Yeast Infection Medicine: 7 Common Antifungals

Updated in October 2023

Yeast infection medicine usually involves antifungals prescribed by the doctor. These are available in cream form, as pill or vaginal tablets that are inserted. 

Medications for yeast infections aim to eliminate the fungus, which is usually Candida sp. fungus, as well as relieve symptoms, like intense itching, swelling and redness. 

Although many yeast infection medications are available over-the-counter, you should see a doctor for assessment before self-medicating to confirm a diagnosis and rule out other infections that may present similarly.

Medications for yeast infections

The medicine that your doctor may prescribe to treat a yeast infection includes:

  1. Fluconazole (Oral capsules)
  2. Clotrimazole (Skin cream and vaginal cream)
  3. Miconazole (Skin cream, vaginal tablets and oral gel)
  4. Butoconazole (Skin cream)
  5. Terconazole (Skin cream and vaginal tablets)
  6. Nystatin (Skin cream, vaginal cream and oral suspension)
  7. Ketoconazole (Skin cream and oral pills)

Dosing is indicated by the doctor, and will vary depending on the patient’s symptoms. Although yeast infections are most commonly diagnosed in the genital area, fungal infections can also occur in other areas of the body, like the mouth or skin.

Treatment in men vs. women 

Vaginal yeast infections should be treated with an antifungal cream or tablet. These are inserted as deep into the vagina as possible using an applicator. Ideally, these should be used at night, before going to bed. Read more about yeast infection creams that your doctor may prescribe.

Yeast infections in men, also known as balanitis, are treated with topical creams applied externally to the penis. 

Generally speaking, vaginal creams and tablets are used internally once per day, while men should apply creams on the full glans and shaft two or three times per day.

Oral medications for yeast infections are the same for both men and women, and are usually used in more severe infection, as these medications will act on a more systemic level. It is possible, however, for oral antifungals to have more side effects than topical antifungals. Learn more about yeast infection treatments and home remedies that your doctor may suggest.

The doctor will usually prescribe a one time dose of fluconazole for yeast infections, however a once-a-month dose may be recommended for a recurrent infections. 

Yeast infection during pregnancy 

The medications that are considered to be most safe for use during pregnancy are topical clotrimazole and nystatin, as long as they are taken as instructed. To avoid injuring the cervix, pregnant women should avoid using applicators or use them with caution. It is important to highlight that vaginal tablets and creams can be used without applicators. 

Treatment considerations 

When completing treatment prescribed by your doctor, it is important to maintain adequate body hygiene. Other considerations include:

  • Avoid unprotected sex
  • Avoid unnecessary medication use, especially antibiotics 
  • Drink plenty of liquids 
  • Opt for greens, fruits and veggies (read more about the candida diet )
  • Avoid alcohol, sugary and fatty foods.

Patients should also opt for loose-fitting clothing that is cotton based, to avoid further irritation and moisture in the area. Many patients may also find sitz baths beneficial for relieving symptoms.