Sulfonamide (Topical)

Commonly known and sold as a cream called AVC, vaginal sulfonamide is widely prescribed to treat yeast infections.


While an allergy to sulfa drugs such as Sulfonamide is relatively common (3% of the population), many people are able to use this drug without issue. If you experience allergic reactions like itching, swelling, or burning, try to clear the medication from your body and contact a doctor.

Vaginal Sulfonimide comes in both liquid forms and suppository forms. Both are usually sold as cream. It can be used on the exterior of the vagina, or a vaginal applicator can be used for a more thorough treatment. Only use this drug as prescribed to avoid discomfort or complications. This drug should never be taken orally, and it should only be used internally two times a day at most.

While some side effects may occur while using vaginal Sulfonamide, they are often mild. If they become painful or symptomatic of a larger problem, stop applying Sulfonamide and contact your doctor for further instruction. If your condition worsens or does not improve within a few days, contact your doctor for advice. Avoid using Sulfonamide if you are pregnant, and never use suppository forms of the drug while carrying a child.

Even if your symptoms improve halfway through your prescription, do not stop using this drug. Stopping your treatment may cause the infection to come back. Using this drug too often may also cause it to become less effective over time, so do not use Sulfonamide religiously. Vaginal health should be achieved through warm water and regular washing. Avoid using douches and other vaginal 'cleaning products' to avoid changing the natural pH and environment of your vagina.

Talk to your doctor if you think you may need treatment for a vaginal infection. Sulfonamide should not be used for every vaginal infection, nor should it be used after the treatment is over. Do not share your Sulfonamide prescription with anyone else, even if they share your symptoms. People react to drugs differently, and they may be allergic, or they may experience adverse effects. If you experience pain, allergy symptoms, or other severe side effects, contact your doctor or emergency services as soon as possible.

Condition(s) treated?

  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Other bacterial infections in the vagina

Type of medicine?

  • Antibiotic
  • Sulfa drug

Side Effects

You may experience side effects while using vaginal Sulfonamide. However, since this drug is not taken orally or through injection, they should be mild. Common side effects may include:

  • Mild irritation at the application site
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Increased vaginal discharge

You may experience one or more of these or none at all. The side effects may dissipate the longer you use the medication, but contact your doctor if they became painful or persistent. If your condition does not improve after a few days of using this medication, or if your side effects persist, it may be a sign that Sulfonamide is not the correct drug for you.

Pain and allergy-like symptoms should not be ignored under any circumstances. If you experience them, try to get the medicine out of your body and go to a hospital. Severe allergic reactions can be fatal, so do not take chances with your health. You are partially responsible for your health while using take-home drugs like Sulfonamide, so do not ignore symptoms for the sake of simplicity.

Common allergic reactions include:

  • Itching/burning/swelling in or around the application area
  • Swelling of the throat and airways
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing

If you have a history of allergic reactions to sulfa drugs like Sulfonamide, do not use vaginal Sulfonamide. There are other yeast infection treatments, so be sure to try them instead. An allergic reaction can be fatal if not taken seriously, so do not take risks if you believe you may react adversely. A history of sulfa allergies in the family and previous reactions can be a good way to determine how you will react. Test the product on your skin before applying it to more sensitive areas of your body.

This list is by no ways exhaustive. Many people have recorded isolated side effects that were rare or uncommon. Contact your doctor if you experience anything out of the ordinary regarding your vaginal health. You are the only one that can judge when something is amiss, and it is better to be thorough than ignorant of your own body.

If you react badly, your doctor may recommend another treatment for your condition and take you off the drug. Dispose of the Sulfonamide normally, and do not attempt restarting your prescription in the future.


Dosage can vary from person to person depending on how extreme their condition, how much they feel comfortable applying, and how fast their body processes the drug. This drug does not have a quantitative form, so most of the application and dosage process is usually played by eye. Applicators can be used to measure out a recommended dose, but for external use, a light layer of cream should be sufficient.

This drug should be used twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. Additional external applications can be used for comfort's sake, though this drug should not be over-applied. Do not stop applying Sulfonamide just because you think your symptoms are cleared. Likely, your symptoms are only disappearing because you're using the drug religiously, and stopping abruptly may cause problems. This drug should be used until the end of its prescription, or the infection may return later.

Do not miss applications or purposefully skip them. This can reduce the effectiveness of the medication. If you miss treatments, this can make it take longer for the infection to be cleared from your body. Do not keep taking Sulfonamide past your prescription date. If the infection is still lingering, this may call for a stronger treatment. Continuing your Sulfonamide treatment may make throw off the pH of your vagina, and allow for the infection to become resistant.

Vaginal Sulfonamide can be used externally in cream forms, or a suppository applicator can be given. Both of these methods can be used for a thorough treatment. Wash your hands before and after applying the cream, and avoid sexual intercourse until the end of your prescription. Do not use tampons while using this treatment.Do not apply this application to your face, and do not attempt to take it orally. You may need to apply more of this medication topically if you experience heavy menstrual bleeding.

Talk to your doctor before using Sulfonamide, as your condition may require a different medication depending on its severity/the type of infection.


