Canesten cream is to treat fungal infections like athlete's foot and thrush.
What is Canesten 1% cream used for?
Treating skin infections caused by yeasts (eg Candida), dermatophytes (eg Trichophyton, Tinea), moulds and other fungi, such as the following:
- Athlete's foot (tinea pedis).
- Fungal infection of the groin, ie jock itch (tinea cruris).
- Ringworm (tinea corporis).
- Fungal nappy rash caused by infection with Candida albicans.
- Sweat rash caused by infection with Candida albicans.
- Relieving the external symptoms (candidal vulvitis) of vaginal thrush (candidal vaginitis). (This cream should be used in combination with another medicine that treats the infection inside your vagina - ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice about which products to use.)
- Inflammation of the penis and/or foreskin (candidal balanitis) caused by infection with Candida albicans (also known as thrush).
How does Canesten 1% cream work?
- Canesten cream contains the antifungal medicine clotrimazole. Clotrimazole kills fungi and yeasts by interfering with their cell membranes. It works by stopping the fungi from producing a substance called ergosterol, which is an essential component of fungal cell membranes. The disruption in production of ergosterol causes holes to appear in the fungal cell membrane.
- The cell membranes of fungi are vital for their survival. They keep unwanted substances from entering the cells and stop the contents of the cells from leaking out. By causing holes to appear in the cell membranes, clotrimazole allows essential constituents of the fungal cells to leak out. This kills the fungi and treats the infection.
How do I use Canesten 1% cream?
- Canesten cream should be applied to the affected area(s) of skin thinly two to three times daily and rubbed in gently.
- A strip of cream 0.5cm long is enough to treat an area of skin about the size of the hand.
- Make sure you wash your hands after applying the cream to avoid spreading the infection to other areas.
- Treatment should be continued for at least one month for dermatophyte infections such as athlete's foot and ringworm, and at least two weeks for thrush infections. Keep using the cream for a week after all the symptoms have cleared up - this will make sure the infection is fully treated and help avoid it coming back.
- If symptoms persist despite treatment, get medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist.
- Ask your pharmacist for further advice on treating your particular infection.
If you are using Canesten cream to treat athlete's foot you should make sure you wash and dry the feet, especially between the toes, before applying the cream.
If you are using Canesten 1% cream to treat vaginal thrush it will only relieve the external symptoms of the infection, such as itching, inflammation and soreness. It won't treat infection inside your vagina, and so should be used in combination with a thrush treatment that does, for example clotrimazole pessaries or cream that are inserted into the vagina, or an antifungal medicine taken by mouth. Your doctor or pharmacist can advise you about which products to use.
What should I know before using Canesten 1% cream?
- Consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this medicine if you are unsure of the cause of your infection, or you have not had it before.
- Canesten cream may damage latex (rubber) condoms and diaphragms (caps) and so make them ineffective at preventing pregnancy and STIs. If you are using this cream to treat the vagina or penis you should use an alternative method of contraception for at least five days after using the cream, or preferably avoid having sex until after the infection has cleared up. Remember that having sex while you still have thrush is likely to transmit the infection to your partner, who could then transfer it back to you.
- If your sexual partner also has symptoms of thrush it is important that they are treated at the same time as you to prevent you being re-infected. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
- Fungal skin infections are easily spread, so make sure you don't share personal items like towels or flannels until the infection has cleared up fully.
Who should not use Canesten 1% cream?
- People with known sensitivity or allergy to any ingredient of the cream. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and get advice from your doctor or pharmacist.
- Don't use this cream to treat nail or scalp infections.
Can I use Canesten 1% cream while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Canesten cream is unlikely to have any harmful effects if used during pregnancy because very little of the medicine is absorbed into the bloodstream. However, as with all medicines, you should check with your doctor or midwife before using this medicine if you are pregnant.
- This medicine is not significantly absorbed into the bloodstream from the skin and it is highly unlikely that any of the medicine will pass into breast milk. However, as with all medicines, you should get medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist before using this medicine if you are breastfeeding. If you do use Canesten cream while breastfeeding you should not apply it to the breasts before giving a feed, to avoid it being accidentally ingested by the nursing infant.
What are the possible side effects of Canesten 1% cream?
- Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with Canesten cream. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
- Irritation in area of use, for example burning, stinging, itching, redness, rash, blistering or peeling. Stop using the cream and consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have a severe reaction to it.
- Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you want any more information about the possible side effects of this medicine. If you think you have experienced a side effect, did you know you can report this using the yellow card website?
Can I use Canesten 1% cream with other medicines?
- This medicine is not absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream in significant amounts and so is not expected to affect other medicines.
- However, if you are using any other creams, ointments or lotions (including moisturisers or cosmetics) on the same area of skin, it's best not to apply these at the same time as Canesten. This is because they could dilute the medicine and make it less effective at treating the infection. Always leave about 30 minutes between applying different products to the same area of skin, to give them time to be absorbed.