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Trimethoprim: Drug Description

Trimethoprim is an antibiotic prescribed for the treatment of different types of bacterial infections. The drug is also effective at preventing Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in patients who have a weakened immune system.

Unlike many other antibiotics, Trimethoprim contains two active components, which makes it effective against many antibiotic-resistant infections. If you are looking for an effective treatment for urinary tract infections, bronchitis, ear infection, or any other infection caused by bacteria – use Trimethoprim.

Indications

Trimethoprim is most commonly prescribed to treat the following conditions:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bronchitis (both acute and chronic)
  • Ear infections
  • Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia
  • Shigellosis
  • Traveler’s diarrhea

Trimethoprim is also recommended for patients with weakened immune system for the prevention of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.

Trimethoprim is approved for the treatment of bacterial infections only. Among the bacteria that Trimethoprim is effective against are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenza, E.coli, Klebsiella species, Morganella morganii, Shigella flexneri, and Proteus mirabilis. The medication will not work for the above conditions if they are caused by viruses.

Trimethoprim can be used in children older than two months of age for the treatment of ear infections, shigellosis, urinary tract infections, and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.

Off-label uses of Trimethoprim include the treatment of acne and prevention of different types of infections.

Mechanism of Action

Trimethoprim contains two active components — sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. Both these medications are antibiotics. Sulfamethoxazole belongs to sulfonamides, also known as "sulfa" drugs. Trimethoprim does not belong to any specific group of medications. Both trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole fight bacteria by preventing them from producing folic acid, which is essential for producing proteins and DNA. This makes the bacteria eventually die.

Combining two antibiotics in one medication makes generic Trimethoprim more effective and decreases the chance of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Trimethoprim does not affect human cells, because humans get folic acid from food.

How Supplied

Trimethoprim comes in a tablet form and is available in one strength: Trimethoprim 480 mg. Each tablet contains 400 mg of sulfamethoxazole and 80 of mg trimethoprim.

Dosage and Administration

Trimethoprim tablets should be taken orally, usually two times daily. However, it can be taken four times a day for certain uses. Trimethoprim can be taken either on a full stomach or without food. If Trimethoprim bothers your stomach, take it with food.

Factors that can affect your Trimethoprim dosage include the type of infection you have, your age, weight, and other diseases you have. Here are the usual recommended doses of Trimethoprim:

  • The recommended dosage of Trimethoprim used to treat urinary tract infections is 480 mg taken every 12 hours for 10-14 days.
  • When treating traveler’s diarrhea or shigellosis, the recommended dose is two Trimethoprim pills taken twice a day (every 12 hours) for 5 days.
  • People with bronchitis are usually prescribed two Trimethoprim tablets every 12 hours for 14 days.
  • When using Trimethoprim for Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia treatment, the dosage is based on the patient’s weight, and taken every 6 hours for 14-21 days.
  • The usual Trimethoprim dose to prevent Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia is one Trimethoprim tablet a day.
  • Trimethoprim dosage for children is determined by their weight. The recommended dose of Trimethoprim for children with acute ear infection or urinary tract infection is 40 mg/kg of sulfamethoxazole and 8 mg/kg of trimethoprim daily, taken in two divided doses every 12 hours for 10 days.

Before taking Trimethoprim, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, because you may need lower Trimethoprim dosages. Do not adjust your dosage of Trimethoprim unless your doctor has instructed you to do so.

Trimethoprim works best when the amount of its active ingredients is kept at an even level in your body. Therefore, take Trimethoprim at evenly spaced intervals. It is important to take Trimethoprim for the full course of treatment prescribed by your doctor. Continue taking Trimethoprim even if your symptoms improve. Stopping Trimethoprim too early may cause further antibiotic-resistant infection.