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Polyenes for Treating Thrush

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
nystatin Mycostatin, Nilstat

How It Works

Prescription polyenes are one type of antifungal medicine that stops the growth of the yeast that causes thrush. This gives the body's immune system a better chance to destroy the yeast.

Why It Is Used

Polyenes treat mild thrush in children and adults.1

Doctors sometimes suggest breast-feeding mothers to treat their nipples with a polyene to prevent the infection from spreading to their nipples.

How Well It Works

Nystatin works best when it comes in direct contact with the yeast that causes thrush. So be sure to apply the medicine to both sides of the mouth. Swish the medicine around in your mouth for as long as possible before swallowing or spitting it out. For babies, put the medicine on the white patches caused by thrush.

If your infection gets severe or won't go away, your doctor may suggest another medicine to help treat thrush.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Hives.

Side effects of nystatin are not common. They may include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Stomach pain.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

If the yeast has caused your baby to have diaper rash, the doctor may prescribe nystatin cream or ointment for the diaper area.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Pappas PG, et al. (2009). Clinical practice guidelines for the management of candidiasis: 2009 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 48(5): 503–535.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Current as of June 18, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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