Septra or generic Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim combines two drugs that work together to treat urinary tract infections, middle ear infections, bronchitis, and traveler’s diarrhea. Sulfamethoxazole is a sulfonamide medication and Trimethoprim is an antibiotic. The injectible form of Septra is usually administered to treat a very serious form of pneumonia that can occur in those with reduced immune systems. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Sulfamethoxazole on its own is a bacteriostatic drug. This means that it interferes with bacterial growth, but does not kill bacteria. However, when combined with Trimethoprim in Septra, it will kill problem-causing bacteria because the two medications work at different stages to stop the production of folic acid. This joint effort increases the drugs’ effectiveness and decreases the chance of the bacteria developing antibiotic resistance.
When taken as directed, the active ingredients in Septra, also known as Bactrim, work separately as each will interfere with a particular enzyme that plays a major role in the production of folic acid. Folic acid is essential for bacteria so it can carry out the necessary processes in their cells. Without folic acid, bacteria are unable to multiply and grow and Septra will destroy any that already exist.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) involves your kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra because urine is passed through these structures before exiting your body. Women tend to be more susceptible for UTIs because bacteria that live in your colon and around the anus have a shorter distance to travel to reach the bladder. Believe it not, your urine is normally sterile, at least until bacteria have found their way from the urethra and into your urinary tract. You start to feel discomfort and have symptoms of urgently or frequently having to urinate.
Advise your doctor if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast feeding because Septra may be harmful to an unborn or nursing baby. You should use effective birth control to delay becoming pregnant until the infection has been completely cleared up. Discuss other medical conditions or allergies you have with your doctor and list any current OTC or Rx drugs you are taking, including herbal or vitamin supplements. Taking Septra with other meds could alter its efficacy or cause unintended side effects.
It is important to take Septra for the time recommended by your doctor or the bacteria may not all be killed and they could make a comeback. Some people taking Septra have developed kidney stones; usually as a result of other drugs they are taking, so drink plenty of water during your treatment to decrease the risk.