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Fluconazole is the first-choice oral antifungal medicine
vaginal yeast infection. Itraconazole is also commonly
Ketoconazole was the first medicine that was effective in
getting rid of acute vaginal yeast infections. But it is not widely used now,
because it may damage the liver.
These antifungal medicines kill yeast
Oral medicines can be used:
Antifungal treatments cure
infections 80% to 90% of the time.1 (In some cases, the less common types of yeast infections may
respond better to vaginal treatment or to
boric acid suppositories.2) Oral medicines do not provide immediate
relief of symptoms, so vaginal medicines may also be needed in the first 48 hours
you have recurring yeast infections, you may want to ask your doctor about
taking antifungal medicines as maintenance or suppressive treatment. This means
taking the medicine weekly or monthly for 6 months to 1 year. This long-term
use of antifungal medicine is likely to reduce the recurrence of vaginal yeast infections.3
But after women stop taking the medicines, 30 to 40 out of 100 of them get another
vaginal infection that has symptoms.2
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor right away if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
Women who use several months of
maintenance treatment for recurring vaginal yeast infections should have
regular checkups to watch for side
effects and to find out how well treatment is working.
Treatment of sex partners does not typically prevent
a yeast infection from recurring. But sex partners with red, itchy, or painful skin in the genital
area should be seen by a doctor and treated if needed.
Women who have a vaginal yeast infection and who have HIV should follow the same treatment regimens as women who have a vaginal yeast infection and do not have
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010).
Vulvovaginal candidiasis section of Sexually transmitted diseases treatment
guidelines 2010. MMWR, 59(RR-12):
61–63. Also available online: http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/default.htm.
Eschenbach DA (2008). Vaginitis section of Pelvic
infections and sexually transmitted diseases. In RS Gibbs et al., eds.,
Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10th ed., pp. 608–612. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Spence D (2010). Candidiasis (vulvovaginal), search
date March 2009. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence:
November 5, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Deborah A. Penava, BA, MD, FRCSC, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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