This drug has no documented interactions, as it is a topical antibiotic. However, using this drug in tandem with vaginal douches or washes can reduce its effectiveness and cause irritation. Try to avoid washing this drug out of you body unless completely necessary -- if you experience burning or allergic reactions, for example. Keep your vagina clean, and apply this drug after getting out of the shower or bath.

Sanitary napkins and pads are recommended to avoid staining to soaking through clothing. Do not use tampons, as they can soak up the medication and slip out. Wear loose-fitting clothing and undergarments, and avoid intercourse. If you must have sex, use a condom to avoid spreading any infection to your partner. Warn your partner beforehand, just in case they have an allergy to sulfa drugs.


Pregnant women should beware while using this drug. It is a Class C pregnancy drug, meaning that adverse effects are unknown to be present. If it is completely necessary that you use this drug, avoid using the applicator during your treatment. Only use this drug externally, and do not take it longer than necessary. Regularly attend your check-ups and gynecologist appointments to make sure that this medication is working as intended and not harming the baby.

Women that are currently breastfeeding should not use this medication. Sulfonamide has been shown to pass into breast milk and cause complications in newborn children, including the condition kernicterus. Kernicterus is a form of brain damage, and cannot be reversed. Talk to your doctor about other avenues of treatment. If you must take this drug, stop breastfeeding and begin formula-feeding your child. You can continue breastfeeding when the doctor says it is safe.

Long-term, persistent use of this drug could cause unforeseen consequences. It could permanently damage the bacterial environment of your vagina, and make you more susceptible to opportunistic infections in the future. To avoid this, only use Sulfonamide as it is prescribed, and do not continue using it after the prescribed time period.

If you begin showing signs of another infection after your treatment, do not continue using Sulfonamide, and do not pick up your old Sulfonamide prescription. Every infection is different, and using a universal drug as treatment is not recommended. Contact your doctor if you begin experiencing another infection, as this may be an entirely different issue or a symptom of a larger problem.

Talk to you doctor before using Sulfonamide, and only use this medication under doctor supervision. Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have a similar problem. They could experience an allergic reaction, or their condition could be a completely different problem. While overdose is not likely when it comes to topical creams like vaginal Sulfonamide, do not use this medication recklessly. Over-application could cause increased side effects and discomfort.


Sulfonamide will most likely come in a tube made of plastic or aluminum. Whether it is being used topically or as a suppository, it will be in a cream form. Keep this tube somewhere safe, away from direct sunlight. Do not freeze the Sulfonamide cream, as this will make it less effective. Avoid storing it anywhere where it may become hot, as this may also reduce its effectiveness.

For best results, store this medication somewhere dark and dry, at room temperature. Keep it out of reach of children, as they may accidentally consume it and make themselves sick. In case of accidental consumption, contact poison control and present them with the container. Make sure to tell them how much was eaten, when it was eaten, and what the drug is.

Likewise, keep this drug away from pets. Dogs or cats may chew through the container and consume some of the drug. If they come in contact with the drug, call animal poison control, or take your pet to the vet if they begin to look ill.

Keep this container in the tube until you need to use it. If you need to travel, take the prescription container with you and store the box and medication in your carry-on luggage. If asked questions about the drug, present the TSA agent with the container. Do not travel without proper documentation for your medications.

If you need to dispose of this drug, make sure the tube is sealed before throwing it away. Do not give it to anyone else, and do not keep extra prescriptions after you are done with your treatment. Expired product should be thrown away immediately to avoid accidental use. Throw away all product in a garbage bag, and do not allow children or pets to get into your trash afterwards.


Sulfonamide is an effective antibiotic treatment, and sulfa drugs have been in use for a long time. However, this also makes some drugs resistant to them. This also increases the likelihood that you will have an allergic reaction while on this medication. While only 3% of the population has experienced allergy symptoms, that is a significant amount. If you think you may be experiencing allergies, stop taking Sulfonamide immediately and contact your doctor. While not everyone will experience adverse effects, there are risks whenever you take a new medication. Keep track of how your body reacts, and report anything unusual or troubling.

Otherwise, use Sulfonamide as prescribed. This drug should not cause harmful or painful side effects, and it should act quickly to treat your infection. If your condition does not clear, or it gets worse during your treatment, talk to your doctor. Do not take this medication without a prescription, as you may not anticipate the risks. Do not give this medication to anyone else, especially children. If your daughter or charge has a yeast infection, take them to the doctor for a professional opinion.

If this drug does not work as intended, it may be a sign that you have a different problem entirely. Do not keep using Sulfonamide if this is the case. If you have concerns or questions about how Sulfonamide works, how to use it, or how you might react to it, talk to your doctor. The internet is a good source of information, but your doctor is more accurate resource than an internet webpage.

Vaginal Sulfonamide is proven to be a reliable treatment for yeast infections, and chances are it will solve your problem. To promote vagina health and avoid problems in the future, wear cotton-lined underwear and wash with warm water. Douches and vaginal washes are not necessary for vaginal health and may harm your pH and bacterial balance. Cleanliness and a proper pH balance is the best way to keep your body healthy and avoid further infections. If you have questions about vaginal health, try speaking to your gynecologist during your next visit.

Last Reviewed:
December 22, 2017
Last Updated:
April 03, 2018
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