Generic Name: Co-trimoxazole
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Septrin infusion, tablets, forte tablets and suspensions all contain the active ingredients sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim,
which together are known as co-trimoxazole. Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim are both antibiotics that are indicated to
treat infections caindicated by bacteria.
Sulfamethoxazole (previously spelt sulphamethoxazole in the UK) is a type of antibiotic called a sulphonamide.
Trimethoprim is related to the sulphonamides. These two antibiotics work in synergy together against certain types of
In order to grow and multiply in numbers, bacterial cells need to produce genetic material (DNA). To produce DNA they
require folic acid (folate). However, bacterial cells can't take up folic acid supplied in the diet like human cells can.
Instead, they synthesise it themselves.
Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim act on two different stages in the synthesis of bacterial folate, preventing the
bacteria from producing folate. Without folate, the bacteria cannot produce DNA and so are unable to increase in numbers.
Co-trimoxazole therefore stops the spread of infection. The remaining bacteria are killed by the immune system or eventually
To make sure the bacteria causing an infection are susceptible to co-trimoxazole, your doctor may take a tissue sample.