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Readers Respond: Dealing With Sulfa Drug Allergy

Responses: 335


Updated May 12, 2009

yuck and ouch

i was put on antibiotic for a boil/cyst on my back on 2/21/11. woke up two days ago with Huge lips ( i have full lips but not mega lips) , large red lump in my mouth, lymph nodes swollen/hurt and my chin swollen. i noticed red welts on my hands, wrist. when i see the triage doctor she wants to know if i have been involved in oral sex ? hell NO ! when i tell her about the boil from 2 weeks ago, and how the ZM or no name antibiotic the doctor put me on , my new doctor says its Sulfur Reaction. she tells me to stop taking this medicine and drink plent y of water for the next 3 days. well today is the 2nd day but i am completely covered in those red marks, my lips have gone down, my face looks normal and lymp nodes not hurting anymore. why am i covered in HIVES and hands all red ? how do you find out before taking these medicines that you are ALLergic ? i didn't find out i was allergic to Iodine until i had surgery a few years ago. i only had a few welts when i saw the doctor.
—Guest marietta

Bactrim allergy looks initially like flu

I was given Bactrim for a sinus infection, trying to avoid the common yeast infection that amoxicilin gives me. 7 days into the Bactrim course, I felt the onset of flu-like symptoms, exhaustion, red eyes, extreme chills, aches, and fever ranging from 100-105. Went to the doctor and was diagnosed with flu. Fever was barely touched by Advil or Tylenol. The next day the hives broke out and I went back to the doctor and the Bactrim allergy was determined. I believe, having read this blog, the "flu" I had was the initial stages of the actrim reaction. The hive have been bad for 2 days after having Benedryl and prednisone, and are now brusing and turning purple. And ACHING on top of the itching. I hope to feel human again soon because nothing feels good except laying down or sitting with my legs up... tough to work... or be a Mom. Hope this helps somebody out there!
—Guest Tara

Vaginal itching and Burning

After trying several antibiotics for a sinus infection;my doctor prescribed Bactrim. The second day of taking them I started having a burning sensation and itching in my vaginal area. I called my doctor who recommended that i drink more water and prescribed diflucan. he also told me to use an over the counter itch cream with benadryl.Within 2 more days i was in so much pain that i followed up with my gynocologist. It was so painful to uirinate and i had literally scratched myself raw. After appling itch cream to the raw skin it causeschemical burns. Thank goodness my gynocologist diagnosed it properly and sent me directly to the emergency room. I recieved a catheter and intraveneous steriods for 7 days. I have taken sulfur antiobiotics in the past and never had a reaction.So I was suprisedwhen this was the diagnosis. Doctors need to really expain to patients about the possibilty and the different symptoms of allergic reactions so people can be informed. reactions..Fortunate
—Guest Karin

sulfa allergic reaction

If you find that you may have an allergy to sulfa based drugs be very careful. Sulfa allergies don't always leave you just a little sicker. In severe cases such as mine, you can end up suffering the effects of Stevens Johnson Syndrome or SJS. SJS can also be accompanied by another disorder called Toxic Epidermal Necrosys, or TEN. These are extremely dangerous disorders that can scar, handicap or kill an individual. I suffered from a sinus infection and was prescribed the antibiotic Bactrim. Almost three weeks went by before I was sent to see a burn specialist via ambulance from the er in my hometown in Arizona to Las Vegas. There I was examined extensively. I was diagnosed with full body second degree burns from TEN, Jaundice, SJS and lost almost fifty pounds from excessive diarrhea. Do not take sulfa allergies lightly.
—Guest joe

Severe Reaction to Sulfa

Had a UTI. Prescribed Bactrim for treatment from an urgent care facility. I told the physician I was allergic to Amox, Penn,Zith..so I assumed he'd know not to prescribe me anything that would cause a similar reaction. Broke out in hives right after finishing the course. Followed up at same facility and they only prescribed Benedryl...BENEDRYL WILL ONLY RELIEVE THE SYMPTOMS..ASK FOR A STEROID FOR COMPLETE RELIEF IF YOU ARE ABLE TO TAKE IT. Followed up with reg doc after Benedryl did not work. Had severe rash ALL OVER, joint pain and swelling, chills, fever. Still not walking properly..hand and shoulder and ankles still in pain. Just praying the side affects clear up soon...I feel slightly weird, almost disabled...I'm angry that I feel this bad. Steriods are working though.

sulfa, cepha,

I was given cepha something after contracting MRSA. Under my breasts was a large spreading red rash. I went to ER. I was in ER for a week and a day; my whole body was red from this rash. Now I am peeling. I have two sores at the back of my legs. Healing slowly. I have no way to lie on my side or back. It's horrible and I am in so much pain!
—Guest Mary B

