Clioquinol (Topical)

Clioquinol topical treatment is used in the treatment of skin infections.


Clioquinol topical cream is used to treat minor fungal and bacterial skin infections.

The medication belongs to a class of medicines known as anti-infectives. It works by killing and preventing the spread of the bacteria or fungus that cause minor skin infections.

In Canada, clioquinol is sold under the brand name, Vioform. You can buy clioquinol over-the-counter from your pharmacist, and it is available without the need for a prescription from your GP.

Conditions treated

  • skin infections

Type of medicine

  • anti-infective
  • cream for topical application

Side effects

Some medicines may cause a few unwanted effects, as well as provide effective treatment for the condition they are being used for. Although you may not experience any side effects, you should mention them to your doctor if they do occur.

There are no serious side effects noted for clioquinol cream. However, some patients may experience localized itching or reddening of the skin around the application site. It is important not to confuse the symptoms of your skin infection with any side effects that may or may not be caused by the drug. To err on the side of caution, you should mention any unwanted effects to your GP or dermatologist.

If you do experience skin irritation or a burning sensation immediately after applying the cream, wash the area thoroughly with mild soap and warm water and dry it thoroughly. Do not use the cream again. Refer to your doctor for more advice and guidance.


Prior to applying clioquinol cream, you should wash the treatment area with mild, antibacterial soap and clean, warm water. Dry the area thoroughly; pat the skin dry, rather than rubbing it. Wash the towel to prevent spreading the infection.

Keep the cream well away from your eyes. If you accidentally get the cream in your eyes, use clean, warm water to flush your eyes.

In order for clioquinol cream to work properly, you must leave the infected skin open to the air. Do not cover the site with a bandage, dressing, or other form of airtight covering. Covering the site may encourage the bacteria that caused the infection to proliferate and could also cause too much of the medicine to be absorbed through the skin. If you are unsure about how to use the medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist for further guidance.

Correct use of clioquinol cream

To treat the area of infected skin, apply a thin coating of cream to the affected site and gently rub it in.

In order to make sure that the infection has been treated effectively and to prevent a recurrence, you must use the cream for the full recommended treatment duration, even if your skin appears to have improved before this time.

Note that the dose of clioquinol will vary between patients. Follow the instructions given on the product packaging or as directed by your GP. The information given here is based solely on the average dose of this drug. If your instructions are different, do not change the dose unless you are told to do so by your dermatologist or GP.

The quantity of the cream that you will use will depend on the number of applications required per day, the time you leave between treatments, and the duration of your course of treatment. All these factors may vary, depending on the strength of the preparation and the skin condition that you are using clioquinol to treat.

To treat fungal or bacterial skin infections (cream):

  • Adults and children over two years of age: apply the cream to the infected skin area twice or thrice daily.

Note that clioquinol is not recommended for use on children under the age of two. Ask your GP for an alternative treatment if your child is affected.

If you forget to apply a dose of clioquinol cream, try to do so as soon as you realize your omission. If it is nearly time for the next application, miss out the omitted dose and just revert to your original dosing schedule. Do not apply extra cream in an attempt to make up for the dose that you missed.


Some medication should not be used in tandem with other drugs, as there could be an unwanted interaction between them. However, if it is applicable to use two drugs together to best treat your condition, then your GP may recommend this course of action. You may find that the dose of one or both of your medicines is adjusted to compensate for the interaction between them. Alternatively, your GP may suggest ways in which you can mitigate the effects of any interactions that do occur.

If you are already using any forms of medication, either for your skin condition or for other health problems, always tell your doctor before starting to use clioquinol cream. This includes non-prescription items, such as common cold remedies, vitamin supplements, and herbal preparations.

Some drugs or medications should not be used at the same time as eating or with certain food groups as they may cause an interaction to occur. In the same way, drinking alcohol or using tobacco products might trigger unwanted interactions. Before starting treatment with clioquinol, talk to your doctor about any potential interactions of this medication with tobacco, alcohol, or food.


Some other medical problems can affect how clioquinol cream works. If you have any other existing or historical medical conditions, you should mention these to your doctor, prior to commencing treatment with clioquinol cream.

In particular, if you have ever suffered from kidney disease or liver disease, clioquinol cream should only be used with caution.

You are advised to only use clioquinol cream for one week. If your skin condition shows no signs of improvement after a week or so, or if you think it is becoming worse, you should refer to your doctor. It may be that your skin infection requires a stronger, prescription medication to clear it up completely.

Clioquinol cream is not suitable for use on very large areas of infected skin or on sizeable, open skin lesions. If you are unsure whether or not to use clioquinol cream, ask your pharmacist or doctor.

When clioquinol cream is exposed to the air, it may become yellow in color. This could cause staining of your skin, nails, or hair, which will gradually wear off. However, you should avoid getting clioquinol cream on your clothes, as the stains will not come out readily, even with bleaching.

Prior to attending for any form of medical tests, you should inform the treating physician or nurse that you are using clioquinol cream. This medication can affect some test results.

There is no evidence to suggest that using clioquinol cream can affect unborn babies. However, if you are pregnant, you should discuss using this drug with your doctor and weigh the benefits against the risks.

It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. With this in mind, you might want to consider using a suitable baby formula to feed your infant until you have finished your course of treatment. If the skin infection that you are using clioquinol cream to treat is in the area of your breasts, do not continue breastfeeding.


Keep your supply of clioquinol cream in its original container. Store the medication at room temperature, and keep it away from heat sources, moisture, and direct sunlight. This medication is not suitable for freezing.

Keep the cream well away from children and pets. If a pet does get hold of the medicine and eats it, consult your veterinary surgeon without delay.

Do not keep any clioquinol cream that has exceeded its use-by date.

When you have finished your course of treatment, you should dispose of any leftover cream. Do not keep an opened container of medication for future use.

Dispose of unwanted clioquinol cream responsibly. Do not put it down the drain or toilet, and ensure that containers of leftover cream are placed in a sealed bag, before placing them in your trash.


Clioquinol cream is used in the treatment of minor bacterial and fungal skin conditions. You can buy this drug over-the-counter at your local pharmacy, without the need for a doctor's prescription. However, if your condition does not improve after one week's use of the medication or you think it is getting worse, you should seek medical advice.

Clioquinol cream is safe to use and there are very few recorded side effects experienced by people using it. In addition, there are no recorded drug interactions that would preclude using clioquinol cream with any other forms of medication.

That said, it is important that you follow the instructions on the product package when using the drug to ensure the best results. If you do notice anything unusual and think that you may be allergic to the product, you should stop using it and contact your GP for more advice.