A pyrimidine inhibitor of dihydrofolate reductase, it is an antibacterial related to pyrimethamine. The interference with folic acid metabolism may cause a depression of hematopoiesis. It is potentiated by sulfonamides and the trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole combination is the form most often used. It is sometimes used alone as an antimalarial. Trimethoprim resistance has been reported. [PubChem]
For the treatment of urinary tract infections, uncomplicated pyelonephritis (with sulfamethoxazole) and mild acute prostatitis. May be used as pericoital (with sulfamethoxazole) or continuous prophylaxis in females with recurrent cystitis. May be used as an alternative to treat asymptomatic bacteriuria during pregnancy (only before the last 6 weeks of pregnancy). Other uses include: alternative agent in respiratory tract infections (otitis, sinusitus, bronchitis and pneumonia), treatment of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (acute or prophylaxis), Nocardia infections, and traveller's diarrhea.
Trimethoprim is a pyrimidine analogue that disrupts folate synthesis, an essential part of the thymidine synthesis pathway. Inhibition of the enzyme starves the bacteria of nucleotides necessary for DNA replication.The drug, therefore, exhibits bactericidal activity.
Mechanism of action
Trimethoprim binds to dihydrofolate reductase and inhibits the reduction of dihydrofolic acid (DHF) to tetrahydrofolic acid (THF). THF is an essential precursor in the thymidine synthesis pathway and interference with this pathway inhibits bacterial DNA synthesis. Trimethoprim's affinity for bacterial dihydrofolate reductase is several thousand times greater than its affinity for human dihydrofolate reductase. Sulfamethoxazole inhibits dihydrofolate synthetase (aka dihydropteroate synthetase), an enzyme involved further upstream in the same pathway. Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole are commonly used in combination due to their synergistic effects. This drug combination also reduces the development of resistance that is seen when either drug is used alone.