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Trimethoprim is an antibiotic that treats urinary tract infections (UTI’s). It is usually a short course lasting three days but can be prescribed for 5 and 7 days if required depending on the severity. It is taken twice a day, one in the morning and evening. It is recommended that the course should be completed even if symptoms have subsided, to prevent a re-occurrence
- 3-Day Antibiotic Course
- Relief From Cystitis And Urinary Tract Infections
- Active Ingredient: Trimethoprim
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What Is Trimethoprim?
Trimethoprim is an antibiotic that is mainly used to treat and prevent urinary tract infections (UTI). The drug is in the antifolate antibiotic class of medications and typically comes in 100 mg or 200 mg tablets. You can also find trimethoprim as a liquid.
Trimethoprim is an antibiotic for bacterial infections and is not effective in treating viral infections such as colds or flu. It is an effective treatment for UTIs such as bladder infections and cystitis, but in some cases is used to treat other infections like acne and chest infections.
The drug is effective in stopping the growth of bacterial infections and easing symptoms. Trimethoprim can also be prescribed for people with frequent urinary tract infections, taken each day to help to prevent recurring infections.
How Does Trimethoprim Work?
Trimethoprim works by killing bacteria, preventing them from making folic acid, which is necessary for bacteria’s survival. By stopping its growth, trimethoprim will eventually kill the bacteria. Because trimethoprim prevents the creation of folic acid, it can cause low folic acid levels in some people.
Trimethoprim and Alcohol
You can drink alcohol while taking trimethoprim, but it is better not to drink too much. That’s because drinking alcohol while taking trimethoprim could intensify potential side effects such as headaches. Aim to stay within the national guideline of limiting your alcohol consumption to 14 units a week.
Can You Take Trimethoprim When Pregnant?
You can take trimethoprim during pregnancy, but you shouldn’t do so during the first 12 weeks. This is due to the fact the drug may affect your folic acid levels, which are important during the early stages of a baby’s development. In some cases, your doctor may judge that the benefit of taking trimethoprim when pregnant outweighs the risk. For these cases – in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant - your doctor may also recommend that you take a high dose of folic acid each day.
You can take trimethoprim while breastfeeding if your baby is healthy. Because only a small amount of trimethoprim passes into the breast milk, there is a very small chance that your baby will have any side effects. If you need to take trimethoprim for more than a few weeks, ask your pharmacist or doctor about breastfeeding while taking the medication.
If you can’t take trimethoprim for a UTI while pregnant or breastfeeding, an alternative such as amoxicillin or cephalexin may be recommended.
Trimethoprim vs Nitrofurantoin
Like trimethoprim, nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic which is used to treat UTIs that are caused by bacteria. But while trimethoprim can also be used to treat kidney and ear infections, nitrofurantoin is not typically used for these purposes.
Nitrofurantoin shares some of the more common potential side effects with trimethoprim – these include nausea, sickness, headache and mild diarrhoea. Another potential side effect caused by nitrofurantoin is flatulence. Like trimethoprim, nitrofurantoin is usually taken over three to seven days to treat a UTI. Rather than the 100 mg and 200 mg tablets in which trimethoprim is available, nitrofurantoin comes in 50 mg or 100 mg tablets or capsules. Nitrofurantoin dosage for a UTI is normally one slow-release tablet, twice per day, or one 50 mg tablet, four times per day.
A study compared the effectiveness of trimethoprim and nitrofurantoin as a treatment of acute UTIs in young women – the research found that both medicines were effective and well tolerated.
Trimethoprim vs Macrobid
Macrobid is a brand name for the generic nitrofurantoin in the UK. Like trimethoprim, it is an antibiotic which is used to treat bacterial UTIs. However, unlike trimethoprim, Macrobid is not usually used to treat ear infections or kidney infections - as it is less effective in penetrating kidney tissues. Trimethoprim and Macrobid share some common potential side effects, such as nausea, sickness, headache and mild diarrhoea. While trimethoprim comes in 100 mg and 200 mg tablets, nitrofurantoin is available in 50 mg or 100 mg tablets or capsules. The standard dose of Macrobid for a UTI is one slow-release tablet, twice per day, or one 50 mg tablet, four times per day.
