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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Have chronic uti and hallucination problem. On bactrim. Looking for suggestion

Answered by
Dr. G.Srinivasan


Practicing since :1991

Answered : 1414 Questions

Posted on Wed, 26 Dec 2012 in Urinary and Bladder Problems
Question: My mother is 82 and has chronic uti's. Everytime she gets one she shows no symptoms until she starts hallucinating and then they are usually bad. She does not hallucinate until she gets a uti. She just got off two rounds of antibiotics. She was having low back pain and we took her in to the doctor. He did the urine strip test and told her she had an infection and but her on the antibiotic. After about day 5 of the antibiotic she started hallucinating. Took her to an Immediate Care Clinic because doctor's office was closed. They put her on Bactrim. Her regular doctor wanted her to come back in for another test. It showed negative but he left her on the antibiotic. After 5 days on the Bactrim the hallucinations stopped. She has been off of the Bactrim now since Saturday and last night the hallucinations started again. We have done this with her numerous times and it has always been an infection causing the hallucinations. Her doctor doesn't seem to think that's what it is and thinks it may be her meds and/or wants her to see a neurologist. Can someone have false positives and still have an infection? The last time she had one really bad she had a UTI and a staph infection and was hospitalized.
Answered by Dr. G.Srinivasan 2 hours later

Welcome to XXXXXXX and thanks for your query.
Sorry to hear about her.
I will try to share my experience on this, although there is not much scientific evidence.
At that age of 85, low sodium levels are very common especially during any illness, not only UTI.
Low sodium levels and old age are highly linked and need to be checked/corrected if found to be low.
So, the next step will be to check sodium levels. Of course, antibiotics need to be given for at-least one to three months to prevent recurrence.

Can you explain by what you mean by this statement? (Can someone have false positives and still have an infection?)
Please keep me informed of her progress.

Wishing her good health--


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. G.Srinivasan 18 minutes later
Mistyped. (Can someone have false positives and still have an infection?)
I meant to say can someone have a false negative. The last time they did the test it came back negative but she had been on antibiotics for seven days and had completed the first round. Then had started taking the Bactrim when the doctor did the test. That is why the doctor now wants her to go see a neurologist or thinks the hallucinations are being caused by one of her meds. She has had at least 3 utis a year for the last 4 or 5 years and has been hospitalized a couple of times because the doctors thought it was neurological. The halluciniations have usually gone away after a round of antibiotics. She also has macular degeneration and has lost a lot of sight in her eyes. Have read that this might cause some hallucinations also. However, she has never had them until she gets a uti.
Answered by Dr. G.Srinivasan 1 hour later
Welcome back.
Urine culture may be negative when antibiotics have already been started.
Under the situation described hallucinations are quite possible.
But the common problem at this age is hyponatremia.
Kindly get her sodium checked now and periodically to make sure that we rule out one cause at-least.
Wishing her good health,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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