Fluconazole

  • Fluconazole is an antifungal medicine.
  • You can take it at any time of day, either before or after a meal.
  • It is prescribed as a single dose for vaginal thrush.
  • Longer courses are used for other fungal infections.
Type of medicine Antifungal
Used for Treatment of fungal infections such as thrush and infections of the skin and the gut
Prevention and treatment of fungal infections in people with a lowered immune system
Also called Diflucan®
Canesten® 150 mg capsules
Available as Capsules, oral liquid and injection

Many types of fungi live harmlessly on our skin and in other places in the environment. However, some types of fungi can thrive and multiply on the surface of our bodies to cause infections of the skin, mouth or vagina. The most common fungi to cause skin infections are the tinea group of fungi. A common infection of the mouth and vagina is called thrush which is caused by an overgrowth of Candida. Candida is a yeast which is a type of fungus.

Fungal infections of the skin, vagina and mouth are quite common but rarely serious and don't usually spread deeper into the body. However, if your immune system is not working properly, you may be at risk of developing an internal fungal infection and so may be prescribed fluconazole to prevent this.

Fluconazole works by killing yeast and fungi. Fluconazole is available on prescription, or you can buy it at pharmacies, without a prescription, for vaginal thrush.

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start taking fluconazole it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have kidney or liver problems.
  • If you have heart rhythm problems.
  • If you have porphyria (a rare blood disorder).
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines. This is important because fluconazole can interfere with many other medicines and cause problems.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
  • Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of fluconazole you have been given, and any possible side-effects from taking it.
  • Take fluconazole exactly as your doctor has told you. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how much to take and when to take it. Your dose will also be on the label of the pack.
  • Fluconazole can be taken at any time of day, and can be taken either before or after a meal.
  • Fluconazole is taken as a single 150 mg capsule to treat vaginal thrush. Swallow the capsule with a drink of water.
  • If you have been prescribed a course of fluconazole, you should keep taking the capsules or liquid each day until the course is finished, unless you are told to stop. The length of the course you have been prescribed will depend on the type of infection you have, but is likely to range from seven days to several weeks.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, speak again with your pharmacist or doctor.
  • If you are taking a course of fluconazole, you may need to have blood tests if you are taking it for more than one month. Remember to keep any appointments that are booked with your doctor so your progress can be checked.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with fluconazole.
  • Taking fluconazole has occasionally caused dizziness or fits in some people. If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common fluconazole side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling or being sick, stomach pains, wind, diarrhoea Stick to simple foods and drink plenty of water
Headache Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Skin rash Let your doctor know about this

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that someone has taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
  • This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
  • Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
  • If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
  • Manufacturer's PIL, Diflucan® 150 Capsules,; Manufacturer's PIL, Diflucan® 150 Capsules, Pfizer Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated February 2011.
  • Manufacturer's PIL, Diflucan® Caps 50 mg, 200 mg; Manufacturer's PIL, Diflucan® Caps 50 mg, 200 mg, Pfizer Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2011.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Hannah Gronow
Document ID:
3471 (v24)
Last Checked:
20/02/2012
Next Review:
19/02/2015
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