Online reviewers have reported that trimethoprim was effective in stopping their UTIs when they stuck to the prescribed dosage and completed the full course. Some users said that they had experienced a UTI for several years before taking trimethoprim, but taking trimethoprim daily prevented further infections. While many users reported no side effects, among the side effects which were cited are headaches, dizziness and nausea.
Can You Buy Trimethoprim Over the Counter?
Trimethoprim can only be bought in the UK with a prescription. You are not able to purchase trimethoprim over the counter. A doctor will need to assess your suitability for the medication before you can be issued a prescription for trimethoprim.
Why not save time by buying trimethoprim online at Cloud Pharmacy? After your consultation for trimethoprim – which will include a short questionnaire – we can issue your prescription. Your medication will then be sent directly to your address with our next-day delivery service.
Precautions to be aware of whilst taking Trimethoprim include:
- Consult your doctor before taking when breastfeeding
- If you have a mineral imbalance
- If you are diabetic
- If you have an impaired or hepatic function
- If you have a folate deficiency
- If you have liver or kidney disease
- If you have a blood disorder
- You should not use Trimethoprim if you are pregnant
- Stop taking the medication if you have symptoms of an allergic reaction
Before taking any prescription medication, you must read the leaflet fully and complete the consultation including your medical history and current medication you are taking.
Trimethoprim may interact with dofetilide. These medications are not typically taken together. Trimethoprim may interact with certain laboratory tests – including kidney function tests – and could cause false test results.
For an exhaustive list of trimethoprim interactions, please visit the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence website and consult with your doctor before taking the medication.
Trimethoprim comes in 100 mg or 200 mg tablets. The normal dose of trimethoprim for treating UTIs is 200 mg, twice per day. To prevent infections, the typical recommended dosage is 100 mg, once per day, and to treat cystitis that develops after sex, a single dose of 100 mg is taken within two hours of intercourse. For acne, the normal dosage is 300 mg, twice per day, and this may be gradually reduced.
Dosage will vary according to your condition, age, and kidney function. Children, older people and people with kidney problems will typically be recommended lower doses.
How Long Does It Take for Trimethoprim to Work?
Taken to treat UTIs and other bacterial infections, trimethoprim will usually make you feel better in a few days. A three to seven-day course is usually required for normal UTIs, whereas for UTIs which are complicated or severe, 14 days may be needed. People taking trimethoprim to prevent UTIs may need a six-month course. Men with prostatitis (a UTI that involves the swelling of the prostate gland), would typically have a four to six week treatment course.
The length of your course will also depend on several factors, including:
- The severity of your infection
- If you have other health issues
- Your age
- Your sex
You must keep taking trimethoprim until the end of your course, even if you begin to feel better. This will prevent the infection from coming back.
How to Take Trimethoprim
You can take trimethoprim tablets with or without food. Swallow the tablets whole, with water. Don’t chew, break or crush the tablets. If you find trimethoprim tablets hard to swallow, you may prefer to take trimethoprim liquid.
As a treatment for cystitis, trimethoprim should be taken at bedtime. Taken as a treatment for cystitis that comes on following sex, a single dose should be had within two hours of intercourse.
If you forget to take a dose, take it when you remember unless it is almost time for your next dose. If this is the case, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the normal time. Don’t take two doses to make up for a missed dose.
Trimethoprim Side Effects
Many people will feel no side effects from trimethoprim. Among the most common potential side effects – experienced by more than one in 100 people – are:
- A mild rash
These side effects are typically mild and will go away when you stop taking trimethoprim.
