What is Fluconazole (or generic Diflucan) used for?
Fluconazole is a anti-fungal medicine, used as a treatment for fungal infections caused by the Candida fungus. There are loads of these as fungal infections can affect almost any part of the body, inside or out. Some of the most common ones are infections in the mouth, oesophagus, urinary tract, vulva or vagina (e.g., yeast infections like Thrush) and on the skin.
Fluconzaole can be used to prevent or to treat these infections and it works by slowing or stopping the growth of the fungus or yeast causing the infection. If you’re taking it to treat an infection, it’s usually recommended that you take it once a day. Fluconazole comes in tablets to swallow or as a liquid suspension.
Fluconazole is mostly used for preventative purposes in those with a weak immune system (e.g., due to chemotherapy, transplants, or AIDS).
Is Fluconazole and Diflucan the same thing?
Diflucan is one of the brand names for Fluconazole. Diflucan is the brand name used by Pfizer who first developed Fluconazole as a drug in the 90s.
Their patent has now expired though, so generic Diflucan/fluconazole is now widely available – and cheaper!
Is Fluconazole ths same as clotrimazole or metronidazole?
No. Metronidazole is an antibacterial medication, not an anti-fungal medication like Fluconazole. Metronidazole is used to treat infections caused by bacteria, e.g., in the stomach, skin, joints, respiratory tract, and vagina. Unlike Fluconazole, metronidazole won’t help a vaginal yeast infection.
Fluconazole and clotrimazole are also different anti-fungal medications but they’re very similar in their effects. Clotrimazole is more often sold as an ointment while Fluconazole is a tablet or capsule to be taken orally. Sometimes they are prescribed together e.g., for Thrush: a Fluconazole tablet and clotrimazole cream (this combination often comes under the brand name Canesten).
How long does it take Fluconazole to work?
It depends on what kind of infection you have and where it is in your body. Vaginal infections are often treated with just one dose of Fluconazole, which starts working immediately and keeps working for several days. You can often see the effects within 24 hours although symptoms can take a few days to fully clear up.
Other fungal infections require taking Fluconazole for several days (often every 3 days for 9 days), in which case it should treat your infection within a couple of weeks. For some types of infections and for more severe ones, you could be prescribed a daily dose of Fluconazole for up to two weeks. In these cases it’s important to keep taking it for the full length of time even if the symptoms disappear quickly so that the fungus doesn’t regrow.
Does Fluconazole have any negative side effects?
As with any medication, Fluconazole has quite a few possible side effects. The most common ones include headaches and gastro-intestinal symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea. Also dyspepsia, rashes…. Fun fun.
More serious side effects include problems with the liver and heart (irregular heartbeat). As such, Fluconazole is generally not recommended if you have any liver or heart issues. Check with a doctor of course.
Click the link to see a full list of possible Fluconazole side-effects
A few people could be allergic to Fluconazole and symptoms to watch out for are itchy mouth or skin, trouble breathing, swelling, anaphylaxis, etc.
What are the different doses of Fluconazole (50mg, 100mg, 150mg 200mg) used for?
There are so many infections Fluconazole is used for, and the dosage depends on other aspects of your health, so it’s difficult to pin this down.
For vaginal thrush, the usual dose for a mild case of it is 150mg taken once, or 150mg every 3 days, 3 times, if it’s persistent. For a urinary tract infection caused by Candida fungus, the dose could be 50mg – 200mg once a day for a few days. Or for fungal pneumonia, up to 400mg a day. These dosages are listed on drugs.com but they emphasise that these dosages are not universal – ask your doctor!
Is it safe to take Fluconazole with alcohol, with antibiotics, or while pregnant?
There doesn’t appear to be a direct or deadly interaction between Fluconazole and alcohol, however since Fluconazole can cause drowsiness and affect the liver, and since alcohol can increase these effects, medical advice is to “limit alcoholic beverages” while taking Fluconazole. Certainly don’t try to do anything requiring full alertness, like driving, while under their effects.
Fluconazole can interact with some antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin), sometimes very seriously. So don’t take it with antibiotics without checking with a medical professional first.
In fact, since Fluconazole can interact with many other drugs, it’s advised to always check with a doctor or pharmacist before taking it if you are on other medications.
It is not considered to be safe to take Fluconazole while pregnant as it can harm the baby. This is more of a risk if you take high doses of Fluconazole during your first trimester (this can result in birth defects). However, doctors advise not to take the risk! Fluconazole can also get into breast milk. However since it sometimes used to treat fungal infections in newborns, taking Fluconazole while breast-feeding is considered to be less risky to the child. Check with your doctor in this case.
Do I need a prescription for Fluconazole?
Yes. In the US and the UK you need a prescription to get Diflucan. However, Canesten and generic Fluconazole don’t require prescriptions. For more information see: Fluconazole in the UK
Where can I buy 150mg Fluconazole?
You can buy 150mg Fluconazole at most pharmacies (in the UK or elsewhere). It’s a commonly-used medicine and is readily available. However in the UK and the US, and probably many other countries, you will need a prescription to buy it.
You can buy 150mg doses of Fluconazole at online pharmacies too. Some of these will require you to have a prescription already while others will do an online consultation with you (often in questionnaire format) and issue you a prescription themselves, if appropriate. You can then place your order.