Things to consider when using antifungal medicines 

Before you take antifungals, there are a number of things you should discuss with your GP.

Allergies

You are generally advised not to take an antifungal medicine if you are allergic to the medicine or any of its ingredients.

In some cases, such as when treating invasive fungal infections in hospital, your doctors may feel that the medicine's benefit outweighs the risk of an allergic reaction. They may decide to use the medicine and monitor you closely.

Other conditions

If you have problems with your heart, liver or kidneys, be careful using some oral antifungals.

Discuss your condition with your GP or pharmacist to find out which antifungal medicines are safe for you to use.

Topical antifungals

If you are using a topical antifungal medicine, such as a cream, it should not come into contact with:

  • your eyes 
  • moist linings (mucous membranes) – for example, inside your nose or mouth (unless it is a gel that is supposed to be used in your mouth)

Contraceptives

Some antifungal medicines are designed to be used on a man's penis or in or around a woman's vagina. Antifungal creams or vaginal suppositories (pessaries) are sometimes used to treat thrush.

However, these types of antifungal medicines can damage latex condoms and diaphragms, making them less effective. If you need to use these types of medication, either use a different method of contraception while you are using the antifungal medicine, or avoid having sex.

Some types of antifungal medicines can also interact with oestrogens and progestogens, which are found in some types of hormonal contraceptives, such as the combined contraceptive pill.

You may experience some breakthrough bleeding while taking your antifungal medicine, but your contraceptive protection should not be affected.

Only oral antifungal medicines interact with oestrogens.

Pregnancy

Many antifungal medicines are not suitable to take during pregnancy. You can find out if yours is suitable by checking the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine.

However, if you have vaginal thrush during pregnancy, your GP may prescribe an antifungal suppository that can be inserted into your vagina (a pessary) or an antifungal cream.

Breastfeeding

Small amounts of some medicines can pass into your breast milk, which may then be passed on to your baby if you are breastfeeding.

Check the patient information leaflet that comes with your antifungal medicine, as many medicines should not be taken while breastfeeding.

Page last reviewed: 18/08/2014

Next review due: 18/08/2016