The Effect of Trimethoprim on Serum Folate Levels in Humans: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

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Trimethoprim antagonize the actions of folate by inhibition of dihydrofolate reductase. This could diminish serum folate levels in humans and causes folate deficiency in some patients. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, to investigate the effect of trimethoprim on serum folate levels in healthy participants after a 7-day trial period. Thirty young, healthy males were randomly allocated to receive trimethoprim, 200 mg twice daily, and 30 were randomly allocated to placebo. Before trial initiation, participant numbers were given randomly generated treatment allocations within sealed opaque envelopes. Participants and all staff were kept blinded to treatment allocations during the trial. Serum folate was measured at baseline and at end of trial. In the 58 participants analyzed (30 in the trimethoprim group and 28 in the placebo group), 8 had folate deficiency at baseline. Within the trimethoprim group, serum folate was significantly decreased (P = 0.018) after the trial. We found a mean decrease in serum folate among trimethoprim exposed of 1.95 nmol/L, compared with a 0.21 nmol/L mean increase in the placebo group (P = 0.040). The proportion of folate-deficient participants increased significantly within the trimethoprim group (P = 0.034). No serious adverse events were observed. In conclusion, we found that a daily dose of 400 mg trimethoprim for 7 days significantly lowered serum folate levels in healthy study participants.

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