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Marilee J. Layman

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04:55 pm: Bactrim
Bactrim is a sulfa-based antibiotic and I took it years ago and turned purple. Actual real purple. I called Advice and spent the day in Urgent Care on steroids, and now I list sulfa as an allergan. The thing is, every time someone sees the sulfa listed, they ask me how it manifested and I say I turned purple. They say it's impossible and end up putting down "rash."

The WashPost Health section has a new series about people who have diseases misdiagnosed and how they were finally properly diagnosed. I asked if she was interested in how my second renal failure went undiagnosed for nine months and she said yes, but only if the doctor would talk. I asked the doctor (who is retired from Kaiser) and he wasn't comfortable talking about it to a reporter.

One of the recent stories was about a woman whose allergy to Bactrim tipped her into Stevens-Johnson Syndrome -- oozing pustules all over you, including in your mouth -- and Tuesday's section had LOCs on it. One of them, by Katie Rapp, describes how she looked like she had a "really bad sunburn" all over. I think a really bad sunburn is pretty close to purple!

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From:cakmpls
Date:September 13th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)
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Huh. Bactrim is the only drug I've ever had a bad reaction to; it gave me severe mood swings, and I am normally very un-moody. So I also stay away from the sulfa drugs now.
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From:bibliofile
Date:September 14th, 2007 09:54 am (UTC)
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I'll take flushing (red but not quite "bad sunburn" red) over mood swings any day, from an antibiotic.

The other thing about allergic reactions is that they often worsen, right? I wonder (but only from a scientifc standpoint) what shade would come after purple?!
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From:mjlayman
Date:September 14th, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC)
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And the writer turned "bad sunburn red" after her course of Bactrim. I turned purple a few hours after the first dose.

This was before I got sick and I had something respiratory and went to Urgent Care before work. They gave me the Bactrim, I took one there, and went to work. A couple hours into the day, my assistant came in and he said "Marilee, you're purple!" I thought he was teasing because I wore a lot of purple (do you have any idea how hard it was to find purple suits?!) and I said "Yeah, yeah," and he said "No, really, purple." So I went to the ladies room and I was purple.

If I'd known all the rest that was going to happen, I would have taken that as an early sign that I require much smaller doses of meds than most people. Of course, if I'd known everything that was going to happen, I would never have taken the ibuprofen for the arthritis in my broken ankle! No going back, though.

Lots of allergies get worse each time you contact the allergen, which is why it's important to keep information about it on you, in case you end up unconscious at some point.
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From:mplsvala
Date:September 14th, 2007 05:15 pm (UTC)
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Purple. Wow. That must have been very odd. Sadly, medical people choosing to ignore things that they consider impossible is not much of a surprise, nor that your doctor wasn't interested in publicly discussing slow or improper diagnosis.
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From:mjlayman
Date:September 14th, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I felt a bit like an Easter Egg. My doctor is getting his pension from Kaiser; it may have a no-talk rule in it. It would have been interesting because it was to some extent a failure of the HMO rather than just one doctor.

If I'd known people were going to think it was impossible, I would have had a picture taken.
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