Fluconazole is an antifungal drug that is in a class of antifungal called triazoles. It is used in the treatment of fungal infections and systemic mycoses, thus is a broad spectrum-action antifungal medication. The drug is soluble in alcohol and appears as a white crystalline powder. Other common trade names are Diflucan, Trican, Afugil, Dofil and Candivast.
Fluconazole is used in the treatment of yeast of the vagina, esophagus mouth, throat, lungs, prostate, eye and other parts of the body. It is used against opportunistic fungal infections such as Candida spp., Cryptococcus neoformans, Ttichoptyton and microsporum spp. amongst others. It is also effective as a preventive drug especially in people who susceptible due to treatment with chemotherapy, radiation or other conditions that reduce the immune system. Such conditions include infection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), diabetes, cancer or organ transplant patients. Fungi also cause meningitis and fluconazole is used for the treatment of this type of meningitis.
Mode of action of fluconazole
The mode of action of the drug is through selective inhibition of the action of fungal enzymes. It blocks synthesis of sterol in the fungal cells thus preventing the conversion of lanosterol into membranous ergosterol. This in turn results in the increase of permeability of cell membranes which interferes with cell growth and replication. Unlike other forms of antifungal, fluconazole does not affect the activity of liver enzymes.
The drug comes in form of a tablet and a suspension to be taken by mouth and an injection for intravenous infusion only. Dosage is usually taken once in a day. This dose can be one time or taken for several weeks longer depending on one’s condition and response to the drug. It is recommended to take the drug as recommended without taking less or more. The drug is normally absorbed almost completely from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood stream.
Diflucan tablets come in 50, 100, 150 and 200 mg of fluconazole. It contains inactive ingredients which include microcrystalline cellulose, dibasic calcium phosphate anhydrous, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium state and Aluminum Lake dye. The suspension comes in 350 mg and 1400 mg of fluconazole. Its inactive ingredients are sucrose, natural orange flavor, sodium benzoate amongst others. The injection is an iso-osmotic, sterile and nonpyrogenic solution of fluconazole in sodium chloride or dextrose diluents.
Fluconazole may not be taken if one is allergic to it or other fungal medications such as ketoconazole or voriconazole. While taking certain types of medication such as cisapride, vitamins, nutritional supplements, anticoagulants and some oral medicine for diabetes amongst others, it is recommended to inform the doctor before beginning on fluconazole treatment. Pregnant women or those planning to get pregnant are also advised to inform their doctor before taking fluconazole treatment.
Fluconazole may have side effects which should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible. These include:
- Yellowing of skin and eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Stool that is pale
- Bleeding or unusual bruising
- Swelling of the face, tongue, throat, hands, feet, ankles and legs
- Difficulty in swallowing and breathing