Aseptic meningitis, hemolytic anemia, hepatitis, and orthostatic hypotension in a patient treated with trimethoprim--sulfamethoxazole

January 2010
American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy;1/15/2010, Vol. 67 Issue 2, p123
Academic Journal
Case Study
Purpose. The case of a patient who developed aseptic meningitis, hemolytic anemia, hepatitis, and orthostatic hypotension simultaneously during treatment with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is described. Background. A healthy 37-year-old African- American man was receiving treatment with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole double strength. This was the patient's first experience with trimethoprim- sulfamethoxazole, and he was not taking any other medications during the treatment period. He had been taking trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole for approximately eight days when he revisited his family physician, complaining of headaches, dizziness, difficulty with speech, weakness, and itching on the trunk of his body and legs, where a maculopapular rash was noted. Orthostatic hypotension was also noted at that visit, with a standing blood pressure measurement of 95/80 mm Hg. Based on these findings and since the patient had no signs of infection, his physician instructed him to discontinue the drug. The patient was admitted to the emergency department of a local hospital within two days due to ongoing headache, elevated temperature, and nuchal rigidity, symptoms suggestive of meningitis. Because of the presence of hemolysis, the patient underwent testing for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, for which he tested positive. The patient was discharged five days after admission and referred to a hematology clinic for follow-up. The patient has since returned to his routines of daily living and has reported no fatigue or other lingering adverse symptoms. Conclusion. A 37-year-old African- American man with G6PD deficiency developed hemolytic anemia, hepatitis, orthostatic hypotension, and aseptic meningitis simultaneously after using trimethoprim- sulfamethoxazole.


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