Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim (Page 3 of 7)
Some epidemiologic studies suggest that exposure to sulfamethoxazole and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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.
Development of Drug Resistant Bacteria
Prescribing sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim tablets in the absence of a proven or strongly suspected bacterial infection or a prophylactic indication is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim should be given with caution to patients with impaired renal or hepatic function, to those with possible folate deficiency (e.g., the elderly, chronic alcoholics, patients receiving anticonvulsant therapy, patients with malabsorption syndrome, and patients in malnutrition states) and to those with severe allergies or bronchial asthma.
Hematological changes indicative of folic acid deficiency may occur in elderly patients or in patients with preexisting folic acid deficiency or kidney failure. These effects are reversible by folinic acid therapy.
In glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficient individuals, hemolysis may occur. This reaction is frequently dose-related (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Cases of hypoglycemia in non-diabetic patients treated with sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim are seen rarely, usually occurring after a few days of therapy. Patients with renal dysfunction, liver disease, malnutrition or those receiving high doses of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim are particularly at risk.
Trimethoprim has been noted to impair phenylalanine metabolism, but this is of no significance in phenylketonuric patients on appropriate dietary restriction.
Porphyria and Hypothyroidism
As with all drugs containing sulfonamides, caution is advisable in patients with porphyria or thyroid dysfunction.
Use in the Treatment of and Prophylaxis for Pneumocystis jiroveci Pneumonia in Patients with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
AIDS patients may not tolerate or respond to sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim in the same manner as non-AIDS patients. The incidence of side effects, particularly rash, fever, leukopenia and elevated aminotransferase (transaminase) values, with sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim therapy in AIDS patients who are being treated for
P. jiroveci pneumonia has been reported to be greatly increased compared with the incidence normally associated with the use of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim in non-AIDS patients. Adverse effects are generally less severe in patients receiving sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim for prophylaxis. A history of mild intolerance to sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim in AIDS patients does not appear to predict intolerance of subsequent secondary prophylaxis.
7 However, if a patient develops skin rash or any sign of adverse reaction, therapy with sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim should be reevaluated (see
Co-administration of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim and leucovorin should be avoided with P. jiroveci pneumonia (see WARNINGS).
High dosage of trimethoprim, as used in patients with P. jiroveci pneumonia, induces a progressive but reversible increase of serum potassium concentrations in a substantial number of patients. Even treatment with recommended doses may cause hyperkalemia when trimethoprim is administered to patients with underlying disorders of potassium metabolism, with renal insufficiency, or if drugs known to induce hyperkalemia are given concomitantly. Close monitoring of serum potassium is warranted in these patients.
Severe and symptomatic hyponatremia can occur in patients receiving sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, particularly for the treatment of P. jiroveci pneumonia. Evaluation for hyponatremia and appropriate correction is necessary in symptomatic patients to prevent life-threatening complications. During treatment, adequate fluid intake and urinary output should be ensured to prevent crystalluria. Patients who are “slow acetylators” may be more prone to idiosyncratic reactions to sulfonamides.
Information for Patients
Patients should be counseled that antibacterial drugs including sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim tablets should only be used to treat bacterial infections. They do not treat viral infections (e.g., the common cold). When sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim tablets are prescribed to treat a bacterial infection, patients should be told that although it is common to feel better early in the course of therapy, the medication should be taken exactly as directed. Skipping doses or not completing the full course of therapy may (1) decrease the effectiveness of the immediate treatment and (2) increase the likelihood that bacteria will develop resistance, and will not be treatable by sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim tablets or other antibacterial drugs in the future.
Patients should be instructed to maintain an adequate fluid intake in order to prevent crystalluria and stone formation. Diarrhea is a common problem caused by antibiotics which usually ends when the antibiotic is discontinued. Sometimes after starting treatment with antibiotics, patients can develop watery and bloody stools (with or without stomach cramps and fever) even as late as two or more months after having taken the last dose of the antibiotic. If this occurs, patients should contact their physician as soon as possible.
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