oral administration.

2. Can I take clindamycin and sulfamethoxazole together?

Although there are no reports of any drug interaction between the two antibiotics on their simultaneous administration, it does not mean that no such interaction prevails. So, one must consult the healthcare expert before consuming such a combination of antibiotics.

3. Can I take sulfamethoxazole with phenazopyridine?

Phenazopyridine is a local painkiller, which is also indicated in urinary tract infections. There are no reports of any drug interaction between the two drugs on their simultaneous administration. It does not mean that no such interaction prevails. So, one must consult the healthcare provider before consuming such a combination of drugs.

4. Is sulfamethoxazole a steroid?

No, it's not a steroid. It belongs to the class of antibiotics (folic acid inhibitors) and is an isoxazole compound. Further, it's a sulfonamide antibiotic with bacteriostatic characteristics.

5. Is sulfamethoxazole good for UTI?

Yes. It's one of the most effective drugs for treating urinary tract bacterial infections. It is orally administrable. Furthermore, it starts its action against bacteria residing in the urinary tract within 1 to 4 hours of administration. Because sulfamethoxazole is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, it can act against a wide variety of bacteria causing urinary tract infections.

6. Is sulfamethoxazole safe while breastfeeding?

Always consult a healthcare provider before taking such medications while you are breastfeeding your baby. It is not necessary to stop breastfeeding while taking this medication. However, it may pass into breast milk in small traces, but it's not a matter of serious concern unless the baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation or if the baby is suffering from certain conditions like G6PD deficiency.

7. Why take trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole together?

Both of these antibiotics belong to different groups of antibiotics. But the activity of this combination is way higher than that of their individual effect. This is because of their enhanced synergistic action on bacterial folic acid synthesis. Therefore, there is inhibition of bacterial multiplication and growth up to a large extent.

8. Is sulfamethoxazole a good antibiotic?

Yes, it is a strong antibiotic. It is a broad-spectrum drug having effectiveness against a wide range of bacteria. It is usually indicated to eliminate urinary tract bacterial infections, middle ear infections, bronchitis, bacillary dysentery, traveler’s diarrhea, and pneumonia prophylaxis or treatment.

9. How does sulfamethoxazole make you feel?

It may bring you diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and appetite loss. The rare and serious associated conditions are weakness, blood in urine, sudden & extreme drowsiness, abnormal sweating and blurred vision. The conditions requiring immediate medical attention are irregular heartbeat, stiffness in the neck, seizures, and persistent severe headache.

10. Can pregnant women take Sulfamethoxazole?

It should be avoided during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. This is because it can produce an antifolate effect, causing certain birth defects like neural tube defects.

11. Can I consume alcohol with Sulfamethoxazole?

No. Taking alcohol with this antibiotic is not at all advised. This is because it may result in certain side effects like nausea, vomiting, tingling sensation, fast heart beat, unpleasant feeling of warmth and skin redness. While consuming it, one must avoid certain common cold medications and mouthwashes also, as they may contain alcohol.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.