Clotrimazole

Brand names of clotrimazole

  • Canesten
  • Clotrimaderm
  • Clotrimazole
  • Femcare
  • Femzol-7
  • Gyne-Lotrimin
  • Lotriderm
  • Lotrimin
  • Lotrimin AF
  • Lotrisone
  • Mycelex
  • Mycelex-G
  • Mycelex-7
  • Myclo
  • Myclo-Gyne
  • Neo-Zol
  • Scheinpharm

An anti-fungal medication clotrimazole stalls certain fungi from spreading as it prevents membranes surrounding the fungal cells from growing. Clotrimazole is of the same group of medications as fluconazole, ketoconazole (Nizoral), miconazole (Micatin, Monistat) and itraconazole (Sporanox). Lotriderm is the steroid form of clotrimazole which is made in combination with betamethazone.

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It is used typically in one of these three ways. It can be applied topically on the skin, inserted in the vagina and for local fungal infections it is dissolved in the mouth. The medicine is available over-the-counter in the form of creams and as a combination remedy for ear infections normally as eardrops. As a troche it is available only on prescription.

Since fungal infections, as a rule, take longer to clear up than other milder infections, so anti-fungal medication is given for a longer period than the antibiotic dose which is taken for 3 - 7 days.

Things you need to tell your physician before taking clotrimazole

For the prescription to be given correctly any allergic reactions to clotrimazole or any other drug must be communicated to the doctor. Your doctor must also know what prescription or non-prescription medicaments, if any, you are taking especially any antibiotics and vitamins.

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If you have suffered from liver disease then you may probably not be prescribed clotrimazole. If the doctor allows you a low dosage you will need to be monitored during treatment. Any of the following conditions like diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus infection better known as HIV, or AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or any other immune system problems should be mentioned to the doctor. If you drink alcohol or have a history of alcohol abuse your doctor should know.

In case you are pregnant or are breast feeding your doctor needs to know before he prescribes any medication. Also if you become pregnant while on clotrimazole your doctor should be told immediately.

Usage

Clotrimazole is used to treat yeast infections around the vaginal area. It is also used to treat skin infections like ringworm, jock itch and athlete's foot (medically called tinea corporis, tinea cruris and tinea pedis). It is also used to treat Pityriasis Versicolor, known commonly as sun fungus, which is a fungal infection where the skin develops scaly patches of varying shapes and colors.

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How to use clotrimazole

Clotrimazole is available as a cream, lotion, powder and solution that is applied to the affected area on the skin. Lozenges available in the form of troches are dissolved in the mouth. Vaginal tablets or vaginal creams are used for vaginal applications.

Differing conditions require different time periods for using clotrimazole. For skin infections the medication is normally applied two times in a day for 2 to 8 weeks. For oral thrush the treatment lasts 14 days with the medication taken five times a day. Vaginal infections require the medication to be inserted into the vagina, just before bedtime for 3 to 7 days.

Directions on the prescription label or on the package must be followed exactly and the doctor or pharmacist could explain to you what you do not understand. Do not use too much of the medication or too little or more often than what the doctor prescribed.

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The infected area must be cleaned thoroughly and completely dry before applying the topical cream, powder or solution. Use just enough of the medication to cover the affected area and then rub it in till the medication disappears into the skin. After applying the medication hands must be washed.

The lozenges are placed in the mouth and not chewed or swallowed but allowed to dissolve slowly for 15 to 30 minutes so that the medication can take effect.

The vaginal cream or tablets are placed inside the vagina in a lying position, just before bed time so there is no need to get up again. Some patients might like to use a sanitary napkin to prevent stain on clothes from the cream or tablets. A tampon is not recommended as it could absorb the medication and also do not douche unless the doctor specifically tells you to do so. Clotrimazole should be continued even during the menstrual period.

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Do not stop using the medication even if the condition has improved and do consult the doctor if you should need to stop before the prescribed number of days.

For conditions like jock itch, ring worm and athlete's foot clotrimazole cream, powder or solution should be used for 2 weeks, if you have obtained it over the counter. In case after two weeks the condition does not improve or worsens, stop using the medication and consult the pharmacist or doctor.

In case of a vaginal itch or discomfort talk to the doctor before you use clotrimazole especially if it is the first time you have the condition. However if your doctor previously confirmed a yeast infection and asked you to use the vaginal cream or tablets you could do so again if the symptoms are similar. Follow the directions on the packet and use the medication for 3 to 7 consecutive nights. In case your symptoms have not improved by then consult the doctor and also if the symptoms have returned again before 2 months of the previous infection, you need to see the doctor.

How clotrimazole works

Clotrimazole changes the pervasive nature of the fungal cell and controls the activity enzymes within the cell which cause the cell to eventually die. Appreciably clotrimazole does not spread throughout the user's body but remains confined to the area where it has been applied.

Side effects

Serious
Topical and vaginal:
  • skin rash
  • burning
  • stinging
  • hives
  • redness
  • itching
  • peeling
  • or other skin irritation not present prior to treatment
Common
Topical:
  • none reported
Vaginal:
  • itching
  • vaginal burning
  • discharge
  • or other irritation not present prior to treatment
Less common
Topical and lozenge:
  • none reported
Vaginal:

Possible interactions

Some herbal remedies like mistletoe herb, oak bark, licorice and marshmallow root are best avoided. Echinacea which is used by patients to bolster their immune system stops working if taken over prolonged periods of time or if it is taken too often. Echinacea should be avoided in any instance of damaged immune system.

Discontinuation

Clotrimazole should be used and stopped according to the directions of the doctor or pharmacist.

Storage instructions

The medication should be stored out of reach of children at room temperature and away from heat and moisture preferably and not in the bathroom. It should be stored in the same container it came in, tightly closed.

The medication should not be flushed down or thrown in the drain unless the pharmacist has instructed you to do so. Once the medication has crossed the expiry period it should be disposed safely as advised by the waste disposal company or your pharmacist.

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