How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Clotrimazole belongs to the class of medications called antifungals. It is used to treat most vaginal yeast infections. Clotrimazole works by killing the overgrowth of yeast that is causing the infection.

The symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection should start to improve within a few hours after starting this medication, but it may take as long as a week for the symptoms to go away completely.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Canesten 1 ComforTAB Combi-Pak
Each vaginal tablet contains clotrimazole 500 mg and each gram of external cream contains clotrimazole 10 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzyl alcohol, calcium lactate, cetostearyl alcohol, cetyl esters wax, cornstarch, crospovidone, hypromellose, lactic acid, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, octyldodecanol, polysorbate 60, silicon dioxide, sorbitan monostearate, and water.

Canesten 1 Cream Combi-Pak
Each gram of vaginal cream contains clotrimazole 100 mg and each g of external cream contains clotrimazole 10 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzyl alcohol, cetostearyl alcohol, cetyl esters wax, isopropyl myristate, octyldodecanol, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, and water.

Canesten 1 Cream (10% clotrimazole)
Each gram contains clotrimazole 100 mg in a vanishing cream base. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzyl alcohol, cetostearyl alcohol, cetyl esters wax, isopropyl myristate, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, and water.

Canesten 3 ComforTAB Combi-Pak
Each insert contains clotrimazole 200 mg and each gram of external cream contains clotrimazole 10 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: adipic acid, benzyl alcohol, cetostearyl alcohol, cetyl esters wax, cornstarch, lactose, magnesium stearate, octyldodecanol, polysorbate 60, polysorbate 80, silicon dioxide, sodium bicarbonate, sorbitan monostearate, stearic acid, and water.

Canesten Comfortab 1
Each vaginal tablet contains clotrimazole 500 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: lactose, maize starch, microcrystalline cellulose, lactic acid, crospovidone, calcium lactate, magnesium stearate, colloidal silicon dioxide and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose.

Canesten Comfortab 3
Each vaginal tablet contains clotrimazole 200 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: lactose, maize starch, adipic acid, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium stearate, stearic acid, colloidal silicon dioxide and polysorbate 80.

Canesten 3 Cream (2% clotrimazole)
Each gram contains clotrimazole 20 mg in a vanishing cream base. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzyl alcohol, cetostearyl alcohol, cetyl esters wax, octyldodecanol, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, and water. 25 g of vaginal cream is sufficient for 3 intravaginal applications with additional cream for extravaginal use if required.

Canesten 6 Cream (1% clotrimazole)
Each gram contains clotrimazole 10 mg in a vanishing cream base. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzyl alcohol, cetostearyl alcohol, cetyl esters wax, octyldodecanol, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, and water. 50 g of vaginal cream is sufficient for 6 intravaginal applications with additional cream for extravaginal use if required.

Canesten External Cream (1% clotrimazole)
Each gram contains clotrimazole 10 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzyl alcohol, cetostearyl alcohol, cetyl esters wax, octyldodecanol, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, and water.

Canesten External Cream Refill (1% clotrimazole)
Each gram contains clotrimazole 10 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzyl alcohol, cetostearyl alcohol, cetyl esters wax, octyldodecanol, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, and water.

How should I use this medication?

Clotrimazole vaginal cream or tablets should be inserted high into the vagina once daily (preferably at bedtime) using the applicators(s) provided for 1, 3, or 6 days, depending on the specific product being used. Insert the applicator gently and deeply into the vagina, then slowly depress the plunger to release the tablet or instil the cream. A thin layer of the topical cream or vaginal cream can be applied to the vaginal area for relief of external symptoms 1 to 2 times daily as needed, as long as symptoms persist, for up to 7 days.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

If undissolved pieces of the vaginal tablet are seen the next day, the tablet may not have been inserted deeply enough or it may not have dissolved completely. If this is the case, you may wish to consider switching to the vaginal cream to complete the treatment.

Treatment with clotrimazole should not continue while you are menstruating. Choose a form of this medication that will allow you to have completed your treatment before menstruation begins. Do not use tampons, douches, or vaginal spermicides while using clotrimazole.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor or recommended by your pharmacist. Continue to use this medication for as long as directed by your doctor or pharmacist, even if you start to feel better.

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature between 15°C and 30°C, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to clotrimazole or any ingredients of the medication.

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • abdominal bloating
  • burning
  • cramping
  • irritation
  • itching
  • rash
  • redness
  • swelling

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • blistering
  • hives
  • peeling
  • vaginal bleeding

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Birth control: Clotrimazole may reduce the effectiveness of latex condoms, diaphragms, and vaginal spermicides. Use of alternative forms of birth control while using this medication is recommended.

First-time users: If this is your first time experiencing a vaginal yeast infection, you should see your doctor before using clotrimazole.

For external use only: Clotrimazole vaginal cream, tablets, and topical or external cream are for vaginal and external use only. These medications should not be taken by mouth.

Other medical conditions: If you have fever, abdominal pain, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, your symptoms may be due to a more serious condition other than a yeast infection. Talk to your doctor immediately and do not use clotrimazole.

If you do not see any improvement in your symptoms in 3 days, if they do not disappear in 7 days, or if they worsen, your symptoms may be due to a condition other than a yeast infection. Stop using this medication and see your doctor immediately.

If you have multiple sexual partners or change partners often, see your doctor before using this medication.

Repeat infections: If you have frequent vaginal yeast infections or if your yeast infection returns in less than 2 months, see your doctor before using this medication again.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you are pregnant and believe this medication is necessary, contact your doctor.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if clotrimazole passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: Clotrimazole should not be used by girls less than 12 years of age, unless recommended by a doctor.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between clotrimazole and any of the following:

  • tacrolimus

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.