Vaginal thrush is a common problem affecting women. Sexual partners may also need treatment.
Econazole is an antifungal medicine. Side-effects are unlikely but may include mild skin irritation or itching.
Remember to complete the course of treatment. If your symptoms recur, speak with your doctor as a repeat course of treatment may be needed.
About econazole for thrush
|Type of medicine||An antifungal|
|Used for||Vaginal thrush|
|Available as||Cream and pessaries|
Many women have an occasional bout of vaginal thrush. It is due to an infection with a yeast fungus called Candida spp. Most cases of thrush are caused by the yeast called Candida albicans but other types of Candida spp. can also cause thrush. Common symptoms of vaginal thrush are itching, soreness, and redness around the outside of the vagina and a thick, creamy white, odourless vaginal discharge. Econazole works by killing the yeast fungus causing the infection.
There are two econazole products available to treat vaginal thrush - pessaries and cream. Econazole pessaries are inserted high into the vagina and can be prescribed as a one-off dose, or as a short course lasting for three days. Econazole cream is inserted high into the vagina using an applicator. It can also be applied to the area around the outside of the vagina to relieve itching and soreness. You may be prescribed either of these products to treat the infection.
Men may also be prescribed econazole cream to use. This is because sexual partners of women with thrush may also have the infection. If they are not also treated, they may pass the infection back.
There are other products available which contain econazole, but these are used to treat fungal infections elsewhere on the body. There is a separate medicine leaflet called Econazole for fungal skin and nail infections which gives more information about this.
Before using econazole
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start using econazole it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant. It is important that you tell your doctor if you are expecting a baby as you may need to use econazole for a longer period of time during pregnancy than is usually recommended.
- If you are under 16 years of age.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to use econazole for vaginal thrush
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about how to use the econazole preparation you have been given.
- If you have been prescribed Gyno-Pevaryl® pessary, gently push one pessary into your vagina at bedtime. Insert it as high as possible using an applicator if one has been supplied, or alternatively, your finger. Your doctor will have told you whether to do this on one night only, or on three consecutive nights. If you have been told to use the pessaries for three nights, make sure you complete the full course of treatment; otherwise, your symptoms may come back.
- If you are a woman and have been prescribed Gyno-Pevaryl® cream, you will be asked to use the cream each night, for at least 14 days. Use an applicator to insert 5 gram of cream high into your vagina at bedtime. Also, apply a small amount of cream each night to the area around the outside of your vagina. Continue to use the cream for the full 14 days, even if your symptoms have disappeared. This is to prevent the infection from returning. If you have not been supplied with a vaginal applicator for inserting the cream, you can buy one at a pharmacy.
- Men prescribed Gyno-Pevaryl® cream should apply a thin layer of cream once each day to the penis and the skin around the penis (including under the foreskin). Use the cream once each day for 14 days.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Use econazole exactly as your doctor tells you to. Remember to complete the course of treatment as this will help to prevent the infection from coming back. If your symptoms do recur, go back to see your doctor for further advice as you may need to repeat the course of treatment.
- Econazole can damage the latex in condoms and diaphragms so do not rely on these forms of contraception. Use an alternative method of contraception (or do not have sex) while you are using econazole. Please also keep in mind that having vaginal sex while you have thrush could infect your partner.
- If your symptoms do not improve despite using econazole, go back to see your doctor for further advice. An alternative treatment could be more suitable for you.
Can econazole cause problems?
Econazole is unlikely to cause any serious side-effects, although it can cause mild irritation and itching. If you experience any other symptoms, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store econazole
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
If you buy any medicines, always check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
If you suspect that someone has swallowed some of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Gyno-Pevaryl® Once 150 mg vaginal pessary; Janssen-Cilag Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2014.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Gyno-Pevaryl® Cream; Janssen-Cilag Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated February 2014.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Gyno-Pevaryl® 150 mg Vaginal Pessaries; Janssen-Cilag Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated February 2014.
- British National Formulary; 68th Edition (Sep 2014) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Helen Huins