Different types of fungus reside in the human body. When they are in smaller numbers, they do not harm us. However, when their numbers multiply, they can lead to several problems. In most cases of fungal infections, the most vulnerable people are those living with a compromised immune system as well as older people. Yeast infections in the throat and mouth are common among newly born infants. Similarly, older women are more likely to experience growth of yeast in their genitals. Infants are prone to fungal growth due to the persistent use of diapers. Antifungal medications are commonly prescribed to treat yeast or fungal infections. Diflucan (generic version of it is called fluconazole) is a widely used antifungal drug. The drug may however trigger a few side effects. It is essential to know about these side effects and the allergies this antifungal may cause.
Diflucan is used for the treatment of yeast infections as well as fungal attacks. Of the various types of antifungal medications, this drug belongs to a genre called azole. The chief function of diflucan is to inhibit the growth and further spread of a few types of fungi; especially, those developing in the vagina of elderly women. Presence of bacteria and yeast in your vagina is a common thing to occur. But, when candida – a kind of fungus – grows beyond normal proportions, it is very likely to lead to yeast infections. Three out of four women are likely to experience such fungal infections at least once during their lifetime.
The common symptoms of a yeast infection include pain, itchiness, discharge of a cheese-type substance from your vagina, discoloration, swelling and painful episodes of peeing. Some women also report experiencing pain while having sex. Leading causes for yeast infections are imbalance of hormones, intake of antibiotics for a reasonably longer term, living with diabetes, sex with an infected person, etc. People with a very weak immune system – such as those living with cancers or HIV – may also notice yeast formation in their vagina. The main function of diflucan is to check the progression of fungal infections. It is consumed orally – often through one dose per day; either before or after a meal.
Side effects of diflucan
Common side effects of diflucan are indigestion, diarrhea, abdominal pain, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea or headache. These side effects show up mostly over the short term; however, if they persist for long, you need to consult your treating doctor and pharmacist. In general, most people who use this drug do not develop any major side effects. Above all, you need to remember that your physician has prescribed this drug as the remedies it can offer are far larger than the risks of its side effects. Other mild side effects of this drug include tremors, loss of hair, sweating profusely or sleep related problems, an altered sense of taste, tingling (widely referred as pins and needles sensation), etc.
If you experience an acute spell of drowsiness, passing out or erratic heartbeats, you are required to take medical attention as quickly as possible. Other serious reactions of this drug include acute pain in the lower abdomen, weariness, discoloration of urine, yellowish tint on skin, etc. As these signs may indicate a likely damage of liver, you are advised to talk to your treating physician immediately.
Diflucan may very rarely trigger a few allergic reactions. If you have any known allergies or hypersensitivity to this drug or its ingredients, you need to inform about such conditions. In very rare instances, this drug has caused a few allergic reactions like itchiness, inflammation, persistent fever, respiratory problems, etc. A few people have also developed allergic reactions such as swelling of lymph nodes, rashes on skin and other skin allergies.
You are advised to note that the side effects listed here do not constitute a full list. Hence, if you happen to notice other discomforts or allergic reactions, you need to get in touch with your treating physician or your pharmacist quickly. If some of these side effects persist for long, it is highly recommended to get in touch with 911 or the emergency contact numbers of the food and drug administration (FDA) in the US. If you are a resident of any of the Canadian provinces, you need to report about these side effects to a local poison control center or call Health Canada on an emergency basis.
Safety measures you can take to avoid a few side effects of diflucan
If you have had prior allergies to antifungal medications like itraconazole or ketoconazole, you need to inform about the discomforts to your medical team. At times, some of the inactive ingredients of this drug may also trigger some adverse or undesired side effects. Also, if you have any prior medical conditions such as renal problems, hepatic dysfunction, etc., you need to inform your treating doctor about such conditions. In general, you need to share your medical history as well as your family’s clinical history prior to starting your medication plan.
