Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim: Package Insert and Label Information

SULFAMETHOXAZOLE AND TRIMETHOPRIM- sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim tablet
Aphena Pharma Solutions — Tennessee, LLC

Rx only

To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim tablets and other antibacterial drugs, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim tablets should be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by bacteria.


Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim is a synthetic antibacterial combination product available in DS (double strength) tablets, each containing 800 mg sulfamethoxazole and 160 mg trimethoprim; in tablets, each containing 400 mg sulfamethoxazole and 80 mg trimethoprim for oral administration.

Sulfamethoxazole is N 1 -(5-methyl-3-isoxazolyl)sulfanilamide; the molecular formula is C10 H11 N3 O3 S. It is an almost white, odorless, tasteless compound with a molecular weight of 253.28 and the following structural formula:

This is an image of the structural formula of Sulfamethoxazole.
(click image for full-size original)

Trimethoprim is 2,4-diamino-5-(3,4,5-trimethoxybenzyl)pyrimidine; the molecular formula is C14 H18 N4 O3 . It is a white to light yellow, odorless, bitter compound with a molecular weight of 290.32 and the following structural formula:

This is an image of the structural formula of Trimethoprim.

Inactive ingredients: Docusate sodium 85%, magnesium stearate, povidone, pregelatinized starch, sodium benzoate 15%, and sodium starch glycolate.


Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim is rapidly absorbed following oral administration. Both sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim exist in the blood as unbound, protein-bound and metabolized forms; sulfamethoxazole also exists as the conjugated form.

Sulfamethoxazole is metabolized in humans to at least 5 metabolites: the N4 -acetyl-, N4 -hydroxy-, 5-methylhydroxy-, N4 -acetyl-5-methylhydroxy- sulfamethoxazole metabolites, and an N-glucuronide conjugate. The formulation of N4 -hydroxy metabolite is mediated via CYP2C9.

Trimethoprim is metabolized in vitro to 11 different metabolites, of which, five are glutathione adducts and six are oxidative metabolites, including the major metabolites, 1- and 3-oxides and the 3- and 4-hydroxy derivatives.

The free forms of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim are considered to be the therapeutically active forms.

In vitro studies suggest that trimethoprim is a substrate of P-glycoprotein, OCT1 and OCT2, and that sulfamethoxazole is not a substrate of P-glycoprotein.

Approximately 70% of sulfamethoxazole and 44% of trimethoprim are bound to plasma proteins. The presence of 10 mg percent sulfamethoxazole in plasma decreases the protein binding of trimethoprim by an insignificant degree; trimethoprim does not influence the protein binding of sulfamethoxazole.

Peak blood levels for the individual components occur 1 to 4 hours after oral administration. The mean serum half-lives of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim are 10 and 8 to 10 hours, respectively. However, patients with severely impaired renal function exhibit an increase in the half-lives of both components, requiring dosage regimen adjustment (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION section). Detectable amounts of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim are present in the blood 24 hours after drug administration. During administration of 800 mg sulfamethoxazole and 160 mg trimethoprim b.i.d., the mean steady-state plasma concentration of trimethoprim was 1.72 mcg/mL. The steady-state mean plasma levels of free and total sulfamethoxazole were 57.4 mcg/mL and 68.0 mcg/mL, respectively. These steady-state levels were achieved after three days of drug administration.1 Excretion of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim is primarily by the kidneys through both glomerular filtration and tubular secretion. Urine concentrations of both sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim are considerably higher than are the concentrations in the blood. The average percentage of the dose recovered in urine from 0 to 72 hours after a single oral dose of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim is 84.5% for total sulfonamide and 66.8% for free trimethoprim. Thirty percent of the total sulfonamide is excreted as free sulfamethoxazole, with the remaining as N4 -acetylated metabolite.2 When administered together as sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, neither sulfamethoxazole nor trimethoprim affects the urinary excretion pattern of the other.

