Bactrim Dosage for Acne

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from acne. It is the most common skin condition in the United States. Enduring acne is not only painful, but can take a toll on self-esteem. Many treatment options are available. Dermatologists are now using an oral antibiotic called trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, better known by its trade name Bactrim, for the management of moderate to severe acne.

Supplement pills spilled from a bottle. (Image: brozova/iStock/Getty Images)

How it Works

Acne has numerous potential causes. Hormones, an overproduction of oil, bacteria and irregular shedding of dead skin cells can all be contributing factors. These conditions lead to the infected and inflamed hair follicles known as acne. Bactrim targets the growth of bacteria and reduces the inflammation associated with blemishes.


Bactrim is a common drug and is available at the pharmacy counter with a prescription from a licensed health care professional. The price varies from pharmacy to pharmacy and depends largely on health insurance coverage. A generic version is available at approximately one-third of the expense of the brand name product.


Prescription medications, like Bactrim, are only to be used under the direct supervision of a physician and should be taken as directed. Dosage and length of treatment will be determined by the prescribing doctor. Dosing instructions for most infections in adults consists of one Bactrim DS -- double strength -- tablet every 12 hours by mouth. One double strength tablet contains 160 milligrams of trimethoprim and 800 milligrams of sulfamethoxazole. When being used for prevention of infection or flare ups it can be reduced to one Bactrim DS by mouth daily. This antibiotic should be taken with food to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal upset including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.


The most common side effects include loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. If these become bothersome or severe, discuss them with the prescribing health care professional. In very rare instances there have been fatalities associated with sulfonamide drugs such as Bactrim. Talk about all concerns and potential risks with the physician prior to starting Bactrim therapy.


Allergies to sulfa drugs are a contraindication for taking Bactrim. In addition, pregnant or nursing people should not take Bactrim. There is an increasing concern in the health care community regarding the development of drug-resistant bacteria when undergoing long-term antibiotic therapy. To minimize this risk dermatologists are using topical agents in conjunction with the Bactrim therapy. Studies have found that using topical benzoyl peroxide along with oral antibiotics may reduce the risk of developing antibiotic resistance.

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