Why is this medication prescribed?
Clotrimazole is used to treat yeast infections of the vagina, mouth, and skin such as athlete's foot, jock itch, and body ringworm. It can also be used to prevent oral thrush in certain patients.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Clotrimazole comes as a cream, lotion, powder, and solution to apply to the skin; lozenges (called troches) to dissolve in the mouth; and vaginal tablets and vaginal cream to be inserted into the vagina. Clotrimazole is usually used five times a day for 14 days for oral thrush, twice a day (in the morning and evening) for 2 to 8 weeks for skin infections, and once a day at bedtime for 3 or 7 days for vaginal infections. Follow the directions on the package or your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use clotrimazole exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
To use the topical cream, lotion, or solution, thoroughly clean the infected area, allow it to dry, and then gently rub the medication in until most of it disappears. Use just enough medication to cover the affected area. You should wash your hands after applying the medication.
The lozenges should be placed in the mouth and dissolved slowly over about 15 to 30 minutes. Do not chew or swallow the lozenges whole.
To use clotrimazole vaginal cream or vaginal tablets, read the instructions provided with the medication and follow these steps:
- Fill the special applicator that comes with the cream to the level indicated or unwrap a tablet, wet it with lukewarm water, and place it on the applicator as shown in the instructions that come with the product.
- Lie on your back with your knees drawn upward and spread apart.
- Insert the applicator high into your vagina (unless you are pregnant), and then push the plunger to release the medication. If you are pregnant, insert the applicator gently. If you feel resistance (hard to insert), do not try to insert it further; call your doctor.
- Withdraw the applicator.
- Discard the applicator if it is disposable. If the applicator is reusable, pull it apart and clean it with soap and warm water after each use.
- Wash your hands promptly to avoid spreading the infection.
The vaginal cream or tablets should be applied when you lie down to go to bed. The drug works best if you do not get up again after applying it except to wash your hands. You may wish to wear a sanitary napkin while using the vaginal cream or tablets to protect your clothing against stains. Do not use a tampon because it will absorb the drug. Do not douche unless your doctor tells you to do so.
Continue to use clotrimazole even if you feel well. Do not stop using clotrimazole without talking to your doctor. Continue using this medication during your menstrual period.
If you obtained the clotrimazole skin cream, lotion, or solution without a prescription, use it for 4 weeks for athlete's foot and 2 weeks for jock itch or body ringworm. If your symptoms do not improve by that time, stop using the medication and consult either a pharmacist or doctor.
If you obtained clotrimazole vaginal cream or tablets without a prescription and this is the first time you have had vaginal itching and discomfort, talk with a physician before using clotrimazole. However, if a doctor previously told you that you had a yeast infection and if you have the same symptoms again, use the vaginal cream or tablets as directed on the package for 3 or 7 consecutive days, preferably at night. If your symptoms do not improve within 3 or 7 days, call your doctor. If your symptoms return in less than 2 months, also call your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using clotrimazole,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to clotrimazole or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription drugs you are taking, especially antibiotic medications and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease, problems with your immune system, human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV), acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), diabetes, or a history of alcohol abuse.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using clotrimazole, call your doctor.
- tell your doctor if you drink alcohol.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take or insert the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Clotrimazole may cause side effects. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- stomach pain
- foul-smelling discharge if using the vaginal product
- upset stomach or vomiting with the lozenges (troches)
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not freeze.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor. Clotrimazole cream, lotion, and solution are for external use only. Do not let clotrimazole get into your eyes. Do not swallow the topical cream, lotion, or solution. Do not swallow the vaginal tablets or vaginal cream.
If you have a vaginal infection, refrain from sexual intercourse. An ingredient in the cream may weaken certain latex products like condoms or diaphragms; do not use such products within 72 hours of using this medication. Wear clean cotton panties (or panties with cotton crotches), not panties made of nylon, rayon, or other synthetic fabrics.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the clotrimazole, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
- Cruex® Spray Powder
- Desenex® Cream
- Fungoid® Solution
- Gyne-Lotrimin® Cream
- Gynix® Vaginal Tablets¶
- Lotrimin® Cream
- Mycelex® Solution
- Mycelex® Troches
- Pedesil® Ointment
- Trivagizole® Cream
Brand names of combination products
- Lotrisone® Cream (containing Betamethasone, Clotrimazole)
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.