Clotrimazole, Topical Route

Clotrimazole is a topical anti-fungal medication used to treat onset and recurring yeast and skin infections.

Overview

Clotrimazole topical treats fungal infections; most of the skin conditions are common, such as athlete’s foot, toenail infections and jock itch. Other skin conditions include infections include diaper rash, ringworm, and discolored skin patches.

Most episodes related to weak immune systems or interactions with particular medicines like antibiotics or steroids. Sometimes it’s caused by an imbalance of hormones, stress, and particular foods.

The curing process varies from person to person and clearing up the infection may take several days or weeks. If the symptoms clear up in a few days, be sure to continue applying the medicine as instructed by your doctor. If the symptoms persist even after finishing the medication, talk with your doctor.

Be sure to apply the medication to the treated area only because the skin can absorb it activating systemic effects. The infection may enter the bloodstream, leading to life-threatening health conditions. Clotrimazole topical is used externally only and comes in a cream, lotion, and a solution.

Condition(s) Treated

• Tinea Corporis
• Tinea Cruris
• Tinea Pedis
• Cutaneous Candidiasis
• Tinea Versicolor

Type of Medicine

• Antifungal

Side Effects

All drugs produce some level of unwanted side effects. Although most are predictable, some effects are linked to the individual’s health. Other triggers are a misuse of the medicine, incorrect doses, frequencies or improper applications. The risks of severe side effects are low – but if you experience unusual or discomforting symptoms, contact your doctor.

Before applying this medicine, be sure to clean the area and always wash your hands with soap and water after each application.

These are the most common side effects and they vary in degrees of discomfort. If the symptoms persist, talk with your doctor. There may be a solution to help ease the effects while treating the infection.

• Burning sensation
• Fever
• Inflammation
• Itching
• Pain
• Pus discharge
• Redness
• Site tenderness
• Skin irritation

If you experience side effects not listed – talk with your doctor. The cause may be an underlying ailment.

Dosage

Your doctor will prescribe the dosage according to an assessment of your condition and your dose may differ from someone else. The doses also differ between adults and children. In all cases, the doctor may change the prescription strength, daily dosage, and the duration depending on the severity of the condition for each individual.

Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly or the information on the product label. DO NOT change the dosage or the frequency without a doctor's approval.

For Ringworm (tinea corporis)

• Adult – Cover the affected area with the medication daily for 4 weeks.
• Children under 3 years of age use as directed. Apply enough medication to cover the affected area – twice a day for 4 weeks.

For Jock Itch (tinea cruris)

• Adult – Cover the affected area with the medication – twice daily for 2 weeks.
• Children under 3 years of age use as directed. Apply enough medication to cover the affected area – twice a day for 2 weeks.

For Athlete’s Foot (tinea pedis)

• Adult – Cover the affected area with the medication – twice daily for 4 to 8 weeks.
• Children under 3 years of age use as directed. Apply enough medication to cover the affected area – twice a day for 2 to 4 weeks.

For Skin Rash (cutaneous candidiasis)

• Adult – Cover the affected area with the medication – twice daily for 2 to 4 weeks
• Children under 3 years of age use as directed. Apply enough medication to cover the affected area – twice a day for 2 to 4 weeks.

For Discolored, skin patches (tinea versicolor)

• Adult – Cover the affected area with the medication – twice daily for 2 to 4 weeks
• Children under 3 years of age use as directed. Apply enough medication to cover the affected area – twice a day for 2 to 4 weeks.

Instructions for using clotrimazole topical:

• Clotrimazole skin cream, lotion, or solution should be used for the prescribed condition only.
• Continue to use this medication as instructed, even if the condition appears to be gone.
• Do not stop using clotrimazole without talking to your doctor.
• Wash your hands to avoiding spreading the infection to other body areas or people.
• Avoid getting it in your eyes, mouth or nose – if it happens, be sure to flush the areas with water.
• DO NOT use this medication if the skin area is dry, chapped, sunburned or swollen.
• Never apply this medication to skin wounds, punctures or scratches.

