Clotrimazole - Oral

What Is Clotrimazole- Oral?

Oral clotrimazole is a prescription medicine used to treat and prevent a yeast infection in the mouth and/or throat called oral thrush in adults and children aged 3 years and older. It is in a class of drugs called antifungals.

Clotrimazole works by limiting the growth of yeasts. It used to be marketed under the brand name Mycelex, which has since been discontinued. However, it is still available in generic form in a 10-milligram (mg) large, slowly dissolving tablet (lozenge).

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Clotrimazole

Brand Name(s): Mycelex (discontinued)

Drug Availability: Prescription

Administration Route: Oral

Therapeutic Classification: Antifungal

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: No

Active Ingredient: Clotrimazole

Dosage Form(s): Lozenge

What Is Clotrimazole Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved oral clotrimazole to treat oropharyngeal candidiasis or oral thrush—a fungal infection of the mouth or throat. It is also approved to prevent oral thrush in people who are immunocompromised due to chemotherapy, radiation, or steroid medications.

How to Take Clotrimazole

Use this medicine exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to. Follow all the directions on the prescription label. The length of your treatment will depend on the infection being treated.

Clotrimazole is taken as a lozenge, also called a troche, that slowly dissolves in your mouth. When taking the clotrimazole lozenge, follow these instructions:

  • Let the lozenge dissolve in your mouth slowly over 30 minutes
  • Do not chew the lozenge or swallow the lozenge whole

Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have questions about how to take your medication.

Storage

Store the medicine at room temperature away (68 F to 77 F) from moisture and heat. Do not store it in your bathroom. Avoid exposing the medication to freezing temperatures.

Store the medicine out of the reach of children and pets. When traveling, transport the medication in your carry-on or your checked baggage with its original label.

How Long Does Clotrimazole Take to Work?

It takes about 30 minutes for clotrimazole to dissolve in your mouth. Once it has dissolved, the drug starts working right away and lasts up to three hours in saliva.

What Are the Side Effects of Mycelex?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of clotrimazole troches include:

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Unpleasant mouth sensations
  • Itching (pruritus)
  • Abnormal liver function tests

Severe Side Effects

Severe side effects are always possible with all medications, but none have been reported for clotrimazole.

Call your healthcare provider immediately if you have serious side effects. Dial 911 if you think you or someone else is having a medical emergency.

Report Side Effects

Clotrimazole may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Clotrimazole Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For the treatment of thrush:
    • Adults and children 3 years of age and older: Dissolve one 10-milligram lozenge slowly and completely in your mouth; this dose should be taken five times a day for at least fourteen days.
    • Children up to 3 years of age: This medicine is not recommended in children under 3 years of age since they may be too young to use the lozenges safely.
  • For the prevention of thrush:
    • Adults and children 3 years of age and older: Dissolve one 10-milligram lozenge slowly and completely in your mouth; this dose should be taken three times a day.
    • Children up to 3 years of age: This medicine is not recommended in children under 3 years of age since they may be too young to use the lozenges safely.

Modifications

It is not known whether it is harmful to take clotrimazole during pregnancy. Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or may become pregnant. Clotrimazole can be used while breastfeeding, but it's best to talk to your provider about nursing and milk production.

Missed Dose

Do not change your dose or stop taking clotrimazole without talking to your healthcare provider. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Then, take your next dose at its regular time. If it's almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses at once.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Clotrimazole?

There is no data available on clotrimazole overdoses. The drug is generally well-tolerated and safe, but you should only take the prescribed dose. Contact your healthcare provider if you accidentally take more than the recommended amount.

What Happens If I Overdose on Clotrimazole?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on clotrimazole, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or is not breathing after taking clotrimazole, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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If your symptoms do not improve within 1 week, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

What Are the Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Clotrimazole?

Avoid clotrimazole if you are allergic to it. Get emergency medical help right away if you have signs of an allergic reaction like hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

What Other Medications Interact With Clotrimazole?

Certain medications can interact with clotrimazole, which means they can affect how the drug works in the body or cause adverse effects.

Clotrimazole can interact with the following drugs:

This is not a complete list of all medications that may interact with clotrimazole troches. Tell your healthcare provider about all your current medicines, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, vitamins, supplements, and herbal products.

What Medications Are Similar?

Medications that are similar to clotrimazole include:

Fluconazole

Fluconazole treats fungal infections and works in the same way as clotrimazole. However, it is active in more areas of the body. It fights infections in the mouth, throat, esophagus, lungs, bladder, genital area, and blood.

Fluconazole also prevents fungal infections in people with a weak immune system and treats a type of meningitis that occurs in people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or AIDS. It comes in a tablet, liquid (refrigerated), and an injection.

Itraconazole

Itraconazole treats fungal infections and works in the same way as clotrimazole, but it has a broader spectrum of activity. Itraconazole can be used to treat infections in the lungs, mouth, throat, toenails, and fingernails.

Itraconazole can only be used in adults, Clotrimazole can be used in children aged 3 years and older.

Nystatin

Similarly to clotrimazole, nystatin treats fungal infections. It can be used for fungal infections in the mouth, throat, and stomach.

It is available as a tablet and a liquid suspension. When taking liquid nystatin, you need to hold the medicine in your mouth for as long as possible to allow it to stay in contact with the infected area.

This is a list of drugs also prescribed to treat fungal infections. It is NOT a list of medicines recommended to take with clotrimazole. You should not take these drugs together. Talk to your pharmacist or a healthcare provider if you have questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is clotrimazole used for?

    Clotrimazole lozenges treat oral thrush and prevent oral thrush in those with suppressed immune systems.

  • How does clotrimazole work?

    Clotrimazole works by limiting the growth of yeast by weakening its cell membrane. This weakening makes it easier for the drug to enter the yeast and fight it off.

  • How do I stop taking clotrimazole?

    You should always take your medication for the full length of time prescribed, even if you start to feel better. Do not stop taking clotrimazole before the treatment course is complete without talking to your healthcare provider.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Clotrimazole?

Thrush is a fungal infection caused by Candida albicans, a fungus that's also responsible for vaginal yeast infections and diaper rashes. Thrush causes white patches or a white coating in the mouth as well as redness and burning. Thrush can resolve on its own or with home remedies, but in some cases, it requires treatment with prescription medications. This is where clotrimazole comes in.

Each clotrimazole troche must dissolve slowly in the mouth to work. When used in young children, make sure that they understand how to take the medicine and are supervised as they take it. The lozenge is not absorbed through the stomach—it only works in the mouth. It will not treat fungal infections in any other part of your body.

Clotrimazole can cause abnormal liver function tests. Your healthcare provider may monitor your levels. Tell your provider if you have ever had liver disease.

Use this medicine for the prescribed length of time, even if your symptoms improve. Skipping doses can increase the risk of the infection becoming resistant to medication. If you are having trouble remembering to take your medicine, consider setting reminders. Tell your healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen or do not improve.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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