Fluconazole is an antifungal drug used to treat different kinds of fungus. The most common fungus is caused by a yeast called candida, which can lead to infections including:
- Vaginal thrush
- Balanitis thrush (skin irritation on the penis)
- Oral thrush
- Blood infections
Fluconazole belongs to the group of drugs called triazole antifungals and came into public use in 1988. Available as a generic medication, it is on the WHO’s List of Essential Medications.
While fluconazole yeast infection treatment is the most common medication, healthcare providers also prescribe it as a preventative measure for high-risk patients like organ transplant recipients and low birthweight babies to avoid fungal infections.
A doctor usually prescribes Fluconazole. However, you can only get it with a prescription in the UK, EU, Australia, and the USA.
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Fluconazole Brand Names
Fluconazole is the generic name of this medication. It is also sold under the brand name Diflucan.
How to Take Fluconazole
Fluconazole is available as a capsule or liquid is taken by swallowing. It can also be given by injection, although this is typically only done in a hospital setting.
Make sure to read the patient information leaflet given to you by the pharmacist with your medication. Then, reach out to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Fluconazole is usually taken by mouth once a day to treat candida infections. The medication is absorbed almost entirely within two hours, and its absorption isn’t affected by the presence of stomach acid – therefore, you can take it with or without food.
If you take the oral suspension form of Fluconazole, shake it well before using it. Then, carefully measure out the dosage with a proper measuring spoon. A regular household spoon may not give you the correct dose.
Maintaining a constant level of the medication in your body leads to the best results, so make sure you take the full prescribed dose simultaneously every day. Do not stop taking the drug if you find your symptoms lessen or disappear before you’ve finished the full prescription amount, as stopping early can allow the fungus to recover and grow.
Storage and Safekeeping
Keep your Fluconazole somewhere safe and away from light and moisture. Please do not keep it in your bathroom, as this is often a high-moisture environment. Instead, ensure it is kept somewhere out of reach of pets and children.
Keep the liquid suspension of Fluconazole at room temperature or in the refrigerator, but do not freeze it.
Discard any leftover medication after two weeks. However, do not flush them or pour them into the drain. Instead, ask your healthcare provider for advice on properly disposing of Fluconazole.
Fluconazole Yeast Infection Dosage
The dosage of this drug is different for different patients. The amount of medication and treatment duration will depend on your condition, your response to the treatment, and for children, their body weight.
The number of doses you take per day, the time between doses, and the duration you take the medication will depend on various factors determined by your doctor.
Typical Oral Dosages for Adults:
- Vaginal candidiasis: 150mg/day.
- Urinary tract infections or peritonitis: 50-200mg/day.
- Cryptococcal meningitis: 400mg for one day, followed by 200mg/day for at least 10-12 weeks.
- Esophageal candidiasis: 200mg for one day, followed by 100mg/day for at least three weeks.
- Oropharyngeal candidiasis: 200mg for one day, followed by 100mg/day for at least two weeks.
- Other infections: Up to 400mg/day.
Dosages for children are variable and must be determined by your doctor.
If you miss a dose of Fluconazole, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is close to your next dose before you remember you’ve missed a dose, skip the dose you missed and proceed with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose of the medication.
Accidentally taking an extra dose or two is unlikely to harm you. However, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist now if:
- You feel unwell from taking too much Fluconazole.
- Your child has taken too much Fluconazole.
Who Can and Cannot Take Fluconazole
Most people can take this medication. However, fluconazole contraindications do exist. Consult your healthcare provider before using it if you’ve ever experienced any of the following:
- Allergic reaction to Fluconazole or other medications.
- Heart arrhythmia, other heart rhythm problems, or heart disease.
- Kidney or liver dysfunction.
- Acute porphyria (a rare blood disorder).
- Abnormal levels of calcium, potassium, or magnesium as measured by a blood test.
It is essential to monitor your treatment progress with regular visits to your healthcare provider. Your doctor may request blood or urine tests to assess your condition. Should your symptoms not improve, or should they become worse, continue to take your medication and check with your doctor.
Fluconazole and Pregnancy
Overuse or prolonged use of Fluconazole can have adverse effects on unborn children. Therefore, use caution surrounding pregnancy when taking Fluconazole, especially during the first trimester. In addition, an effective form of birth control is advised when taking this medication, as well as for at least the first week after the conclusion of the treatment.
If you are pregnant and have thrush, your doctor may prescribe clotrimazole or other antifungal medication. If the thrush persists, they may prescribe you a single dose of Fluconazole after discussing the risks to you and your baby.
Fluconazole and Lactation
Mothers can use Fluconazole while breastfeeding. However, visit to your doctor if you notice changes in your baby’s behavior (such as unusual sleepiness or unwillingness to feed).
