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Miconazole Nitrate Drug Overview

written by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 8/31/2009

Miconazole nitrate is sold under the brand name of Monistat and is used to treat fungal infections. Find out what infections this drug can treat and learn about possible side effects and warnings.

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    Drug Formulations & Uses

    There are several different forms of this drug available. Monistat 3 and 7 are available in vaginal suppositories. Monistat 7 is also available in a vaginal cream. Monistat-Derm is used to treat fungal infections of the skin. Monistat 3 and 7 are used to treat yeast infections of the vagina. Monistat-Derm can be used to treat fungal infections of the skin such as jock itch, cutaneous candidiasis, athlete’s foot and ringworm.

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    Drug Administration

    The vaginal cream and suppository forms of this drug should be used as directed. Load the applicator with vaginal cream or unwrap a tablet, wet it and insert it into the applicator according to the product packing instructions. Lie on your back with the knees bent up and to the sides. Insert the applicator into the vagina and depress the plunger. If possible, discard the applicator after use. If you need to use it again, wash it with soap and warm water. If you are using Monistat-Derm to treat a fungal infection, apply it to the skin as directed in the product instructions.

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    Side Effects

    Miconazole nitrate can cause several unpleasant side effects. They are usually limited to the area of application and can include burning, cramping, hives, skin irritation, vulval itching, rash and vaginal itching. This drug can also cause headaches, so it should be used with caution. Allergic reaction can occur and may involve redness, swelling and irritation. Seek medical attention if an allergic reaction causes swelling of the lips and tongue or difficulty breathing.

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    You should not take miconazole nitrate if you have ever had an allergic reaction to the drug. Tell your doctor if you have experienced such a reaction so you can avoid future allergic reactions.

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    The oils in the vaginal cream form of Monistat 7 can degrade the latex of condoms and diaphragms, which makes them less effective at preventing pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Use an alternate form of birth control if you need to use Monistat 7. Ask your doctor about prescription contraceptives such as hormonal birth control, diaphragms and intrauterine devices or abstain from intercourse until you have completed treatment with this drug.