My watch list  


Systematic (IUPAC) name
CAS number 738-70-5
ATC code J01EA01
PubChem 5578
DrugBank APRD00103
Chemical data
Formula C14H18N4O3 
Mol. mass 290.32 g/mol
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 90–100%
Metabolism hepatic
Half life 8–10 hours
Excretion renal 50–60%
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.

B3(AU) C(US)

Legal status

Prescription Only (S4)(AU) POM(UK)

Routes Oral

Trimethoprim (INN) (pronounced /traɪˈmɛθəprɪm/) is a bacteriostatic antibiotic mainly used in the prophylaxis and treatment of urinary tract infections. It belongs to the class of chemotherapeutic agents known as dihydrofolate reductase inhibitors. Trimethoprim was formerly marketed by GlaxoWellcome under trade names including Proloprim, Monotrim and Triprim; but these trade names have been licensed to various generic pharmaceutical manufacturers. In clinical use it is often abbreviated TRI or TMP; its common laboratory abbreviation is W.

Mechanism of action

  Trimethoprim acts by interfering with the action of bacterial dihydrofolate reductase, inhibiting synthesis of tetrahydrofolic acid. Tetrahydrofolic acid is an essential precursor in the de novo synthesis of the DNA nucleotide thymidine. Bacteria are unable to take up folic acid from the environment (i.e. the infection host) and are thus dependent on their own de novo synthesis. Inhibition of the enzyme starves the bacteria of nucleotides necessary for DNA replication.


Trimethoprim was commonly used in combination with sulfamethoxazole, a sulfonamide antibiotic, which inhibits an earlier step in the folate synthesis pathway (see diagram above). This combination, also known as co-trimoxazole, TMP-sulfa, or TMP-SMX, results in an in vitro synergistic antibacterial effect by inhibiting successive steps in folate synthesis, this claimed benefit was not seen in general clinical use.[1] [2] Its use has been declining due to reports of sulfamethoxazole bone marrow toxicity, resistance and lack greater efficacy in treating common urine and chest infections,[3][4][5][6] and side effects of antibacterial sulfonamides. As a consequence, the use of co-trimoxazole was restricted in 1995.[7]

Clinical indications

Trimethoprim, used as monotherapy, is indicated for the prophylaxis and treatment of urinary tract infections (cystitis). Co-trimoxazole, with its greater efficacy against a limited number of bacteria, remains indicated for some infections; for example, it is used as prophylaxis in patients at risk for Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (e.g. AIDS patients and those with some hematological malignancies) and as therapy in Whipple's disease.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Trimethoprim". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE