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How Effective Is Clotrimazole for Candida?

By B. Chisholm
Updated Feb 10, 2024
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Clotrimazole for candida, commonly known as thrush, is an effective topical treatment. In most countries it is available as a cream or in pessary form. It is known by different trade names in different countries, according to manufacturer. In some countries it is available as an over-the-counter product and, in others, is available by prescription only.

Candida is a fungal infection which is one of the most common causes of vaginitis, or infection of the vagina. The cause of vaginal candidiasis is often unknown but it is thought that a number of factors may increase a woman's susceptibility to the infection. These include the use of oral contraceptives, diabetes, antibiotic use and HIV. The symptoms of vaginal candidiasis may include itching, burning and a vaginal discharge. It should be remembered that numerous organisms may cause vaginitis, with similar symptoms, and each requiring a different treatment, so medical advice should be sought.

When using clotrimazole for candida it may be applied to the area as a cream or inserted into the vagina as cream or pessaries. In some cases the pessaries and cream are used in combination. It is usually used twice a day for three to seven days, depending on the severity of the fungal infection. The directions should be followed closely and completing the full course to minimize the risk of recurrence.

Clotrimazole is an antifungal medicine. When using clotrimazole for candida, it works by inhibiting ergosterol, an essential component of the fungal cell walls. This causes them to break down and allows essential components of the fungus to be released, essentially killing it. While the candida organism may be part of the normal flora of the vagina, if overgrowth occurs, for example when antibiotics are used, the result may be vaginitis.

In some cases thrush may be a recurrent problem. Many women buy clotrimazole for candida over-the-counter and self-treat themselves at home. If the infection recurs several times, the woman is pregnant, or the infection is accompanied by more severe symptoms such as bleeding, ulcers, abdominal pain, diarrhea or chills and fever, medical attention should be sought for proper diagnosis.

While using the pessaries or cream for an infection, unwanted side effects may occur, as with any medication. These are rare but discomfort and burning at the site of application have been reported by some people using clotrimazole for candida. Should these be severe, medical attention should be sought.

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Discussion Comments
By ZipLine — On Feb 05, 2013

@fBoyle-- Are you using clotrimazole in cream or tablet form?

If you're using the tablet, you might want to switch to cream and use it for seven days. I know there are three and five day versions in pharmacies but they are not very effective. From my experience, clotrimazole is very effective for candida. I just hate that it leaks.

@simrin-- I think so but check with your doctor.

By SteamLouis — On Feb 04, 2013

So is clotrimazole safe to use during pregnancy?

By fBoyle — On Feb 04, 2013

Is it possible for fungi to become resistant to clotrimazole?

I've used clotrimazole topical cream two times before for candida infection and it was effective. I have candida again, after two years and immediately went for the clotrimazole. However, it has not had any effect this time. I don't know if I need to be using it longer or if I need to switch to a new treatment altogether.

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