This antibiotic is effective against infections caused by streptococci and staphylococci, however, its use is not recommended against other types of infections.
Cotrimoxazole is a medication that works like an antibiotic. Therefore, this drug is able to fight infections that have a bacterial origin. It is widely accepted and used in the field of medicine.
Chemical synthesis of cotrimoxazole
This compound is formed from the union of two other drugs, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. As a general rule, we try to use a much lower amount of trimetropin than sulfamethoxazole because of its high risk of side effects. That is why it is important to review the medical team when using this type of medication to avoid its toxicity.
However, in low doses these compounds act as effective bactericides when treating bacterial infections. The pharmaceutical industry presents it both in the form of tablets and in liquid formula (for use in pediatrics, in this way children can swallow it better).
How cotrimoxazole works
This medicine prevents bacteria from extracting from the environment certain substances essential for their growth. Therefore, they are not able to synthesize the structures necessary to carry out the reproduction. The result is that the bacteria die without dividing, thus limiting the multiplication of the germ and the infection disappears.
Uses of cotrimoxazole
The administration of this compound is recommended in the treatment of infections caused by staphylococci and streptococci. These are two families of bacteria responsible for diseases such as bronchitis, resistant acne (persists despite being treated with other antibiotics), etc.
It is important to bear in mind that although it belongs to the group of antibiotics, cotrimoxazole is not effective for all bacterial infections and before being prescribed it is necessary to make a culture of sensitivity for the germ in particular.
Side effects of cotrimoxazole
Among the most frequent side effects or adverse effects of this drug we can mention the following:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Headaches or frequent headaches.
- Diarrhea .
- Photosensitivity : it is an allergic reaction to sunlight. It is characteristic that small red pimples appear throughout the surface of skin that has been exposed to the sun.
- Anemia: the patient usually presents general fatigue although he does not perform physical activities that require great effort. This is due to the lower contribution of oxygen to the body.
- Hypoglycaemia or low blood glucose levels.
- Depression, hallucinations and convulsions: side effects that occur less frequently than those mentioned above. They occur in those patients with psychic predisposition or in treatment with psychotropic drugs due to a psychiatric pathology.
Contraindications of cotrimoxazole
The use of this chemical compound must be adapted to the patient in question. Therefore, its use is not recommended in the following circumstances:
- Liver diseases: the liver functions as an important processor during the metabolism of toxic substances. If the patient suffers from a disease that prevents this task (such as liver failure or hepatitis), it is more likely to appear intoxication.
- Kidney diseases: the kidneys function as filters, in this case the blood. In those patients with renal insufficiency it is necessary to take extreme precautions since they are the most vulnerable to poisoning.
- Pregnancy: the effects that it could have on babies throughout their embryonic development have not yet been studied. It is believed that these chemicals could cause some alteration in the baby, both in the womb and being administered in newborns.
- Porphyria : the body presents problems to synthesize the heme group found in the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Red blood cells are the cells responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. For this to be possible, it is necessary that the hemoglobin function correctly.
- Other serious hematological disorders: this term refers to the entire group of pathologies that affect blood cells. Therefore, we include diseases that affect coagulation, white blood cells (white series) and red blood cells (red series).