Allow some exposure of circulated air to the applied medication so it can dry before getting dressed. During the healing process, always wear loose fitting clothes made of natural cotton fibers to prevent moisture or heat to the area.

Missed Dose

It’s important to keep your schedule on taking this medicine, but if you miss a dose, apply the topical as soon as possible. The only exception – if the next scheduled dose is within an hour – is to skip the missed dose and continue using the medicine as directed.

• DO NOT double the doses – it won’t speed up recovery and it may cause serious to uncomfortable side effects.

If you detect unusual or new symptoms while using this medication, talk with your doctor, as you may have an allergic reaction to this drug.

Interactions

It’s rare for these topical medications to interact with other medicines you are taking now, but it can happen, so precautions should be taken at all times. First, be sure to share your medical history, and current diet routines, including health supplements, herbal remedies and both prescription and nonprescription medicines with your doctor.

Adult lifestyle choices may affect your response to this medicine; alcohol consumption, tobacco, and specific foods can trigger an allergic reaction or other harmful health conditions.

If you are taking other medications while using this medicine, your doctor may change the dose of the medicines to prevent or ease the potential side effects. Here’s a list of known medicines that may interact with clotrimazole – there may be other medicines not listed. If you are taking any of these, talk to your doctor.

Topical Antibiotics

It’s important for you to recognize the medicines you use – medications sharing similar ingredients or material compounds can affect your response to treatment. Here, related medicines share similar names. Because these medicines contain compounds, the increased doses could cause an unwanted effect.

• Econazole
• Ketoconazole
• Miconazole
• Setaconazole
• Sulconazole

Topical Steroids

Precautions are needed when using any of these medicines – they can increase the risk of effects. Talk with your doctor, there are solutions for treating your condition without eliminating either drug. Your doctor may adjust the dose or suggest another medicine to prevent any harmful interactions.

• Alclometasone
• Clobetasol
• Dermotic
• Desonide
• Desoximetasone
• Diflorasone
• Flucinnolone
• Fluocinonide
• Halcinonide
• Mometasone
• Triamcinolone

Warnings

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has posted information on clotrimazole for consumers and health professionals. Because this medication is available over-the-counter (OTC), the healthcare industry suggests a visit to your doctor before using it. Self-diagnosing and treatment may be harmful without a complete medical evaluation of the condition.

Although OTC medicines are found to have a low risk of adverse effects, unique health conditions and circumstances could pose greater risks for younger children and elderly adults.

Geriatric

Current studies show no loss of effectiveness when using this medication for this age group. Medically the precautions are taken, since this age group may show signs of thinning skin or skin ulcers due to the natural aging process or other medications.

• Use of this topical treatment could cause an allergic reaction worsening an existing skin disorder.

Pediatric

Safety and effectiveness of clotrimazole have not been established for children less than 3 years of age. It’s essential you keep your doctor updated on the child’s response when using this topical medication.

• Some forms of this medicine and specific doses are not recommended for children under 17 years of age.

Pregnancy

If you are pregnant or become pregnant while using, talk with your doctor. Your doctor may change the dose or the prescription to keep you and your baby healthy.

• FDA assigned clotrimazole to category B – no evidence of risk to humans.
• FDA assigned clotrimazole to category C – risks cannot be ruled out.
• Limited data exists on breastfeeding infants – precautions are still necessary.

Storage

Store this medicine in a closed container at room temperature – keep it away from heat, moisture, and direct light. After each use, be sure to return the cap to prevent accidental contact.

• DO NOT freeze this medicine – changing the environment may alter the chemical mixture, modifying the response to your condition.
• Keep it out of reach of children and pets.
• Properly dispose of unused portions and expired medications no longer needed.

Summary

Clotrimazole has proven to be effective in treating fungal infections when using proper doses and following doctor’s instructions for no longer than the specified duration. Precautions have been noted in all age groups relating to allergic reactions or existing health conditions.

 

Resources
Last Reviewed:
January 31, 2018
Last Updated:
February 10, 2018