Clotrimazole is an antifungal prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of certain fungal infections, including tinea versicolor that is specifically caused by the fungus Malassezia furfur and candidiasis that is specifically caused by the yeast Candida albicans. The troche (lozenge) formulation of clotrimazole is approved for the treatment and prevention of only a certain type of candidiasis—called oropharyngeal candidiasis—in certain people with weakened immune systems. Clotrimazole is also available as an over-the-counter medicine for topically treating various skin infections, such as athlete’s foot.
Oropharyngeal candidiasis (infection of part of the throat) is an example of mucocutaneous candidiasis (also called mucosal candidiasis). Mucocutaneous candidiasis is a Candida yeast infection that affects the skin and mucus membranes (such as in the mouth or vagina). Mucocutaneous candidiasis is an opportunistic infection. An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as those infected with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems.
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), includes recommendations on the HIV-related uses of clotrimazole to treat:
Before taking clotrimazole, tell your health care provider:
Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from clotrimazole. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.
Take clotrimazole according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much clotrimazole to take and when to take it. Before you start clotrimazole and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
More information about clotrimazole is available:
Last Reviewed: May 7, 2013
Last Updated: May 7, 2013