With over 3.5 million prescriptions in the US per year, there’s a good chance that your path will eventually cross with Diflucan. Also known by the generic name fluconazole, this antifungal medication is regularly used to treat a wide range of fungal infections, from athlete’s foot to thrush.
In this article, we will cover the most pertinent information about the drug, so you can have a better idea of what you are taking. How long does it take for Diflucan to work? What conditions can it help with? What are the side effects? Read on to find out the answers to these and other important questions.
What is Diflucan?
Diflucan was first patented by Pfizer in 1981 under the generic name fluconazole, and it first came into commercial use in the UK in 1988.
It is what is called an azole antifungal. These work by inhibiting an important enzyme in the fungus, which in turn stops the production of ergosterol in the fungus’ cells. Ergosterol is the fungal version of cholesterol, vital to building and maintaining cell membranes. Without it, fungal growth is reduced or stopped.
In most doses, Diflucan is fungistatic, meaning that it prevents funguses from growing. Depending on the dose and the type of fungus being treated, it can also act as a fungicide, which means that it actually kills the fungus outright. For normal people, it’s usually up to your immune system to overcome the fungal infection after the growth is stopped.
What is Diflucan Used to Treat?
Diflucan is prescribed to treat a number of different types of fungal infection. These include:
- Athlete’s foot
- Candida fungus infections in the mouth, skin, nails or vagina
- Yeast infection in the vagina and vulva
- Urinary tract infections
- Fungal meningitis
It can also be used in a preventive capacity in cases where there is a heightened risk of infection, such as in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and people with AIDS.
How Do You Take Diflucan?
First and foremost, you should carefully follow your doctor’s instructions in terms of the dosage and frequency.
Diflucan comes in capsules of 50mg, 100mg, 150mg, and 200mg strengths. It is also available as an oral suspension in 350mg and 1400mg versions, and when dissolved in water each milliliter contains 10mg and 40mg respectively. It also comes as an injection in volumes of 100mL and 200mL, with each milliliter containing 2mg of the drug.
Dosages vary depending on the type of infection you are trying to treat. For example, first-time vaginal infections are usually only treated with one pill, whereas other infections can require a longer period of use. Your doctor may tell you to double up on your first dose. Dosages generally range from 50mg to 400mg. Kids shouldn’t exceed 600mg in one day.
It is very important to keep taking the medication for as long as your doctor instructed, even if your symptoms have improved. The original infection might not actually be gone yet. Plus, you put yourself at risk of reinfection by certain strains of the fungus that are resistant to medication.
How Long Does It Take for Diflucan To Work?
For the majority of conditions that Diflucan is used to treat, a course of at least two weeks is necessary. The drug usually begins to work the same day that you take it, generally within one or two hours.
However, depending on what it is being used to treat, it can take three days for your symptoms to start to improve. As mentioned, antifungals are often used to contain the growth of fungus and your immune system is supposed to do the rest about the infection. It can be at least a week before the symptoms disappear, but again, it can be longer depending on your condition.
Diflucan has a range of potential side effects. The most common ones are:
- Abdominal pain
- Elevated liver enzymes
Less common side effects include:
- QT prolongation
- Torsades de pointes
- Hair loss
- Allergic reactions
- Difficulty breathing
- Liver failure
- Pale skin
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome
- Taste perversion
- Toxic epidermal necrolysis
Reasons to Not Take Diflucan
There are a number of conditions that call for the use of this medication, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. If in any doubt, consult your physician and mention your pre-existing condition.
Pregnant women should not take Diflucan, as the FDA has stated that taking high doses of the medication during the first trimester has been linked with a specific range of birth defects. Breastfeeding mothers should also refrain from this medicine, as it is secreted in breast milk.
Patients with hypersensitivity and those at risk of complications related to a prolonged QT interval should also avoid using the drug.
There is also an extensive number of negative drug interactions that can occur when using this medication. Diflucan should not be taken in conjunction with the following medicines:
- Naloxegol (> 12.5mg)
- Ranolazine (> 500mg bid)
- Avanafil (> 50mg)
- Fluvastatin (> 20mg bid)
- Vardenafil (> 5mg)
This list is merely of drugs with potentially the most dangerous interactions with Diflucan. There are many more that the medication can interact with. Check the label, and inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications before accepting a prescription for this drug.
Freeing Yourself from Fungus
Diflucan is Pfizer’s brand name for the antifungal drug fluconazole. It is regularly prescribed to treat yeast infections, candida, athlete’s foot, ringworm, and many other fungal infections. It is very important to take it for the full period as prescribed, or else you risk the infection returning and becoming resistant to medications.
How long does it take for Diflucan to work? The drug gets to work within two hours of taking it, but it can take at least three days for your symptoms to start getting better. It will usually take at least a week for symptoms to go away. The antifungal stops the growth of fungus but it’s up to your body to recover from the infection.