BMA Concise Guide to Medicine & Drugs

Nystatin

Brand name Nystan

Used in the following combined preparations Dermovate-NN, Nystaform HC, Timodine

QUICK REFERENCE

Drug group Antifungal drug

Overdose danger rating Low

Dependence rating Low

Prescription needed Yes

Available as generic Yes

GENERAL INFORMATION

Nystatin is an antifungal drug named after the New York State Institute of Health, where it was developed in the early 1950s.

The drug has been used effectively against candidiasis (thrush), an infection caused by the Candida yeast. Available in a variety of dosage forms, it is used to treat infections of the skin, mouth, throat, oesophagus, and intestinal tract. As the drug is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is of little use against systemic infections. It is not given by injection.

Nystatin rarely causes adverse effects and can be used during pregnancy to treat candidiasis.

INFORMATION FOR USERS

Your drug prescription is tailored for you. Do not alter dosage without checking with your doctor.

How taken/used Liquid, cream, ointment.

Frequency and timing of doses Mouth or throat infections 4 x daily. Take after food and hold in the mouth for several minutes before swallowing (liquid). Intestinal infection 4 x daily. Skin infections 2–4 x daily.

Adult dosage range 2–4 million units daily (by mouth); as directed (skin preparations).

Onset of effect Full beneficial effect may not be felt for 7–14 days.

Duration of action Up to 6 hours.

Diet advice None.

Storage Keep in original container at room temperature out of the reach of children. Protect from light.

Missed dose Take as soon as you remember. Take your next dose as usual.

Stopping the drug Take the full course, and continue treatment for at least 48 hours after symptoms have disappeared. Even if the affected area seems to be cured, the original infection may still be present, and symptoms may recur if treatment is stopped too soon.

Exceeding the dose An occasional unintentional extra dose is unlikely to be a cause for concern. But if you notice any unusual symptoms, or if a large overdose has been taken, notify your doctor.

POSSIBLE ADVERSE EFFECTS

Adverse effects are uncommon with nystatin and are usually mild and transient. Nausea and vomiting may occur when high doses are taken by mouth. Diarrhoea and a rash are other rare side effects. Consult your doctor if you develop a rash or if any of the other side effects are severe.

INTERACTIONS

None.

SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS

Be sure to tell your doctor if:

· You are taking other medicines.

Pregnancy No evidence of risk to developing fetus.

Breast-feeding No evidence of risk.

Infants and children Reduced dose necessary.

Over 60 No special problems.

Driving and hazardous work No known problems.

Alcohol No known problems.

PROLONGED USE

No problems expected. Usually given as a course of treatment until the infection is cured.