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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/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 BACTRIM, 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 trimethoprimsulfamethoxazole and leucovorin during treatment of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia should be avoided.
Development of drug resistant bacteria
Prescribing Bactrim (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.
BACTRIM 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.
Cases of hypoglycemia in non-diabetic patients treated with BACTRIM are seen rarely, usually occurring after a few days of therapy. Patients with renal dysfunction, liver disease, malnutrition or those receiving high doses of BACTRIM are particularly at risk.
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 BACTRIM in the same manner as non-AIDS patients. The incidence of side effects, particularly rash, fever, leukopenia and elevated aminotransferase (transaminase) values, with BACTRIM therapy in AIDS patients who are being treated for Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia has been reported to be greatly increased compared with the incidence normally associated with the use of BACTRIM in non-AIDS patients. The incidence of hyperkalemia appears to be increased in AIDS patients receiving BACTRIM. Adverse effects are generally less severe in patients receiving BACTRIM for prophylaxis. A history of mild intolerance to BACTRIM 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 BACTRIM should be reevaluated (see WARNINGS).
Co-administration of BACTRIM and leucovorin should be avoided with Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (see WARNINGS).
High dosage of trimethoprim, as used in patients with Pneumocystis 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.
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.
Complete blood counts should be done frequently in patients receiving BACTRIM; if a significant reduction in the count of any formed blood element is noted, BACTRIM should be discontinued. Urinalyses with careful microscopic examination and renal function tests should be performed during therapy, particularly for those patients with impaired renal function.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility:
Long-term studies in animals to evaluate carcinogenic potential have not been conducted with BACTRIM.
Bacterial mutagenic studies have not been performed with sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim in combination. Trimethoprim was demonstrated to be nonmutagenic in the Ames assay. No chromosomal damage was observed in human leukocytes cultured in vitro with sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim alone or in combination; the concentrations used exceeded blood levels of these compounds following therapy with sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. Observations of leukocytes obtained from patients treated with sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim revealed no chromosomal abnormalities.
Impairment of Fertility
No adverse effects on fertility or general reproductive performance were observed in rats given oral dosages as high as 350 mg/kg/day sulfamethoxazole plus 70 mg/kg/day trimethoprim.
Teratogenic Effects: Pregnancy Category C. In rats, oral doses of 533 mg/kg or 200 mg/kg produced teratologic effects manifested mainly as cleft palates.
The highest dose which did not cause cleft palates in rats was 512 mg/kg sulfamethoxazole or 192 mg/kg trimethoprim when administered separately. In two studies in rats, no teratology was observed when 512 mg/kg of sulfamethoxazole was used in combination with 128 mg/kg of trimethoprim. In one study, however, cleft palates were observed in one litter out of 9 when 355 mg/kg of sulfamethoxazole was used in combination with 88 mg/kg of trimethoprim.
In some rabbit studies, an overall increase in fetal loss (dead and resorbed and malformed conceptuses) was associated with doses of trimethoprim 6 times the human therapeutic dose.
While there are no large, well-controlled studies on the use of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim in pregnant women, Brumfitt and Pursell,10 in a retrospective study, reported the outcome of 186 pregnancies during which the mother received either placebo or sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. The incidence of congenital abnormalities was 4.5% (3 of 66) in those who received placebo and 3.3% (4 of 120) in those receiving sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. There were no abnormalities in the 10 children whose mothers received the drug during the first trimester. In a separate survey, Brumfitt and Pursell also found no congenital abnormalities in 35 children whose mothers had received oral sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim at the time of conception or shortly thereafter.
Nonteratogenic Effects: See CONTRAINDICATIONS section.
See CONTRAINDICATIONS section.
Clinical studies of BACTRIM did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects.
There may be an increased risk of severe adverse reactions in elderly patients, particularly when complicating conditions exist, e.g., impaired kidney and/or liver function, possible folate deficiency, or concomitant use of other drugs. Severe skin reactions, generalized bone marrow suppression (see WARNINGS and ADVERSE REACTIONS sections), a specific decrease in platelets (with or without purpura), and hyperkalemia are the most frequently reported severe adverse reactions in elderly patients. In those concurrently receiving certain diuretics, primarily thiazides, an increased incidence of thrombocytopenia with purpura has been reported. Increased digoxin blood levels can occur with concomitant BACTRIM therapy, especially in elderly patients. Serum digoxin levels should be monitored. Hematological changes indicative of folic acid deficiency may occur in elderly patients. These effects are reversible by folinic acid therapy. Appropriate dosage adjustments should be made for patients with impaired kidney function and duration of use should be as short as possible to minimize risks of undesired reactions (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION section). The trimethoprim component of BACTRIM may cause hyperkalemia when administered to patients with underlying disorders of potassium metabolism, with renal insufficiency or when given concomitantly with drugs known to induce hyperkalemia, such as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors. Close monitoring of serum potassium is warranted in these patients. Discontinuation of BACTRIM treatment is recommended to help lower potassium serum levels. Bactrim Tablets contain 1.8 mg sodium (0.08 mEq) of sodium per tablet. Bactrim DS Tablets contain 3.6 mg (0.16 mEq) of sodium per tablet.
Pharmacokinetics parameters for sulfamethoxazole were similar for geriatric subjects and younger adult subjects. The mean maximum serum trimethoprim concentration was higher and mean renal clearance of trimethoprim was lower in geriatric subjects compared with younger subjects (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY: Geriatric Pharmacokinetics).
6. Safrin S, Lee BL, Sande MA. Adjunctive folinic acid with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole for Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in AIDS patients is associated with an increased risk of therapeutic failure and death. J Infect Dis. 1994 Oct;170(4):912-7.
8. Marinella Mark A. 1999. Trimethoprim-induced hyperkalemia: An analysis of reported cases. Gerontol. 45:209–212.
9. Margassery, S. and B. Bastani. 2002. Life threatening hyperkalemia and acidosis secondary to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole treatment. J. Nephrol. 14:410–414.
10. Brumfitt W, Pursell R. Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole in the Treatment of Bacteriuria in Women. J Infect Dis. Nov 1973; 128 (Suppl):S657–S663.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/8/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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