Fluconazole is a type of antifungal agent.
Fluconazole is used to treat fungal infections such as thrush caused by a type of fungus (yeast) know as Candida.
Fluconazole kills the fungi that are causing an infection by interfering with their cell membranes. It works by stopping the fungi from producing a substance called ergosterol, which is an essential component of fungal cell membranes. The disruption in production of ergosterol causes holes to appear in the fungal cell membrane.
The cell membranes of fungi are vital for their survival. They keep unwanted substances from entering the cells and stop the contents of the cells from leaking out. As fluconazole causes holes to appear in the cell membranes, essential constituents of the fungal cells can leak out. This kills the fungi and treats the infection.
The length of treatment will depend on the type and severity of the infection, for example vaginal thrush can normally treated with a single dose by mouth, while some other infections may require six to eight weeks of treatment. The medicine can also be taken on long-term basis to prevent fungal infections in people who are at risk.
Below are listed some of the common dosage regimens:
- For genital thrush: 150mg as a single dose.
- For mucosal thrush e.g. mouth, trachea, urinary tract, lungs: 50-400mg once daily for 7-30 days (dose and duration of treatment will depend on where the infection is located).
- To treat fungal skin and nail infections: 50mg once daily for 2-4 weeks or for up to 6 weeks for athlete’s foot, for nail infections continue treatment until the infected nail is replaced.
- To reduce recurrence of vaginal thrush: 150mg every third day for a total of 3 doses (day 1, 4 and 7) and then once a week for 6 months.
Take the capsule with a drink of water and remember to complete the course even if you start to feel better or the symptoms have eased.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with fluconazole.
Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people)
- Abdominal pain.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Rash (tell your doctor if you get a rash after taking this medicine).
Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people)
- Excess gas in the stomach and intestines (flatulence).
- Taste disturbance.
- Decreased appetite.
- Dizziness or sensation of spinning.
- Feeling tired, weak or generally unwell.
- Blistering skin reaction (hives).
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with fluconazole, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
This medicine can sometimes cause liver problems. If you are taking high doses or long courses of this medicine your doctor may want you to have regular blood tests to monitor your liver function.
Consult your doctor promptly if you develop unexplained itching, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice), unusually dark urine, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pains, loss of appetite or flu-like symptoms while taking this medicine, as these could be signs of a liver problem.
This medicine may rarely cause allergic skin reactions. Consult your doctor if you develop a rash, blistering or peeling of the skin while taking this medicine. People with AIDS are more prone to skin reactions to many medicines, including this one.
Fluconazole should be used with caution in:
- Kidney disease.
- Liver disease.
- People with an irregular or slow heartbeat.
- People with an abnormal heart rhythm seen as a 'prolonged QT interval' on a heart monitoring trace (ECG).
- People with disturbances in the usual levels of electrolytes such as potassium or magnesium in their blood.
Fluconazole should NOT be used in:
- People who are allergic to other azole antifungal medicines, e.g. itraconazole.
- Hereditary blood disorders called porphyrias.
- Fluconazole capsules contain lactose and are not suitable for people with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using fluconazole and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
The patient information leaflet (PIL) is a leaflet containing specific information about medical conditions, doses and side effects. You can download a copy of the PIL here:
Patient Info Leaflet