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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2012 Mar;67(3):633-7. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkr501. Epub 2011 Nov 29.

Susceptibility of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim and their combination over a 12 year period in Taiwan.

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Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.



This study was designed to determine the susceptibility of clinical isolates of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and non-MDR Mycobacterium tuberculosis to sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole over a 12 year period in Taiwan.


We examined a total of 117 clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis collected from Southern Taiwan, 116 from 1995 to 2006 and an extensively drug-resistant (XDR) isolate in 2009. These included 28 isolates susceptible to all four first-line agents, 52 MDR isolates and 36 isolates with a mixed combination of drug resistance patterns other than MDR and 1 XDR isolate.


Sulfamethoxazole inhibited 80% growth of all 117 isolates regardless of their susceptibility to the first-line agents at an MIC(90) of 9.5 mg/L. The concentration required to inhibit 99% growth was 38 mg/L. There were no significant changes in the MIC(50) or MIC(90) of sulfamethoxazole over a 12 year period. All 117 isolates were resistant to trimethoprim at >8 mg/L. The combination of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole at a ratio of 1:19 had no additive or synergistic effects.


Sulfamethoxazole inhibited the growth of clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis at achievable concentrations in plasma after oral administration. Susceptibility to sulfamethoxazole remained constant over a 12 year period. Trimethoprim was inactive against M. tuberculosis and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole provided no additional activity. Although the current and prior studies demonstrate that sulfamethoxazole is active against M. tuberculosis the search needs to continue for more active, lipid-soluble sulphonamides that are better absorbed into tissues and have improved therapeutic efficacy.

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