Both sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim distribute to sputum, vaginal fluid and middle ear fluid; trimethoprim also distributes to bronchial secretion, and both pass the placental barrier and are excreted in human milk.

Geriatric Pharmacokinetics:

The pharmacokinetics of sulfamethoxazole 800 mg and trimethoprim 160 mg were studied in 6 geriatric subjects (mean age: 78.6 years) and 6 young healthy subjects (mean age: 29.3 years) using a non-US approved formulation. Pharmacokinetic values for sulfamethoxazole in geriatric subjects were similar to those observed in young adult subjects. The mean renal clearance of trimethoprim was significantly lower in geriatric subjects compared with young adult subjects (19 mL/h/kg vs. 55 mL/h/kg). However, after normalizing by body weight, the apparent total body clearance of trimethoprim was on average 19% lower in geriatric subjects compared with young adult subjects.3


Sulfamethoxazole inhibits bacterial synthesis of dihydrofolic acid by competing with para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA). Trimethoprim blocks the production of tetrahydrofolic acid from dihydrofolic acid by binding to and reversibly inhibiting the required enzyme, dihydrofolate reductase. Thus, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim blocks two consecutive steps in the biosynthesis of nucleic acids and proteins essential to many bacteria.

In vitro studies have shown that bacterial resistance develops more slowly with both sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim in combination than with either sulfamethoxazole or trimethoprim alone.

Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim have been shown to be active against most strains of the following microorganisms, both in vitro and in clinical infections as described in the INDICATIONS AND USAGE section.

Aerobic gram-positive microorganisms:

Streptococcus pneumoniae

Aerobic gram-negative microorganisms:

Escherichia coli (including susceptible enterotoxigenic strains implicated in traveler’s diarrhea)
Klebsiella species
Enterobacter species
Haemophilus influenzae
Morganella morganii
Proteus mirabilis
Proteus vulgaris
Shigella flexneri
Shigella sonnei

Other Organisms:

Pneumocystis jiroveci

Susceptibility Testing Methods

When available, the clinical microbiology laboratory should provide the results of in vitro susceptibility test results for antimicrobial drug products used in resident hospitals to the physician as periodic reports that describe the susceptibility profile of nosocomial and community-acquired pathogens. These reports should aid the physician in selecting an antibacterial drug for treatment.

Dilution Techniques:
Quantitative methods are used to determine antimicrobial minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs). These MICs provide estimates of the susceptibility of bacteria to antimicrobial compounds. The MICs should be determined using a standardized test method (broth or agar) 4, 15. The MIC values should be interpreted according to the criteria provided in Table 1.

Diffusion Techniques: Quantitative methods that require measurement of zone diameters can also provide reproducible estimates of the susceptibility of bacteria to antimicrobial compounds. The zone size provides an estimate of the susceptibility of bacteria to antimicrobial compounds. The zone size should be determined using a standardized test method 14, 15. This procedure uses paper disks impregnated with 1.25/23.75 μg of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole to test the susceptibility of microorganisms to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. The disc diffusion interpretive criteria are provided in Table 1.

Table 1: Susceptibility Test Interpretive Criteria for Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole

Minimal Inhibitory Concentration

Zone Diameter
Bacteria (mcg/mL) (mm)
Enterobacteriaceae ≤ 2/38 - ≥ 4/76 ≥ 16 11 – 15 ≤ 10
Haemophilus influenzae ≤ 0.5/9.5 1/19 – 2/38 ≥ 4/76 ≥ 16 11 – 15 ≤ 10
Streptococcus pneumoniae ≤ 0.5/9.5 1/19 – 2/38 ≥ 4/76 ≥ 19 16 – 18 ≤ 15

A report of Susceptible indicates that the antimicrobial is likely to inhibit growth of the pathogen if the antimicrobial compound reaches the concentrations at the site of infection necessary to inhibit growth of the pathogen. A report of Intermediate indicates that the result should be considered equivocal, and, if the microorganism is not fully susceptible to alternative, clinically feasible drugs, the test should be repeated. This category implies possible clinical applicability in body sites where the drug is physiologically concentrated or in situations where high dosage of drug can be used. This category also provides a buffer zone that prevents small uncontrolled technical factors from causing major discrepancies in interpretation. A report of Resistant indicates that the antimicrobial is not likely to inhibit growth of the pathogen if the antimicrobial compound reaches the concentrations usually achievable at the infection site; other therapy should be selected.

