Nystatin for oral thrush (Nystan)

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Using the dropper provided, drop 1 ml of suspension into your mouth four times a day.

It is best to use the drops after meals.

Continue to use nystatin for as long as you have been told to; otherwise, your symptoms may come back.

Type of medicineAn antifungal medicine
Used forTreatment of thrush in the mouth or throat
Also calledNystan®
Available asOral suspension (drops)

Thrush is an infection caused by the Candida yeast fungus. The mouth is a common site where Candida causes infection. Candidal infection in the mouth is called oral thrush. The infection causes the mouth to become sore and red, and white spots sometimes develop.

Small numbers of Candida commonly live in a healthy mouth and are usually harmless. However, certain situations or conditions can cause an overgrowth of Candida and this can lead to a bout of oral thrush. These include wearing dentures, after a course of antibiotics, using corticosteroid inhalers, having diabetes or anaemia, being in poor health, and smoking. It is also quite common for young babies to have oral thrush.

Nystatin suspension (drops) are an option for the treatment of oral thrush. Nystatin works by killing the Candida fungus which is causing the mouth infection.

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using nystatin it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are taking or using 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.
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Nystatin is not known to be harmful during pregnancy or breast-feeding, but it is still important that you tell your doctor.
  • 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 nystatin drops. If you have been given any additional information by your doctor, please read this also.
  • Use the drops exactly as your doctor tells you to. The recommended dose is 1 ml (to the line on the dropper) four times daily. This dose is suitable both for adults and for children. It will be different to this if the drops have been prescribed for a very young baby. Space the doses evenly throughout the day.
  • Shake the bottle well before you use the drops. Use the dropper to drop the liquid inside your mouth near to the affected areas but try not to touch your mouth with the dropper as you do this. Swish the suspension around your mouth a little and then keep it on the affected areas for as long as possible before you swallow. The longer the medicine is in contact with the site of infection the better.
  • It is recommended that you use the drops after mealtimes. This is to prevent the medicine from being washed out of your mouth too soon by anything you eat or drink.
  • If you forget to use the drops, have a dose as soon as you remember. Try to take the correct number of doses each day but do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
  • Most doctors recommend that you continue to use the drops for two days after your symptoms have gone - a typical course of treatment will last around seven days.
  • If your symptoms have not improved after seven days of using the drops, make another appointment to speak with your doctor for further advice.
  • There are some things that you may be able to do to prevent further bouts of oral thrush. Please see the section 'Can oral thrush be prevented?' in the separate condition leaflets called Oral Thrush and Oral Thrush in Babies.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the ones associated with nystatin, although these occur only occasionally. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Occasional nystatin side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Mouth irritation or sensitivityStop using the drops and speak with your doctor again
Feeling or being sick, diarrhoeaDrink some water to replace any lost fluids. If it continues, speak with your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose 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. Do not give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you are due to have an operation or dental treatment, please tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your other medicines.

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, Nystan® Oral Suspension; E. R. Squibb & Sons Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated March 2013.
  • British National Formulary; 69th Edition (Mar 2015) 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.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr John Cox
Document ID:
3621 (v27)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member
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