Antibiotics Home > Septra

Septra is an antibiotic used for treating various types of bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections and ear infections. It is also approved to prevent Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in people with a weakened immune system. Septra, which is available by prescription, comes in tablet form and is typically taken twice a day. Common side effects of the drug include nausea, vomiting, and rashes.

What Is Septra?

Septra® (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) is a prescription antibiotic approved to treat a variety of different infections, including urinary tract infections and ear infections. In addition to treating infections, it is also approved for the prevention of a certain type of pneumonia (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia) in people with a weakened immune system, such as people with HIV or AIDS.
(Click Septra Uses for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Brand-name Septra is manufactured by King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Generic versions are made by various different manufacturers.

How Does It Work?

Septra contains two different antibiotics, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. Trimethoprim does not belong to a specific class of medications. Sulfamethoxazole belongs to a group of drugs known as sulfonamides ("sulfa" drugs). These two antibiotics work in different but similar ways. Essentially, both sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim work by inhibiting the production of folic acid in bacteria, although they work in different stages of folic acid production. Folic acid is important for making proteins and DNA. Because humans obtain folic acid from the diet (and bacteria cannot), human cells are less affected by Septra.
Combining sulfamethoxazole with trimethoprim increases the effectiveness and decreases the chance of antibiotic resistance (the development of bacteria with the ability to resist antibiotics).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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