Quality Control

Standardized susceptibility test procedures require the use of laboratory controls to monitor and ensure the accuracy and precision of supplies and reagents used in the assay and the techniques of the individuals performing the test 4, 14, 15. Standard trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole powder should provide the following range of MIC values noted in Table 2. For the diffusion technique using the 1.25/23.75 μg trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole disk the criteria in Table 2 should be achieved.

Table 2: Acceptable Quality Control Ranges for Susceptibility Testing for Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole
QC Strain Minimal Inhibitory Zone Diameter
Concentration (mm)
Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 ≤ 0.5/9.5 23–29
Haemophilus influenzae ATCC 49247 0.03/0.59 – 0.25/4.75 24–32
Streptococcus pneumoniae ATCC 49619 0.12/2.4 – 1/19 20–28


To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim tablets and other antibacterial drugs, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim tablets should be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by susceptible bacteria. When culture and susceptibility information are available, they should be considered in selecting or modifying antibacterial therapy. In the absence of such data, local epidemiology and susceptibility patterns may contribute to empiric selection of therapy.

Urinary Tract Infections: For the treatment of urinary tract infections due to susceptible strains of the following organisms: Escherichia coli , Klebsiella species, Enterobacter species, Morganella morganii , Proteus mirabilis and Proteus vulgaris. It is recommended that initial episodes of uncomplicated urinary tract infections be treated with a single effective antibacterial agent rather than the combination.

Acute Otitis Media: For the treatment of acute otitis media in pediatric patients due to susceptible strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae or Haemophilus influenzae when in the judgment of the physician sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim offers some advantage over the use of other antimicrobial agents. To date, there are limited data on the safety of repeated use of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim in pediatric patients under two years of age. Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim is not indicated for prophylactic or prolonged administration in otitis media at any age.

Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Bronchitis in Adults: For the treatment of acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis due to susceptible strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae or Haemophilus influenzae when a physician deems that sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim could offer some advantage over the use of a single antimicrobial agent.

Shigellosis: For the treatment of enteritis caused by susceptible strains of Shigella flexneri and Shigella sonnei when antibacterial therapy is indicated.

Pneumocystis jiroveci Pneumonia: For the treatment of documented Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia and for prophylaxis against P. jiroveci pneumonia in individuals who are immunosuppressed and considered to be at an increased risk of developing P. jiroveci pneumonia.

Traveler’s Diarrhea in Adults: For the treatment of traveler’s diarrhea due to susceptible strains of enterotoxigenic E. coli.


Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to trimethoprim or sulfonamides, in patients with a history of drug-induced immune thrombocytopenia with use of trimethoprim and/or sulfonamides, and in patients with documented megaloblastic anemia due to folate deficiency.

Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim is contraindicated in pediatric patients less than 2 months of age. Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim is also contraindicated in patients with marked hepatic damage or with severe renal insufficiency when renal function status cannot be monitored.


Embryofetal Toxicity
Some epidemiologic studies suggest that exposure to sulfamethoxazole/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/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/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 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 Coadministration of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and leucovorin during treatment of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia should be avoided.

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the US Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual package label entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the US National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

As the leading independent provider of trustworthy medication information, we source our database directly from the FDA's central repository of drug labels and package inserts under the Structured Product Labeling standard. Our material is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified health professional.

Terms of Use | Copyright © 2020. All Rights Reserved.