Nystatin for oral thrush

  • Using the dropper provided, drop 1 ml of suspension into your mouth four times a day.
  • Continue to use nystatin for as long as you have been told to, otherwise your symptoms may come back.
  • If your symptoms do not improve after using nystatin, speak with your doctor.
Type of medicine Antifungal
Used for Treatment of fungal infections in the mouth or throat
Also called Nystan®
Available as Oral suspension (drops)

Thrush is an infection caused by the Candida yeast fungus. Fungal infections in the mouth are called oral thrush. In oral thrush the mouth becomes sore and red, and white spots sometimes develop. Certain situations or conditions may cause an overgrowth of Candida in the mouth, which can lead to a bout of oral thrush. These include wearing dentures, after a course of antibiotics, using corticosteroid inhalers, having diabetes or anaemia, being in poor health, and smoking.

Nystatin drops work by killing the Candida fungus causing the mouth infection.

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

  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine.
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about how to use nystatin drops. If you have been given any additional information by your doctor, read this also.
  • Use nystatin exactly as you have been told. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you what to do.
  • Shake the bottle well before you use the drops. Use 1 ml (to the line on the dropper) four times a day, and space the doses evenly throughout the day. Use the dropper to place the liquid inside your mouth near to the affected areas. Try to swish the suspension around your mouth and then keep it on the affected areas for as long as possible before you swallow. Most people find it best to use the drops after they have eaten or had a drink, as you should not eat or drink for at least 30 minutes after using nystatin. This helps to prevent the medicine from being washed out of your mouth too soon. Keep using this medicine for as long as you have been directed (usually seven days) unless you are told to stop. To help make sure your infection does not return, you should continue to use the drops for two days after your symptoms disappear.
  • If you forget a dose of nystatin, don't worry; just use the drops as usual when your next dose is due. Do not 'double up' to make up for a missed dose.
  • If your symptoms have not improved within seven days, speak with your doctor.
  • If you wear dentures, make sure you clean and disinfect your dentures each day. Remove them at bedtime, as not taking them out at night is thought to be one of the most common causes of oral thrush.
  • If you have diabetes, test for sugar in your blood or urine regularly to check that your diabetes is being controlled. Good control of your blood sugar level reduces the risk of thrush and other infections.
  • If you use steroid inhalers, check that you have a good inhaler technique. Using a spacer device may help to reduce the risk of thrush. Also, rinse your mouth after using your inhaler to help remove any drug particles left in your mouth.
  • If you are a smoker, stopping smoking may help to prevent further bouts of oral thrush.

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.

Occasional nystatin side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
Mouth irritation or sensitivity This should soon pass. If it becomes troublesome, or if your mouth becomes swollen, speak with your doctor
Feeling or being sick If this happens, drink plenty of water and avoid rich or spicy foods
Diarrhoea If this happens, drink plenty of water

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.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
  • Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. 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; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
  • Manufacturer's PIL, Nystan® Oral Suspension; Manufacturer's PIL, Nystan® Oral Suspension, E. R. Squibb & Sons Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated March 2010.

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 John Cox
Document ID:
3621 (v26)
Last Checked:
13/06/2012
Next Review:
13/06/2015
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