Comparative in vitro activity of sulfametrole/trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim and other agents against multiresistant Gram-negative bacteria

David M. Livermore*, Shazad Mushtaq, Marina Warner, Neil Woodford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim is standard therapy for infections caused by opportunist non-fermenters except Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter. Sulfametrol(e)/trimethoprim is an alternative to sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim available in some EU countries, with possible pharmacological advantages. We compared their activities against (i) non-fermenters, (ii) multiresistant Enterobacteriaceae and (iii) reference strains with sul1 and sul2. Methods: Test isolates were recent submissions to the reference laboratory, or were Escherichia coli previously shown to have sul1 or sul2. Identification was by MALDI-ToF, by 16S rRNA gene sequencing or with API20NE strips. MICs were determined by CLSI agar dilution. The Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and Burkholderia series were enhanced by inclusion of 25% sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim-resistant isolates; other series were not enhanced. Results: MICs of sulfametrole/trimethoprim for non-fermenters tracked those of sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, being equal in 97/170 cases, 2-fold higher in 57/170 cases and 2-fold lower in 12/170 cases. Despite supplementing the Burkholderia and S. maltophilia collections with sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim-resistant organisms, the antifolate combinations retained better activity against these and other non-fermenters than did piperacillin/tazobactam, moxifloxacin, ticarcillin/clavulanate, tigecycline, cefotaxime or imipenem. By contrast, few (5%-20%) of the extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)- and carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae were susceptible to the sulphonamides or their trimethoprim combinations, probably reflecting widespread co-carriage of sul1 and sul2, which both conferred resistance. Conclusions: Antifolate combinations remain the most active antimicrobials against less common non-fermenters, importantly including S. maltophilia and Burkholderia spp., but resistance is prevalent among ESBL- and carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae. Sulfametrole/trimethoprim had similar activity to sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim against non-fermenters.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdkt455
Pages (from-to)1050-1056
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financed by Rokitan GmbH, Vienna.


  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Non-fermenters
  • Stenotrophomonas maltophilia


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