Fluconazole

Brand names of fluconazole

  • Apo-Fluconazole
  • Diflucan
  • Nu-Flucon

Fluconazole is an anti-fungal antibiotic that is employed to cure fungal infections occurring in different parts of our body, including those that affect the throat, mouth, lungs, esophagus, bladder, the genitals as well as the blood. In addition, this medication can also be used to treat other conditions, such as cryptococcal meningitis as well as put off the development of infections by Candida in people undergoing treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or those who have undergone bone marrow transplantation. It is also used to avert fungal infection in individuals with frail immune system owing to undergoing various cancer healings as well as ailments like AIDS. Fluconazole belongs to the class of drugs called triazole antifungal.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking fluconazole

Prior to starting using fluconazole, it is essential to consult your physician and tell him/ her about a few things, including the medications you are taking currently, your medical history, details regarding pregnancy and also if you have had any surgery or will undergo one shortly.

First and foremost, you ought to inform your physician or pharmacist if you have allergic reactions to fluconazole, any of the ingredients present in fluconazole tablets or suspension or different other anti-fungal medicines, for instance posaconazole (Noxafil), itraconazole (Sporanox), voriconazole (Vfend) or ketoconazole (Nizoral). If you are not sure about the ingredients of fluconazole, seek the help of your pharmacist, who will provide you with a list of the drug's ingredients.

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In addition, before starting treatment with fluconazole, you should also tell your physician regarding the other medications used by you, especially if you are taking cisapride (Propulsid), astemizole (Hismanal) and terfenadine (Seldane) - all these three medications are currently not available in the United States; and also quinidine (Quinidex) as well as pimozide (Orap). It is most likely that your physician will advise you against using fluconazole, provided you are already using any of the medications mentioned above.

You should also tell your physician or pharmacist regarding the prescription and over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, vitamins and herbal products that you may be using currently or indent to take in the near future. In addition, prior to beginning treatment with any new medication within a week of taking fluconazole, you need to tell your physician that you are already taking fluconazole.

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Also tell your doctor about your entire medical history, for instance if you have suffered from cancer in any stage of your life; have ever endured AIDS; have poor levels of minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium or sodium in your bloodstream; have erratic heartbeat; any ailment of the heart, liver or kidneys; and/ or have inherited a rare condition wherein your body is incapable of tolerating sucrose or lactose.

It is essential for women who intend to use fluconazole to cure any specific condition they might be enduring to tell their physician if they are pregnant, particularly if they are in the initial three months of pregnancy; whether they are planning pregnancy; or are nursing mothers. In case a woman becomes pregnant during treatment with fluconazole, she should call the physician at once and seek advice regarding what she should do next, for fluconazole has the aptitude to impair the still-born baby.

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In the event of you require undergoing any surgery, counting dental operation, you ought to tell your physician or dentist that you are being treated with fluconazole. It is worth mentioning here that use of fluconazole may make you feel lightheaded or even result in convulsions. Hence, it is advisable that when you are taking this drug, you ought to exercise additional precaution and not undertake any work that requires alertness, for instance driving any vehicle or operating any machinery till the time you are sure regarding the side effects caused by this medication.

Usage

Fluconazole is an anti-fungal drug that is indicated for treating conditions, such as fungal contagions of the mouth as well as the throat, for instance, candidiasis (thrush); infection of the vagina (known as yeast infection); or fungal infections occurring all over the body. In addition, this medication is also used to treat meningitis - a condition wherein the defensive membranes encircling the brain are inflamed. On many occasions, fluconazole is also employed to cure fungal infections associated with AIDS. This anti-fungal drug may also be employed to avert recurring fungal contagions in patients who are vulnerable and have become feeble owing to AIDS or due to chemotherapy or radiation therapy having very poor counts of white blood cells; as well as to treat patients who have undergone bone marrow transplants recently.

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Fluconazole is also effective in healing other types of infections by fungus, such as ringworm (tinea corporis), athlete's foot (tinea pedis), Candida skin infections, pityriasis versicolor or jock itch (tinea cruris). This medication is also useful in treating oral thrush or the infections of the linings of the mouth by Candida, lungs, throat, and the urinary tract. In effect, most internal contagions attributable to Candida, such as infections of the bloodstream, heart, lungs, urinary tract, abdomen as well as other extensive internal infections (also known as systemic candidiasis) can also be cured effectively with fluconazole.

This anti-fungal medication is also effective in treating vaginal inflammation (vaginitis) attributable to infections by Candida albicans (a condition which is also referred to as vaginal thrush). Fluconazole is also employed to heal inflamed penis and/ or foreskin (also called candidal balanitis), which is caused by Candida albicans infections (also called thrush).

How to use fluconazole

It is important to take fluconazole strictly as per what has been prescribed by your physician. This medication should never be taken in smaller or larger doses that what has been advised by the physician. Moreover, you should also follow all the instructions on the label of the product.