Serious side effects from trimethoprim are rare and happen in less than one in 1,000 people. Among the serious potential side effects are:
- Diarrhoea that contains blood or mucus
- Severe diarrhoea
- Unexplained bleeding
- Unexplained bruising
- A high temperature
- General sickness
If you experience any of these side effects after taking trimethoprim, contact a medical professional or call 999.
Patient Information Leaflet
Trimethoprim Patient Information Leaflet
For more information on trimethoprim tablets, take a look at the patient information leaflet below:
What is Cystitis?
Cystitis is the medical term given to inflammation of the bladder. It is commonly caused by a bacterial infection and known as a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
What are the symptoms of Cystitis?
The signs and symptoms of Cystitis include:
- Persistent urge to pass urine
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Discomfort in pelvic area
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Passing of cloudy or strong-smelling urine
Is Cystitis common?
Women get cystitis more often than men because their anus (back passage) is closer to their urethra, and their urethra is much shorter, which means bacteria may be able to get into the bladder more easily.
The urethra is longer in men than women, this makes it harder for bacteria to travel up to the bladder. Men can also get cystitis but this is significantly less common and they must visit their GP to rule out other serious conditions such as urinary obstruction, enlarged prostate or tumours.
How can I prevent cystitis?
If you suffer from cystitis regularly, there are measures you can apply to stop it reoccurring. These included but are not limited to:
- Stay Hydrated: drink plenty of water
- Urinate Frequently: if you feel the urge, do not delay passing urine.
- Wipe from front to back: this is in reference to wiping after a bowel movement. It prevents the bacteria from faeces spreading to the vaginal area.
- Use Non-Perfumed products: use perfume free or plain feminine products in the genital area.
- Pass Urine as soon as possible after sexual intercourse: drinking lots of water helps flush bacteria
- Gently wash the skin around genital area: do this daily but take care to not use harsh soaps or wash too vigorously in these delicate areas.
Is Cystitis contagious?
Cystitis is a bacterial infection, however it cannot be transmitted like the common cold. Cystitis is not contagious; you do not need to worry about passing it on to others.
What is the treatment for Cystitis?
The treatment for cystitis depends on it's severity.
For mild infections, you can make the urine less acidic by avoiding carbonated drinks and drinking lots of water. There are also simple sachets such as Cystopurin, Canesten Oasis, Potassium Citrate mixtures.
What is the best antibiotic for Cystitis?
For any bacterial infection, the best antibiotic is dependent on what bacteria is causing the infection. The most common type of bacteria for uncomplicated urinary tract infections is E-Coli.
In the UK, NICE determine guidelines for prescribing using an evidence-based approach.
The antibiotics which are given to treat this bacteria are Trimethoprim or Nitrofurantoin. If your symptoms do not improve after completing a course of these antibiotics, it is imperative that you see your GP to have a urine analysis carried out.
Can you buy treatment over the counter for Cystitis?
There are sachets containing Sodium Bicarbonate or Potassium Citrate which are available over the counter. These alleviate the symptoms however they simply reduce the acidity of urine and their effectiveness lacks sufficient evidence.
Can I take Trimethoprim when pregnant?
No, Trimethoprim is not safe for use in pregnancy.
Do I need to take Trimethoprim with food?
There are no specific requirements for Trimethoprim to be taken with or without food.
Is it safe to buy Trimethoprim online?
It is safe to buy treatments from a regulated and UK registered pharmacy. Cloud Pharmacy is registered and based in the UK. It holds all of the necessary certifications in order to proivde safe and responsible prescription treatments online. The medicines are from the same suppliers as your local high street pharmacies. Our online prescribers thoroughly review your consultation to ensure you are given the correct care.
Does cranberry juice treat Cystitis?
It is said that cranberry containing products including juice stop harmful bacteria binding to the wall of the bladder. There is insufficient evidence surrounding this however some studies have shown it to be effective.
As a healthcare provider in the UK, we support the government's stance that cranberry juice does not treat the symptoms of cystitis.
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