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Nystatin is an antifungal medication.

Pronunciation: nye-STA-tin

What are nystatin’s uses?

It is used to treat fungal infections such as candidiasis (thrush) of the skin, mouth and vagina. Usage also includes preventing oral thrush in an infant born to mothers with vaginal thrush.

It works by killing or slowing the growth of sensitive fungi.

What dosage should you take?

Topical: Apply two to four times daily.

Oral: Liquid suspension (mixed with water): Insert 1 to 2ml into the mouth, four times daily, increased to 4 to 6ml four times daily for severe infections.

Cream or ointment: Apply twice daily to affected area for up to 10 days.

However, first check the correct dosage with your Clicks pharmacist.

What special precautions should you take?

  • Use with care if you have an allergy to nystatin or any other allergies.
  • Safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding but consult with your doctor before taking it.
  • Avoid sexual intercourse or use a condom to prevent the infection from spreading to your partner.
  • Absorption from intact skin and mucous membranes can occur but it’s negligible.
  • For intertriginous areas (where two skin areas may touch), the cream is preferred to the ointment.
  • Relief of symptoms only occurs 24 to 72 hours after starting use.
  • Treatment for 14 days is usually adequate but prolonged therapy may be required.
  • Candida resistance may develop.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule.

What drug interactions could you experience?

As a rule, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or planning to take to ensure you don’t suffer the effects of adverse drug interactions.

Avoid using any other vaginal cream or douches at the same time as nystatin unless your doctor approves.

What are nystatin’s side effects?

Side effects symptoms from the vaginal tablets and cream or skin ointment or cream could include:

  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Burning

If you experience any of the following symptoms from the oral tablets and liquid, call your doctor immediately:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Rash

This is not a complete list of side effects. It’s essential that you call your doctor should you notice any severe or odd side effects.

What are the overdose symptoms?

An overdose with nystatin is unlikely to cause serious problems as it’s poorly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Other factors could cause problems, however. For example, a child who mistakenly ingests nystatin ointment could develop problems due to the white petrolatum (“petroleum jelly”) in the ointment. Look out for any allergic reactions and call your doctor immediately.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in August 2015