Side Effects of Fluconazole
As with all medications, Fluconazole may come with specific side effects. These range from rare to common and mild to severe.
Common Side Effects
These side effects affect more than 1 in 100 people. Talk to your doctor if they do not subside or if you find them intolerable.
- Stomach pain
- Hair loss
- Serious Side Effects
Fluconazole has serious side effects in less than 1% of patients. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin
- Pale feces or dark urine
- Severe stomach/abdominal pain
- Dizziness or fainting
- Increased or irregular heartbeat
- Signs of blood disorder, including easy bruising or acquiring infections
- Symptoms of adrenal gland issues, including weight loss, loss of appetite, and unusual tiredness
This is not an exhaustive list of possible side effects. For more, read the information pamphlet included with the medication.
Coping with Side Effects
Older patients may be more sensitive to the side effects of Fluconazole. Alcohol and marijuana can also worsen dizziness, a potential but uncommon side effect.
Here are some tips on coping with some of the most common side effects:
Diarrhea: Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Your doctor may recommend diarrhea medication, but do not take any diarrhea treatment before consulting them.
Headache: Rest and ensure sufficient fluid consumption. Speak to your healthcare provider if you need a painkiller or if the headaches become severe or last longer than a week.
Nausea: Avoid rich and spicy foods. Prevent dehydration by taking small sips of water often. Try taking the Fluconazole after eating instead of on an empty stomach.
Rash: Check with your pharmacist for a recommendation on an antihistamine to treat inflammation. If it does not improve or lasts longer than a week, speak to your doctor.
Drug interactions between Fluconazole and other medications you may be taking can put you at greater risk of side effects or change how the drug works.
When visiting your doctor, please give them a complete list of the medications you are currently taking and do not alter your dosage without their approval.
The following is an incomplete list of medicines that may interact with Fluconazole:
- Pimozide or quetiapine
Fluconazole Food Interactions
Fluconazole is safe to take with any food. Eat or drink normally while taking this medication.
In the case of an overdose, seek medical help or contact poison control immediately. Although taking an extra dose or two is unlikely to cause harm, err on the side of caution if you are experiencing more significant side effects or feel unwell.
Symptoms of fluconazole overdose may include confusion or unusual thoughts and behaviors. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or any hazardous behaviors if you are experiencing unusual symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your symptoms should improve within seven days for vaginal, oral, or balanitis thrush. However, if you have severe symptoms, the medication may take 1 to 2 weeks to reach its full effect.
Consult your healthcare provider to determine the correct fluconazole yeast infection treatment dose.
Fluconazole is an effective treatment for vaginal candidiasis; however, it is not the only one. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for their recommendation, as many antifungal medications are available, including creams, sprays, gels, and pessaries (soft tablets inserted into the vagina).
No evidence suggests that taking Fluconazole lowers fertility in either men or women.
There are no special dietary instructions to follow when taking Fluconazole. However, as mentioned previously, avoiding certain foods may help alleviate common side effects like nausea.
Fluconazole will not affect your birth control medication when combined with contraceptive pills or emergency contraception. However, if Fluconazole causes you to vomit, your contraceptive bills may not protect you from pregnancy. Consult your birth control information pamphlet to learn what to do.
Your doctor will likely prescribe Fluconazole for you to take only for a short period. However, should you have a severe or persisting infection, you may need to take it long-term. In this case, your doctor may ask you to have regular blood tests to monitor your health.
For vaginal yeast infections, most women only need one dose of Fluconazole. However, more severe conditions and cases involving other underlying issues may require a second dose three days after the first dose. As always, consult your healthcare provider before deciding on a course of treatment.
As mentioned above, do not take Fluconazole if you’ve had a past allergic reaction to the medication or have heart, liver, or kidney problems. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before starting Fluconazole.
You can drink alcohol while taking Fluconazole. Alcohol is a diuretic, so ensure you maintain proper hydration levels if you experience side effects of Fluconazole which are worsened by dehydration, such as headaches. Exercise moderation when consuming alcohol.
For mild infections, you will likely see improvement in symptoms within 1 to 3 days. However, if your symptoms persist, it may be prescribed for up to 2 weeks.
The duration of side effects differs between individuals and depends on the nature of the side effects. Serious side effects are rare, and mild side effects will likely subside. However, if you cannot tolerate the side effects or they worsen, speak to your doctor or pharmacist for a recommended course of action.
How often you can take Fluconazole depends on your specific circumstances. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist to find out how much to consume.
Important Considerations for Taking Fluconazole
As always, it’s essential to take this medication exactly as directed by your doctor. You can receive affordable online doctor visits through telehealth services if you do not have access to a healthcare provider.
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