Levels of magnesium and potassium
This drug is likely to cause a marked decrease in magnesium and potassium levels. Such a drop can be detected by testing blood samples after you have started a course of any of the azole genre of antifungals, including drugs like diflucan. Such low levels are also likely to cause prolongation of QT; more details on this side effect are provided in the succeeding section. You are likely to enhance the risks of reducing magnesium and potassium levels further if you take diuretics (also called as water pills). The loss of essential salts may only worsen if you have conditions such as excessive sweating, abdominal discomforts resulting in conditions wherein you risk losing body fluids through frequent episodes of vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
Diflucan is likely to trigger cardiac conditions such as alterations to your heartbeat. In medical terms, this condition is referred as elongation of QT. Though it is a serious side effect, it usually does not lead to fatal outcomes. This is often accompanied by other discomforts such as drowsiness, passing out, etc. In such cases, you are advised to take needful medical help as promptly as possible. It is in fact a good practice to tell your physician about erratic heartbeats, prior incidence of cardiac arrests or prolonged QT cycle in EKG. If any of your parents, other members in your family or extended families had died of a sudden heart attack or a cardiac arrest, you need to keep your pharmacist and physician aware of such events. Elderly or older patients are more likely to be affected through an elongated QT in EKG. Hence, such patients need to be doubly cautious if they have had recent experiences of erratic heartbeats or cardiac problems.
Dizziness and needful precautions
In equally rare instances, this drug may trigger an acute spell of dizziness. If needful precautions are not taken, it may result in falls or fainting. Owing to this, it is not recommended to consume alcohol or other intoxicating substances such as cannabis or marijuana. Your physician may also tell you to reduce the intake of alcohol, or completely stop drinking it while consuming diflucan. As an extended precaution, it is not considered safe to drive or work with heavy machinery. It is equally unsafe to lift heavy weights or in general, perform activities which may require moderate to high levels of mental agility or alertness.
Planning to undergo a dental procedure or a surgery?
Some people may be undergoing a surgery while they are taking diflucan. It is very important to tell your surgeon about your intake of any azole genre of antifungals. Consumption of diflucan needs to be informed to your dentist prior to doing a dental procedure. As this drug may interact with anesthetic drugs, such information can help optimise the levels of pre-surgical anesthesia.
Pregnant women and breastfeeding women
Women who plan to get pregnant need to inform their physicians about their plans. It may be required to take highly efficient birth control measures while consuming diflucan. Those who are already pregnant are administered with this drug only if it is absolutely essential for them to take it. However, it is never taken in the initial months of pregnancy; if taken, this drug may harm your fetus. It is also highly recommended to talk to your doctor prior to applying the drug on the vagina.
Similarly, women who are nursing a baby or breastfeeding need to be cautious about taking this drug. Though it rarely passes through breastmilk, you need to take proper advice from a qualified medical practitioner before starting a course of this medication.
Side effects diflucan may trigger a few interactions with other drugs
Diflucan is likely to interact with other drugs and thus can enhance the risks of a few adverse side effects. You need to make a list of all the drugs your currently consume before starting a course of diflucan. While making this list, make sure you have included over the counter (OTC) drugs, herbal medicines as well as prescribed medications.
This medication is likely to influence the elimination or flushing-out of some drugs from your system. The remnant portions of such drugs may lead to a loss of efficacy as well as some side effects. The drugs which may have a delayed discharge include cisapride (widely used in the treatment of acid reflux), lomitapide (a cholesterol reducing drug – especially, helps bring down the level of bad cholesterol – or LDL), asunaprevir (consumed for the treatment of viral infections such as hepatitis C), etc.
Diflucan is also likely to interact with drugs taken to prevent strokes and cardiac arrests. For example, drugs like plavix (its generic form is known as clopidogrel) are likely to interact with diflucan. Also, if you are taking antimicrobial drugs such as erythromycin or other antibacterial drugs such as quinidine, you need to inform your treating physician about intake of such drugs.
Missed doses and risks of an overdose of diflucan
If you have forgotten to take a dose, and if the next dose is already coming up close, you are advised to skip the missed dose. Intake of two doses together or in closer time intervals may cause an overdose. Also, if you have skipped multiple doses, you may need to talk to your pharmacist to reschedule your dosage plan.
If you have taken an accidental overdose of diflucan, you are likely to experience signs such as respiratory troubles, mood shifts including depression, hallucination, etc. Some people have reported fainting or passing out. In such instances, it is strongly recommended to take medical help as promptly as possible.
In sum, intake of diflucan may trigger some adverse side effects such as drowsiness, abdominal pain, dizziness, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea or headache. Other adverse side effects of diflucan are sweating excessively, tingling sensation, sleep related problems, an altered sense of taste, etc. If these effects remain for a longer term, you are advised to talk to your physician and seek needful guidance.