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What Is Sulfamethoxazole?

Nausea and vomiting are possible side effects of sulfamethoxazole.
A possible side effect of using sulfamethoxazole is hypoglycemia.
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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2014
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Sulfamethoxazole is a prescription antibiotic used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. This medication was once used alone, but it is now typically prescribed along with other antibiotics due to many types of bacteria becoming resistant to the drug. The most common side effects of sulfamethoxazole are nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. In most cases, these side effects are mild and do not cause severe problems. In rare cases, severe side effects, such as an allergic reaction or organ damage, may occur as a result of using this medication.

Sulfamethoxazole is sometimes used along with other medications to treat malaria, a potentially fatal disease caused by a parasite. This medication may also be used to treat certain types of bacterial infections. Some types of infections that may be treated with sulfamethoxazole include an eye infection known as conjunctivitis, urinary tract infections, or sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia.

Digestive disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite are the most common side effects of sulfamethoxazole. These side effects tend to mild, although a doctor should be notified if they become bothersome. Taking the medication with food may help to prevent some of these side effects.

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Jaundice is a medical condition involving the liver and may sometimes develop as a result of taking sulfamethoxazole. Jaundice causes the skin and the white portion of the eyes to have a yellow-colored tint. If these symptoms occur, a doctor should be notified so that liver function can be tested. There have been some reported cases of liver damage or liver failure associated with the use of this medication.

Low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia, may occur when using sulfamethoxazole. Possible symptoms include intense feelings of hunger, weakness, and heart palpitations. If eating something containing sugar does not alleviate this symptom, a doctor should be consulted, especially if the patient has diabetes or a family history of diabetes.

Some patients may develop a severe allergic reaction to sulfamethoxazole. Although this is uncommon, it is considered to be a medical emergency, and the patient should receive immediate medical care. Possible signs of an allergic reaction include the sudden development of a rash or hives. Swelling of the face, throat, and tongue may develop, leading to breathing difficulties. Patients who experience this type of reaction will likely be hospitalized for a few days to make sure there are no serious or life-threatening complications.

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