Diflucan (Fluconazole) Oral: Uses, Side Effects, Dosages – Verywell Health

Karen Berger, PharmD, is a community pharmacist and medical writer/reviewer.
Diflucan (fluconazole) is an orally administered prescription drug used to treat and prevent various fungal infections in adults and children, including thrush (oral) and vaginal yeast infections resulting from differing types of naturally occurring Candida fungus. Diflucan also treats fungal meningitis.
Diflucan is categorized as an azole antifungal and works by slowing the growth of fungus. Specifically, azole antifungals are a subgroup of the larger antifungal drug class.
The active ingredient in Diflucan is fluconazole.
Fluconazole is available as a generic product that can be administered in multiple forms, including oral tablets or liquid suspension (a liquid to be swallowed with small amounts of a drug).
However, this article will focus on Diflucan, a brand-name drug administered either through oral tablets or as a powder for liquid suspension.

Generic Name: Fluconazole
Brand Name(s): Diflucan
Drug Availability: Prescription
Therapeutic Classification: Azole antifungal
Available Generically: Yes
Controlled Substance: N/A
Administration Route: Oral
Active Ingredient: Fluconazole
Dosage Form(s): Tablet, powder for liquid suspension
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Diflucan for the following:
Diflucan is effective against varying types of Candida fungus that can lead to yeast infections, such as Candida parapsilosis, Candida tropicalis, and Cryptococcus neoformans.
If you are prescribed Diflucan:
Store Diflucan tablets or suspension at room temperature, away from heat, direct light, and moisture. Do not store it in the bathroom or freeze the medication.
Discard any unused oral suspension after 14 days. Keep this medication in its original labeled container and out of reach of children and pets. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

Sometimes Diflucan is used off-label for indications that are not FDA-approved.
Healthcare providers may prescribe Diflucan for off-label use for the following:
In short, the time for recovery depends on the fungal infection you are using Diflucan to treat.
For a vaginal yeast infection, you may start to feel better quickly, after one dose, although some females may require a second dose. For other types of Candida infections, it may take a few days or weeks to feel better.
Even if you feel better, it is important to take Diflucan for the full prescribed length of treatment to make sure the infection is completely treated.
This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.
Common side effects associated with the use of Diflucan include:
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
Serious side effects and their symptoms associated with the use of Diflucan may include the following:
Taking Diflucan for a short time is unlikely to cause long-term side effects. However, in some cases, long-term side effects could occur in people taking Diflucan for an extended period.
In a clinical study of people who took Diflucan for 28 days or longer for coccidioidomycosis, the most common side effects were dry skin, hair loss, and fatigue.
Another clinical trial studied people who took Diflucan once weekly for six months to prevent vaginal yeast infections. In this study, the medication was found to be tolerated well, with mild side effects, and most people were able to take the medication for the entire six months.

Diflucan may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
Potential users should note the following regarding the consumption of Diflucan:
You may need to use caution when taking Diflucan if you are 65 years or older, especially if you have kidney problems. People of any age with kidney problems may need a reduced dosage.
A dosage adjustment is generally not required for females with vaginal yeast infections who take a one-dose regimen of Diflucan. People with liver problems, however, should consult their healthcare provider.
Females of childbearing age should use an effective form of birth control while taking Diflucan and for at least one week after the last dose. Discuss effective forms of birth control with your healthcare provider.
Pregnant females will generally not be prescribed Diflucan, especially in the first trimester, due to the risk of harm to the unborn baby.
Diflucan may be prescribed in rare cases where the benefits of treatment outweigh the risk to the unborn baby, for example, in a severe or life-threatening infection where no alternative treatment is available.
Females who are breastfeeding should consult their healthcare provider before using Diflucan. This medication is generally considered safe for breastfeeding mothers.
If you miss a dose of Diflucan, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not take extra doses to make up for a missed dose.
Taking too much Diflucan can cause hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist) and paranoid behavior (unrealistic distrust of others).

