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Fluconazole

Fluconazole

Overview

Diflucan is the first in a group of antifungal medicines that also includes Nizoral and Sporanox. It is prescribed as a single-dose treatment for vaginal yeast infections. It is also used to treat thrush and has been prescribed for cryptococcal meningitis in patients with HIV.

Side Effects and Interactions

Side effects that have been reported with Diflucan include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, and stomach pain. Liver enzymes occasionally become elevated and should be monitored. Other side effects may include headache, dizziness upon standing up suddenly, rash, and changes in taste. Serious allergic reactions including trouble breathing and shock (anaphylaxis) have occurred rarely. Report any symptoms to the physician promptly.

Although Diflucan works by inhibiting CYP 450 enzymes in fungus, CYP 450 enzymes in mammals, including humans, seem less affected.

An interaction study found that Diflucan has no effect on blood levels of Seldane. Diflucan does, however, interact with certain other medications: Coumadin, oral blood-sugar-lowering medicines such as DiaBeta, throphylline, and the transplant drugs cyclosporine and tacrolimus. Such combinations should be avoided whenever possible. Careful monitoring is required if both drugs are needed. Women on birth control pills were given Diflucan in studies.

Although most women had higher blood levels of the components of The Pill, some had decreases up to 47 percent of ethinyl estradiol and 33 percent of levonorgestrel. It is not known whether this could compromise contraceptive efficacy. Diflucan interacts with AZT (zidovudine), Dilantin, hydrochlorothiazide and rifampin. Check with your physician and pharmacist to make sure this medicine is safe in combination with any other drug you may take.

Special Precautions

In rare cases, Diflucan has caused liver damage. Liver function should be monitored. Patients who develop rashes while taking Diflucan must be followed closely, since some cases of life-threatening skin reactions began as rashes.

Taking the Medicine

Follow the instructions your doctor gives you. Tablets should be stored at room temperature, below 86. Oral suspension is stored between 41 and 86 degrees. Do not freeze.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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