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What Is Clotrimazole?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2014
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Clotrimazole is a commonly available medication, frequently sold without prescription, that can help treat fungal infections. It is most often used in the treatment of vaginal yeast infections or for conditions like ringworm and jock itch. Along with many other medications, it is called an antifungal drug, because it can reduce and kill excess fungus that creates skin irritation or irritation in the vagina. There are several different preparations of this drug, which may be more or less appropriate depending on the infection it is treating.

Some of the main forms of clotrimazole are lotion or ointment forms, which are topically applied to combat evident fungal infections. These might be placed on the groin area for jock itch, or on any area that showed evidence of ringworm. Since this medicine is over the counter, people who have new evidence of a fungal infection should probably get diagnosis first, unless they’ve frequently suffered this condition and had it diagnosed in the past. Not all itchiness or rash represents infection with fungus, and treatment with clotrimazole that is not resolving a condition may suggest other medicines are needed.

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Another way in which clotrimazole is dispensed is in a dissolving ovule or vaginal suppository. This is very often used for yeast infections, and sometimes the suppository is a single dose that helps resolve the infection within a week or two. Many women prefer this form of the medication because it can be significantly less messy than using applicators containing lotions or ointments. As the ovule breaks up, it can be a little leaky. Using a sanitary napkin might be advisable if women plan to be active after use, or inserting the suppository at night can help eliminate leakage issues.

An additional form of this medicine treats oral yeast infections. People may suck on a quick dissolving form of the drug if they have thrush. The oral form of this drug may require a prescription.

There are generally not that many side effects associated with clotrimazole. Some people feel that the treated skin or vaginal interior feels warm, and skin may look red or more irritated right after use. With many topical forms, consistent daily use for the recommended time period is needed to resolve the fungal infection. Should the condition not resolve in the suggested time period, people should seek medical help, as they may need a different antifungal or a stronger preparation of medicine.

People should, as always, make sure to discuss any present medical conditions and any medications taken with a doctor prior to use. Though there aren’t that many drug interactions between clotrimazole and other drugs, it’s still always wise to take this step. Moreover, such a discussion can involve accurate diagnosis of conditions, which doctors may find are appropriate indications for clotrimazole or that might warrant treatment with other medicines.

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