Clotrimazole

What is clotrimazole?

Clotrimazole is an antifungal that has different uses in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Depending on the dose and form, clotrimazole can be used to treat symptoms associated with skin fungus infections such as athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. Clotrimazole can also be used to treat vaginal yeast infections.

What is clotrimazole used to treat?

  • Athlete’s foot
  • Jock itch
  • Ringworm
  • Vaginal yeast infections
Common brands containing clotrimazole:
  • Lotrimin
  • Gyne-lotrimin
  • Store Brands (ex. Walmart’s “Equate” store brand or CVS Health store brand)

How much clotrimazole can you take?

Different types of products containing this active ingredient have different strengths. That’s why it is always important to read and follow the Drug Facts label. Most medicines warn against use of an active ingredient for longer than 7-10 days. Stop and ask a doctor if symptoms persist.

Safety guide for clotrimazole

Clotrimazole is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to the Drug Facts label directions. Here are some safe use tips:

  • If you are treating a yeast infection, remember these products are for vaginal or external vulva use only. Read the educational pamphlet enclosed with the medicine for complete directions and information. You should use the applicator enclosed with the medicine if one is provided. Condoms or diaphragms may be damaged and fail to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • If you are treating athlete’s foot, you should pay special attention to spaces between the toes; wear well-fitting, ventilated shoes; and change your socks and shoes at least once daily. These products are not effective on the scalp or nails. These products are for external use only and you should avoid getting the medicine into your eyes. Make sure to wash the affected area and dry thoroughly before use.

Ask a healthcare provider before use if:

  • You have vaginal itching and discomfort for the first time.
  • You have symptoms that returned within two months.
  • You are pregnant, could be pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
  • You have a serious underlying medical condition that may be causing your symptoms, such as diabetes or a weakened immune system.

Do not use if:

  • You have never had a vaginal yeast infection diagnosed by a healthcare provider.
  • You have vulva itching that is not caused by a vaginal yeast infection.
  • You have a fever higher than 100° F; pain in the lower abdomen, back, or either shoulder; or a foul-smelling vaginal discharge. You should see a healthcare provider for treatment of these symptoms.
  • The product’s tube seal has been punctured or is not visible.
  • You should not use tampons, douches, or spermicides while using a medicine containing clotrimazole.

Stop use and ask a doctor if:

  • Irritation occurs.
  • There is no improvement of athlete’s foot or ringworm after four weeks of treatment.
  • There is no improvement of jock itch after two weeks of treatment.
  • You accidentally swallow the medicine. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.
  • Your symptoms do not get better within three days or the infection lasts for more than seven days.
  • You develop a rash, fever, abdominal pain, or a foul-smelling vaginal discharge.

What are the side effects of clotrimazole?

  • Burning, stinging, swelling, or irritation of the treated skin may occur. If any of these effects persist, call your doctor.