Fluconazole is a type of medicine known as an antifungal. It is available over the counter to treat vaginal thrush; male sexual partners can also be treated for penile thrush. It can be used over the counter by men and women aged 16 to 60. Fluconazole is also available on prescription to treat other fungal infections such as oral thrush, athlete’s foot, ringworm and jock itch.
Fluconazole is available as a single 150mg capsule over the counter, Canesten is a branded version. Combination packs with clotrimazole cream (an antifungal cream) are also available.
For vaginal and penile thrush, you will usually require one capsule treatment of fluconazole. The capsule should be swallowed whole with water.
Speak to your doctor if your symptoms have not improved after 7 days. You can repeat the treatment course after 7 days if thrush symptoms return, unless you have had thrush more than twice in the previous 6 months, in this case you should speak to your doctor. Avoid having sex until symptoms have resolved, to avoid passing thrush onto your partner.
Vaginal and penile thrush are fungal infections caused by a fungus called Candida. Fluconazole kills this fungus by disrupting the production of important components needed for its cell membrane. This leads to a relief in thrush symptoms.
Like all medications, don’t take them if you have previously had an allergic reaction to the medication, if you have severe kidney or liver problems, or if you have other medications or medical conditions where you would normally discuss with your doctor or pharmacist before starting something new.
You should speak to your doctor before taking fluconazole if you are under 16 or over 60, are pregnant or breastfeeding, have previously had allergic reactions to other antifungal drugs such as ketoconazole or clotrimazole.
Men should also speak to their doctor before taking fluconazole if – their sexual partner is not suffering from thrush. If you are experiencing penile discharge, or have blisters or sores on your penis.
Women should also speak to their doctor before taking fluconazole if they have lower abdominal pain, unusual or irregular vaginal bleeding, bloody vaginal discharge, blisters or sores on their vagina or vulva, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, chills or an unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge.
Fluconazole can interact with a lot of medications, so if you take any prescription, over-the-counter or herbal medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist to check they are safe to take alongside fluconazole.
Common side effects can include headache, stomach ache, feeling sick, being sick and diarrhoea.
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