The People's Perspective on Medicine

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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I was prescribed fluconazole 50mg daily for 3 months to treat recurring yeast infections. I only took it for 3 weeks because I started noticing substantial hair loss and decided to do some research. Now (7 weeks later) my hair is still thinning, but thankfully not as much as it was when I was taking the tablets.

As a young female I am so upset about this. I am concerned like many others that my hair will keep falling out and that it won’t grow back! There doesn’t seem to be any reliable information out there on whether the hair loss is reversible.

Extremely concerning and upsetting that hair loss is not flagged as a side effect for this drug.

I would love to hear from anyone who has information about this, especially any stories of people whose hair eventually grew back!

My hair started out OK on Fluconazole although the texture became weak and fine towards the end of my treatment and my skin was horribly dry from the first day. I was only on it (200mg daily) for 8 days. Since I’ve stopped, my hair is shedding like crazy. It sheds in the shower, it falls all over my bathroom floor, it comes out with tons of strands when I put my hands through my hair.

I can now see my scalp and I’ve had to buy a wig. I have never had this issue with a medication in my life. My doctor put me on it because we “thought” I had a fungal infection which I do not have an it was actually hives from food allergies. He didn’t do any testing and just prescribed it like candy and told me to see him for liver testing once I was done. I’m losing faith in the medical community.

Where is the disclosure, the forewarning, the in depth explanation of what side effects people will face…. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that you absolutely need to be your own advocate because at the end of the day, the only person who really cares about your health and your future is you. Educate yourselves and don’t put faith and trust in people just because they wear titles.

There are other antifungals that don’t cause this side effect but I guess it wasn’t a priority for him to explain that to me. Now I have a $4000 wig and no clue if my hair will ever recover because I placed trust where I shouldn’t have.

Taking two pills of 100 mg Fluconazol along with Nistatin which were prescribed by a GP for my candidiasis. I noticed a heavy and sudden hair loss that affected my beard on top of my head’s hairs consorted with sticky feeling in my eyes ,constantly tearing.
I guess the fluconazol to have been the driving force behind these side effects .
I lost about one third of my hairs in just a few days.
Now after about three weeks although the severity of my hair loss has diminished ,it seems the remaining hairs are still weak and vulnerable.

I am concerned whether my hairs will grow back.
Kindly specify your comment
Regards

Took one dose of fluconazole for thrush. The side effects were awful… experienced stomach and digestive issues, terrible headaches, temperature and generally so ill. The annoying thing, completely my fault, I didn’t even question the GP when I was told it was better than pessary. I didn’t think about it.

It wasn’t until after that I found out the horrific side effects which can include liver problems although it says it is rare. I am keeping my fingers crossed that despite my experience with this drug maybe one dose wont leave me with any long term problems. I’m really annoyed as I would have preferred pessary and cream. I can’t understand why a doctor would put a patient in this situation for a mild case of thrush with hardly any symptoms.

I too am now suffering hair loss after 3 months on fluconazole. How long before the shedding stops?

I too am having the same problem! Had blood tests run and everything has come back normal. I discontinued taking the medication over a week ago. I was taking 200mg of Flucanozole (Difulcan) for 4 months 1x a week and noticed after about a month my hair starting to fall out. After several trips to my doctor and then to my neurologist we finally figured out it was the Difulcan. I just went to my Podiatrist to today and he said he has never had a patient with this side effect. How long before you saw improvement with your hair loss and did if finally stop after you stopped taking the medication? He told me the Difucan should stay in my body another 45 days but I have read people still continue to have problems for months! Any information you have would be helpful! I feel like I am starting to lose my mind! Thanks for listening… hopefully you have good news for me! Thanks!!

I took Diflucan in Spring 2013 and just now realized that the severe hair loss I have been experiencing since then is likely due to the Diflucan. It is devastating! My daughter is getting married and bald spots were not part of my plan for looking my best. I will made an appointment with a dermatologist first thing tomorrow!

I took one dose of diflocan and it didn’t work. Eventually, the yeast infection went away on its own.

I took diflucan for 5-6 months for a fungal infection. I don’t know if the diflucan caused the hair loss for sure, but there was no other reason that could be found (thyroid and other tests were normal). Hair loss was severe and continued over time – it’s like the hair cells were killed off somehow and so the hair continued to thin even long after I stopped the diflucan. I am female, so this has been devastating. Oh, and the other part of it is that the diflucan didn’t work for the toenail fungus problem it was prescribed for.

I used diflucan on and off to treat chronic yeast infection and suffered hair loss for almost 3 years without realizing it was due to the diflucan. I decided to stop taking it as a treatment because I wasn’t getting permanent relief. After 4 months the shedding/hair loss slowed dramatically. That’s when I realized diflucan was the problem.

I have also taken fluconazole. Now my hair is falling out. I have checked with doctors and have gotten nowhere. How long did you have hair loss? Did it come back?

The use of fluconazole has caused me to suffer severe hair loss. Even though I discontinued the drug several weeks ago the hair loss is continuing. I am more than a little concerned.
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: HAIR LOSS AND RECOVERY MAY LAG DRUG USE BY SEVERAL WEEKS.

I’ve taken fluconazole two times for about 20 days each time because of thrush. I had chemo therapy and radiation and my doctor said that is why I got thrush. The fluconazole does not seem to be working and it is very expensive. I also started taking liquid acidopholous but nothing seems to work. Do you have any other suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

I’ve taken fluconazole two times for about 20 days each time because of thrush. I had chemo therapy and radiation and my doctor said that is why I got thrush. The fluconazole does not seem to be working and it is very expensive. I also started taking liquid acidopholous but nothing seems to work. Do you have any other suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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