In fact, the dosage of fluconazole varies depending on the infection that is being treated with this medication. You just need one pill to cure vaginal infections (vaginal thrush). However, you may have to use a double first dose when you are treating other fungal infections. It is important that you strictly abide by the instructions of your physician while taking fluconazole. In case your symptoms do not show any sign of improvement even after taking fluconazole, talk to your physician regarding what should be done next.

Fluconazole should always be taken with a full glass (8 oz) of water. If you are using the oral suspension form of this medication, shake the liquid properly immediately before you measure a dosage. In order to be certain that you are taking the appropriate dose, you may measure the suspension using a medicine cup or a marked measuring spoon. Never use an ordinary table spoon to measure your dose of fluconazole oral suspension. Provided you do not have a device to measure the dose of the medicine, you may ask for one from your pharmacist.

Even if you find that your symptoms have improved it is essential to take fluconazole for the complete prescribed period. This is because usually your symptoms may improve even while the infection is yet to be cured completely. Never skip any dose of this medicine for missing even a single dose of fluconazole may enhance the possibility of further infections, especially those that are resistant to anti-fungal drugs. It may be noted that while fluconazole is an effective anti-fungal agent, it does not help in curing viral infections like common cold as well as flu.

Fluconazole tablets should always be stored at room temperature and in a place away from heat and moisture. On the other hand, fluconazole oral suspension may be stored in a refrigerator, but you should ensure that the liquid does not freeze. If there is any leftover medicine that is older than two weeks, discard it right away.

How fluconazole works

The anti-fungal drug fluconazole is effective in thwarting the fungal microorganisms from producing the essential substances that are needed for their multiplication as well as functioning. However, this drug is only effective in treating infections caused by fungi and does not help in curing viral infections or bacterial infections.

Fluconazole helps to eliminate fungal organisms that are responsible for infections by means of getting in the way of their cell membranes. In effect, fluconazole acts by preventing the fungi from manufacturing ergosterol, a substance that forms a vital element of the cell membranes of fungi. The interference in producing ergosterol results in the formation of holes in the cell membranes of fungi.

It may be noted that the cell membranes of the fungal organisms are essential for their existence. The cell membranes not only prevent the unnecessary materials from getting into the cells, but also prevent the substances contained by the cell from spilling out. Since the use of fluconazole results in the formation of holes in the cell membranes of fungi, all vital components of their cells are able to overflow. This action of fluconazole kills the fungi, thereby curing the infection.

In effect, fluconazole is employed to cure several dissimilar forms of infections caused by fungi and yeasts, especially those that are attributable to Candida or the Cryptococcus varieties of fungi.

Fluconazole available in the form of tablets and oral suspension may be taken by mouth. Alternately, the intravenous infusion form of this medicine is also administered by means of a drip into a vein conditional on the type of the fungal infection and its seriousness. In addition, the duration of treatment with fluconazole is also dependent on the form of infection as well as its rigorousness. For instance, while a solitary dose of fluconazole pill taken orally is generally enough to cure vaginal thrush (vaginal infection caused by Candida albicans), it may require anything between six to eight weeks treatment with fluconazole to completely cure other types of fungal infections.

Side effects

Serious
Less common

Possible interactions

Fluconazole is known to interact with specific foods, herbal products, minerals, beverages and its use is contradicted in certain conditions. A brief discussion on the possible interactions of fluconazole is presented below.

Herbal medicines or minerals:
Fluconazole and the herb Echinacea should never be used in conjunction. A number of patients are of the view that using Echinacea helps to perk up their immune system. However, this is not true and it is advisable that people with impaired immune system should never use this herb. In addition, prolonged use of Echinacea or using this herb too frequently is also likely to make the immune system feeble.
Foods:
The anti-fungal drug fluconazole is known to interact with specific foods, especially grapefruit or grapefruit juice. Hence, it is advisable that people taking fluconazole should keep away from consuming grapefruit for a minimum of one hour after taking this medication.
Beverages:
People taking fluconazole should always keep away from drinking grapefruit juice.
Other:
Prior to beginning treatment with fluconazole, women should always tell their physician if they are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breast-feeding. This is essential because while there are many medications whose use is contradicted during pregnancy and breastfeeding, there are others which are safe to use in such conditions. On the other hand, some medications may be used in such conditions provided their benefits to the mothers are more compared to the threats to the still-born babies.
It is worth mentioning that till date the safety of using fluconazole during pregnancy is yet to be ascertained. Hence, this drug should never be used by pregnant women. It is advisable that you talk to your doctor for further assistance.
In addition, it has been found that fluconazole passes onto breast milk and, hence, it is advisable that breastfeeding women should avoid this medicine. However, women for whom it is essential to use this medication should stop breastfeeding while they are being treated with fluconazole. For further assistance, you need to talk to your doctor regarding the use of this medicine.

Discontinuation

Take the entire regimen with fluconazole, as you may be required to continue treatment with this anti-fungal drug for several months. Before you stop taking this medication, ask your physician for the appropriate time when you can stop taking fluconazole.

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