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Diflucan, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).
If someone collapses or isn’t breathing after taking Diflucan, call 911 immediately.
It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
If your or your child's symptoms do not improve, or if they become worse, check with your doctor. Continue to take this medicine as directed.
You or your child should not use erythromycin (Ery-Tab®), pimozide (Orap®), or quinidine (Cardioquin®) while using this medicine because of the risk of unwanted side effects.
Using this medicine for a long time or using it too much while you are pregnant (especially during the first trimester) can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control during treatment with this medicine and for at least 1 week after the last dose. If you think you have become pregnant while using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.
This medicine may rarely cause serious liver problems. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have stomach pain or tenderness, clay-colored stools, dark urine, decreased appetite, fever, headache, itching, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, skin rash, swelling of the feet or lower legs, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin.
This medicine may rarely cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash, itching, hives, hoarseness, trouble with breathing, trouble with swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine.
Serious skin reactions can occur in certain people during treatment with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child start having a skin rash, itching, or any other skin changes while using this medicine.
Contact your doctor right away if you have any changes to your heart rhythm. You might feel dizzy or faint, or you might have a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat. Make sure your doctor knows if you or anyone in your family has ever had a heart rhythm problem including QT prolongation.
This medicine may cause adrenal gland problems. Check with your doctor right away if you have darkening of the skin, diarrhea, dizziness, fainting, loss of appetite, mental depression, nausea, skin rash, unusual tiredness or weakness, or vomiting.
This medicine may cause some people to become dizzy, drowsy, or less alert than they are normally. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Diflucan is not appropriate for everyone.
Before taking Diflucan, tell your healthcare provider about your medical conditions, medical history, and family history.
You should not take this medication if you are allergic to fluconazole, similar antifungals, or any inactive ingredients in Diflucan. 
Other people who should not take Diflucan include:
Diflucan may be prescribed with caution in some people only if the healthcare provider determines it is safe. This includes:
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and vitamins or supplements.
While taking Diflucan, do not start any new medications without approval from your healthcare provider. Some drugs that may interact with Diflucan include:
Certain drugs should not be taken with Diflucan, while others may need a dosage adjustment and close monitoring.
Consult your healthcare provider for more information and a complete list of drug interactions.
Depending on the type of fungal infection, you may require different antifungals. Some fungal infections will require more prolonged treatment and may even require preventive medication.
Examples of other oral antifungals include:
Various topical and vaginal antifungal medications can be used alone or in combination with oral antifungal medications. These come in both prescription and OTC forms.
This list is a list of drugs also prescribed for fungal infections. It is not a list of medicines recommended to take with Diflucan. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions.

Diflucan works to treat or prevent certain types of fungal infections by slowing the growth of fungus.
Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion, headache, rash, altered taste, and dizziness. Serious side effects may occur. Before taking Diflucan, discuss potential side effects with your healthcare provider.

Your healthcare provider will tell you how long to take Diflucan. Take Diflucan exactly as directed. Do not stop taking it early, even if you start feeling better; doing so may cause the infection to return.
Fungal infections can be uncomfortable, but fortunately, medications like Diflucan can treat or prevent them.
While taking Diflucan, follow the instructions exactly. Ask your healthcare provider if you are unsure how or when to take your medication.
Diflucan can interact with many medications, so before starting this medicine, tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you take. This includes prescription and OTC drugs, vitamins, and supplements.
While taking Diflucan, do not start any new medications unless your healthcare provider tells you it is safe. You can also ask your healthcare provider if you should follow any other tips or precautions.
For example, Diflucan is commonly prescribed in females with vaginal yeast infections, so it can be helpful to learn how to prevent them.
Some tips to help prevent vaginal yeast infections include:
Verywell Health’s drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.
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DailyMed. Label: flucanazole powder, for suspension.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. Diflucan-fluconazole tablet, diflucan-fluconazole powder, for suspension.
Prescribers' Digital Reference. Fluconazole – drug summary.
MedlinePlus. Fluconazole.
Davis MR, Nguyen MH, Donnelley MA, et al. Tolerability of long-term fluconazole therapy. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2019;74(3):768-771. doi:10.1093/jac/dky501
Sobel JD, Wiesenfeld HC, Martens M, et al. Maintenance fluconazole therapy for recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasisN Engl J Med. 2004;351(9):876-883. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa033114
Gupta AK, Versteeg SG, Shear NH. Common drug-drug interactions in antifungal treatments for superficial fungal infectionsExpert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2018;14(4):387-398. doi:10.1080/17425255.2018.1461834
United States Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health. Vaginal yeast infections.
By Karen Berger, PharmD
Karen Berger, PharmD, is a community pharmacist and medical writer/reviewer.

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