Fluconazole to treat thrush (150mg tablet)

(Date: September 2020. Version: 3)

This factsheet has been written for members of the public by the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS). UKTIS is a not-for-profit organisation funded by Public Health England on behalf of UK Health Departments. UKTIS has been providing scientific information to health care providers since 1983 on the effects that medicines, recreational drugs and chemicals may have on the developing baby during pregnancy.

What is it?

Fluconazole is an antifungal drug most commonly taken as a single 150 mg tablet to treat vaginal thrush. The information in this sheet refers specifically to this dose of fluconazole.

What are the benefits of using fluconazole in pregnancy?

Fluconazole treats the unpleasant symptoms associated with vaginal thrush, which is a common pregnancy problem. While fluconazole is generally not recommended in pregnancy, it is sometimes prescribed to treat severe thrush that has not responded to other medicines.

Are there any risks of using fluconazole during pregnancy?

Some studies have suggested that miscarriage may be more common following fluconazole use in early pregnancy, and it has also been suggested that babies exposed to fluconazole may have a slightly higher chance of having rare heart defects. These findings need to be confirmed with further research. Fluconazole use in later pregnancy would not be able to cause these problems as the risk of miscarriage has passed by 20 weeks and the baby’s heart is fully developed by 12 weeks.

There are no concerns that fluconazole use in pregnancy affects the chance of stillbirth, preterm delivery, or low infant birth weight.

Are there any alternatives to using fluconazole?

Yes. Another medicine called clotrimazole, which is used in the form of creams or pessaries, can be used to treat thrush in pregnancy. Women are generally only prescribed fluconazole in pregnancy when clotrimazole has not worked.

What if I prefer not to take medicines to treat thrush during pregnancy?

Thrush can be very unpleasant and can be safely treated in pregnancy, but if untreated, it does not pose a serious health risk to the mother or baby.

Your doctor will be happy to talk to you about any concerns that you might have when considering use of a medicine in pregnancy.

Will my baby need extra monitoring?

All pregnant women in the UK should be offered a detailed anomaly scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy as part of their routine antenatal care. No extra monitoring for major birth defects is required following fluconazole use in pregnancy.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

If you have any questions regarding the information in this leaflet, please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from www.uktis.org

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General information 

Up to 1 out of every 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and 1 in 40 babies are born with a birth defect. These are referred to as the background population risks.  They describe the chance of these events happening for any pregnancy before taking factors such as the mother’s health during pregnancy, her lifestyle, medicines she takes and the genetic make up of her and the baby’s father into account.

Medicines use in pregnancy

Most medicines used by the mother will cross the placenta and reach the baby. Sometimes this may have beneficial effects for the baby.  There are, however, some medicines that can harm a baby’s normal development.  How a medicine affects a baby may depend on the stage of pregnancy when the medicine is taken. If you are on regular medication you should discuss these effects with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please ensure the doctor or health care professional treating you is aware of your pregnancy.

When deciding whether or not to use a medicine in pregnancy you need to weigh up how the medicine might improve your and/or your unborn baby’s health against any possible problems that the drug may cause. Our bumps leaflets are written to provide you with a summary of what is known about use of a specific medicine in pregnancy so that you can decide together with your health care provider what is best for you and your baby.   

Every pregnancy is unique. The decision to start, stop, continue or change a prescribed medicine before or during pregnancy should be made in consultation with your health care provider. It is very helpful if you can record all your medication taken in pregnancy in your hand held maternity records.

   

www.medicinesinpregnancy.org

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace the individual care and advice of your health care provider. New information is continually becoming available. Whilst every effort will be made to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date at the time of publication, we cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes following decisions made on the basis of this information. We strongly advise that printouts should NOT be kept for any length of time, or for “future reference” as they can rapidly become out of date.

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