How does it work?
Canesten 1% cream contains the active ingredient clotrimazole, which is an antifungal medicine used to treat infections with fungi and yeasts. Clotrimazole 1% cream is also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.
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. As clotrimazole causes holes to appear in the cell membranes, essential constituents of the fungal cells can leak out. This kills the fungi and treats the infection.
Canesten 1% cream is used to treat a wide range of skin infections caused by fungi. These include infections with dermatophytes such as tinea, eg ringworm (tinea corporis), athlete's foot (tinea pedis), and jock itch (tinea cruris) and infections with yeasts such as candida, eg fungal nappy rash, sweat rash, or thrush affecting the outside of the vagina (vulva and labia) or the end of the penis.
What is it used for?
Skin infections caused by yeasts (eg Candida), dermatophytes (eg Trichophyton, Tinea), moulds and other fungi, such as the following:
How do I use it?
- 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 and at least two weeks for candidal infections.
- 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.
- Consult your doctor before using this medicine if you are unsure of the cause of your infection, or you have not had it before.
- Canesten cream is for external use only. Take care to avoid getting the cream in your eyes or mouth. Wash your hands after applying the cream.
- 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 the infection 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.
- If symptoms persist despite treatment, seek medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist.
Not to be used in
- People with known sensitivity or allergy to any ingredient.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
- The safety of this medicine when used during pregnancy has not been specifically studied. It has been used by a large number of women during pregnancy without any apparant harmful effects. However, as with all medicines, you should consult your doctor or midwife before using this medicine during pregnancy.
- 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 seek medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist before using this medicine if you are breastfeeding. If you do use this medicine while breastfeeding you should not apply it to the breasts before giving a feed, to avoid it being accidentally ingested by the nursing infant.
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 this medicine. 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.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
How can this medicine affect other medicines?
This medicine is not known to affect other medicines.
Other medicines containing the same active ingredient
For treating fungal skin infections:
For treating athlete's foot:
For treating vaginal thrush:
Clotrimazole pessaries are also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.