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

Nystatin belongs to the group of medications known as antifungals. Nystatin oral medications in liquid form are most often used to treat fungal infections in the mouth.

The liquid and tablets are used to treat a fungal infection of the intestine known as candidiasis. This occurs when the fungus known as Candida albicans overgrows in the intestine as a result of antibiotic or corticosteroid use. The medication may also be used to prevent fungal infections.

The powder can be used to make an oral liquid or added to creams or ointments. The skin cream and ointment are used to treat fungal skin infections. The vaginal cream and vaginal tablets are used to treat vaginal infections caused by Candida albicans.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking 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 take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Topical Cream

Each g of aqueous, perfumed vanishing cream base contains nystatin USP 100,000 units. Nonmedicinal ingredients: aluminum hydroxide gel, ceteareth-15, glyceryl monostearate, methylparaben, perfume 9128-Y, polyethylene glycol-400 monostearate, propylene glycol, propylparaben, purified water, simethicone emulsion, sodium hydroxide, sorbitol solution, titanium dioxide, and white petrolatum.

Vaginal Cream

Each g contains nystatin USP 25,000 units. Nonmedicinal ingredients: aluminum hydroxide gel, methylparaben, promulgen-D, propylene glycol, propylparaben, purified water, simethicone emulsion, and white petrolatum. Sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid to adjust the pH.

How should I use this medication?

Oral suspension (ready-made liquid or powder mixed with liquid): The recommended dose of nystatin oral suspension for prevention or treatment of candida infections in infants and children with mouth or intestinal infections is 100,000 units (1 mL of suspension) 3 or 4 times daily, dropped onto the tongue and then swallowed. In some cases the solution should be held in the mouth for some time and gargled before swallowing.

For young infants and children, the solution may be mixed with milk, lukewarm formula, jam, or peanut butter. For adults, the usual dose is 400,000 to 600,000 units 4 times daily. Shake the bottle before use. Use an oral syringe to measure each dose of the liquid, as it gives a more accurate measurement than household teaspoons.

Oral tablets: The usual dose is one tablet (500,000 units) 3 times daily. In adults, this dosage can be increased to 2 tablets 3 times daily if necessary.

Skin cream or ointment: Apply cream or ointment liberally to affected areas twice daily or as prescribed by your doctor. Severe fungal infections may require the use of both oral and topical nystatin.

Vaginal cream: The usual dose is one full applicator (5 grams) inserted into the vagina daily. In severe infections, a dose of one applicator every 12 hours may be given. Usually, treatment is given for 2 weeks. Treatment should be continued during menstruation.

Vaginal tablets: The usual dose is one tablet inserted high into the vagina using the applicator, once or twice daily. Usually, treatment is given for 2 weeks. Treatment should be continued during menstruation.

To prevent a relapse, treatment should be continued for at least 48 hours after the symptoms go away, regardless of dosage form.

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 taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take 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 take 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 as directed by your doctor or pharmacist and keep it out of the reach of children.

This medication is 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 listed here. The forms available for the specific brand you have searched are listed under "What form(s) does this medication come in?"

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 nystatin 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.

  • diarrhea
  • nausea or vomiting
  • rash
  • stomach pain
  • vaginal or skin irritation

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • difficulty breathing
  • hives
  • muscle pain
  • rapid heart rate
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome (severe skin rash with blistering and sloughing off of the skin)
  • swelling of the face

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.

Diabetes: Nystatin suspension contains significant amounts of sucrose. If you have diabetes, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Pregnancy: The safety of nystatin for use during pregnancy has not been established. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

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

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that 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. 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.