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General Practice 2023

Fluconazole: what it is for, how to take it and side effects

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Fluconazole: what it is for, how to take it and side effects
Fluconazole: what it is for, how to take it and side effects
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Fluconazole is an antifungal remedy that acts by inhibiting the growth of fungi, especially the Candida species, which can cause mycosis on the skin, nails, groin, mucous membranes such as the mouth, throat or genitals, and therefore it is indicated for the treatment of oral or genital candidiasis, or mycosis of the skin, for example.

This medicine can be purchased in pharmacies or drugstores, in the form of 150 mg capsules, in boxes with 1, 2 or 4 capsules, with the commercial name Zoltec, or in the generic form with the name fluconazole, or with similar names Triazol, Zelix or Pronazol, for example, and must be used with medical indication. In addition, fluconazole can also be found in injection form, being used only in hospitals, under the supervision of a he althcare professional.

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What is it for

Fluconazole is indicated for the treatment of vaginal or penile candidiasis, but may also be indicated to treat other fungal infections:

  • Frieira, athlete's foot or Tinea pedis;
  • Groin ringworm or Tinea cruris;
  • Nail ringworm or Tinea unguium;
  • Skin ringworm or Tinea corporis;

This remedy can also be used to prevent or reduce episodes of recurrent vaginal candidiasis.

Furthermore, fluconazole may be prescribed by a doctor to prevent fungal infections in people with a weakened immune system such as cancer treatment, bone marrow transplantation or HIV infection.

How to take it

The way to use fluconazole depends on the presentation of the drug:

1. Fluconazole 150 mg

Fluconazole 150 mg in capsule form should be taken orally, with a glass of water, before or after a meal, as directed by your doctor.

Adult doses of fluconazole vary by indication and include:

  • Vaginal candidiasis or on the head of the penis: the recommended dose is 1 capsule of fluconazole 150 mg in a single dose;
  • Recurrent vaginal candidiasis: the recommended dose is 1 fluconazole 150 mg capsule as a single dose. This dose should be repeated once a month, for 4 to 12 months, according to medical advice;
  • Tinea pedis, Tinea corporis, Tinea cruris: the recommended dose is 1 fluconazole 150 mg capsule as a single dose, taken once a week for 2 to 4 weeks, as per medical advice. In some cases of Tinea pedis, the doctor may recommend treatment for up to 6 weeks;
  • Nail fungus: the recommended dose is 1 fluconazole 150 mg capsule as a single dose until the infected nail is completely replaced by he althy nail growth, which it can take 3-6 months for fingernails and 6-12 months for toenails.

Fluconazole should not be used by children or adolescents under 18 years of age, or elderly people over 60 years of age, unless directed by a physician.

2. Injectable fluconazole

Injectable fluconazole should be given directly into a vein by a trained physician, nurse or he althcare professional, and the dose should be determined by the physician according to the severity of the infection and the type of fungus.

Possible side effects

The most common side effects that may occur during treatment with fluconazole are nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, headache, dizziness, or altered taste.

Although it is rarer, palpitations, seizures or liver problems may still occur, which can be noticed through symptoms such as loss of appetite, dark urine, pale stools or yellow skin and eyes.

Furthermore, fluconazole can cause severe allergic reactions that require immediate medical attention. Therefore, treatment should be interrupted and the nearest emergency department should be sought when symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fever, cough, chest pain, burning in the eyes, feeling of a closed throat, swelling in the mouth, tongue or face, skin blisters or hives. Know how to identify the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction.

In the case of injectable fluconazole, as it is used in hospitals in the event of an allergic reaction, treatment is immediate.

Who should not use

Fluconazole should not be used by people under 18 years of age, elderly over 60 years, by breastfeeding women or during pregnancy, as it may harm the fetus. In addition, fluconazole should not be used by people who are allergic to fluconazole or other antifungals such as ketoconazole, miconazole or itraconazole, for example.

This medication can interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives, and therefore, it is recommended to use a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom, during treatment with fluconazole and for at least 1 week after the last dose.

The use of fluconazole capsules should be done with caution in diabetics as they contain sugar in their composition.

It is important to inform the doctor about all the medicines that the person uses, as fluconazole should not be taken together with other treatments that include medicines such as terfenadine, cisapride, astemizole, erythromycin, pimozide or quinidine, for example, as it can increase the risk of heart palpitations.

Frequently asked questions

Is there fluconazole in ointment?

There is no fluconazole ointment. This drug is only available for oral use, in capsule form, or by injection for use directly into a vein in hospitals.

However, there are antifungal ointments or creams indicated for topical use, which can be used as a complement to treatment with fluconazole in capsules, upon doctor's recommendation. Check out the best ointments for the treatment of ringworm.

Do you need a prescription to buy fluconazole?

Fluconazole is a prescription drug and therefore treatment should only be done if recommended by your doctor.

Can you drink during treatment?

Moderate consumption of alcohol during treatment with a single dose of fluconazole is not contraindicated. However, although it is rare, drinking alcohol during long-term treatment with fluconazole can cause liver damage with symptoms such as fever or blistering of the skin. Better understand the risks of consuming alcoholic beverages during drug treatment.

Also, drinking alcohol can worsen Candida infections, which can make fluconazole treatment less effective.

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