Sulfa ( Bacitracin) by IV

I had a total knee replacement. I was given 50000 U of Bacitracin twice by IV. In the hospital I had huge hives on my arms and stomach. They treated me with Benadryl while in the hospital. At home the hives would come and go. So I would take benadryl for a couple of days. My joints where painful. And then one morning the hives took over. They were so large that the rash covered my stomach, buttocks, arms and legs. The hives became one huge hive covering my torso. After three phone calls to my primary, I went to the ER. Then straight to an allergist. (Thanks to the ER doctor). It's three weeks later and the hives are fading. But each day I have a new hive somewhere on my body. The allergist prescribed Clobetasol Propionate ointment twice daily and 2 benadryl at bedtime. I have never been able to drink wine. I am also on Celebrex and Lasix. So I believe my body was overdosed with sulfa. I am going to wear an ID braclet so that I never-never receive a sulfa antibiotic again.
—Guest Barbara

Sulfa Allergy

I was taking Bactrim for 8 days before I had my reaction. Temp started at 101.2 then climbed into the 103's. Rash started and got really nervous so went to the ER and there it was they said I was allergic to it. Glad the fever is gone but now can't wait for this itchy rash to go away.
—Guest Staci


I had a horrible reaction that had me at the ER for a rapid heart rate,high blood pressure and muscle weakness. I was on it for 4 days before I had a issue. I just wanted to die. I am on benadryl and advil. It has been 4 days and still having problems. My kidneys are killing me along with a headache. I am going back to the Dr.s tomorrow.

Damn you Sulfa

I was taking sulfa because of a kidney infection. Took the medicine for 8 days before breaking out in hives. I also got chills, fevers and would sweat alot. Also had fevers of 102F. On top of this allergic reaction, I also have a kidney stone im trying pass. I just started a new job too and my boss probably thinks im a pansy. This reaction has caused me to miss work which upsets me.
—Guest Anthony

Shedding inside and out

I had strep throat so they prescribed me some type of sulfa drug. I quickly got a yeast infection and a UTI. I didn't know I was allergic so I still took them. I then started getting an insane rash all over my body, my skin flaking off, red, itchy, horrible feeling. I also had a fever and was puking still with strep. They gave me shots of steroids in my butt. Then I realized that my tongue was deteriorating. I had small crater like holes in my tongue that bled all the time and limited what I could read and drink. My lips tounge and eyes were swollen. After seeing 3 doctors, I finally saw a skin doctor that told me it was an allergic reaction to whatever I was taking... SULFA DRUGS. Horrible experience was sick like that for about 3 weeks, I felt like I was dying.
—Guest Aek93

Sulfa and topamax

Apparently topamax is sulfa based and Stanford has discovered that about 50% of people with a sulfa allergy cam not tolerate taking topamax and I am one of those people. I ended up in the hospital for twelve days exhibiting every adverse reaction listed for topamax including the ones as serious side effects and symptoms of overdose but no one could really figure out what was wrong with me. After I was discharged I ended up in a third ER a few days later with exacerbated symptoms and again, no one could find out what was wrong with me but they calmed me down with 2mg of dilaudid. After I wet home I somehow thought to read the insert and realized I had been having an adverse reaction the entire time and started to wean myself, but a single pill was still too much and decided cold turkey was the best way to go to spare my health. I had never experienced a siezure before taking this drug and they're pretty scary, I hope I will never have one again.
—Guest Guest

This is AWFUL

8 days ago i was prescribed sulfa drugs for a UTI. three days later i had a horrible chiils, muscle aches and a fever that lasted five days. After the fever, i broke out in a rash and here I am covered in hot rashes and I wanna die. doc prescribed steriods... and i stopped taking the sulfa drugs. It still sucks though
—Guest Jules

Immune System Shut Down

Within an hour of taking bactrim, i had burst blood vessels in my eyes. I went right back to the doctor and was told i obviously sucked to hard on a straw and sent me home. By the next day I had a temperature of 105, rash all over my body and blood pressure of 80/40. My doctor the told me to go to the ER where they determined that my white blood cell count was down to nearly nothing! I was quaranteed - if I had caught a cold I could have died. I was in the hospital for over a week. I obviously stopped the meds and was put on steriods to work on the reaction.
—Guest Amanda

Itchy, hot and eyes hurt!

I was prescribed generic Bactrim for a uti, and took the pills for 2 weeks, twice a day. I immediately went to Spain to study after taking my first tablet (great timing for a UTI) and was having horrible stomach cramps. At first I thought it was the change in diet, and it very well could have been, but it could have been the antibiotics too. Then, on the 14th day, after finishing my second to last pill, I noticed I had a rash over my whole body after a shower. I finished the last pill, and now the rash is unbearable. I get hot and sweaty really easily, my eyes hurt to move, im irritable, and really gassy. I had to go to the medical clinic here and they said I´m allergic to sulfa, and they prescribed me Loratadina STADA ( the spanish name) to take for 10 days, and i should feel better in the next few days. They also gave me a cortisone shot to ease the itch and redness. Also, taking antibiotics for uti will put you at risk for a yeast infection... what a horrible horrible medication!
—Guest Jess

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Dealing With Sulfa Drug Allergy

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