Q. What is Itraconazole used for?
Itraconazole is used to treat fungal infections caused by Trichophyton spp., Microsporum spp., and Epidermophyton floccosum. The infections caused could be ringworm infection, infection of feet, or infection in groin and buttocks. This medicine also treats persistent infection of fingernails and toenails, persistent candida (yeast) infections of vagina or candida (yeast) infections of the mouth or throat in patients with lower resistance to disease. It is also used in the treatment of cryptococcal infection and infections caused by histoplasma, aspergillus and blastomyces.
Q. For how long do I need to take Itraconazole?
The dose and length of treatment will depend on the type and site of infection and your response to the treatment. For example, if you are taking Itraconazole for athlete’s foot (fungal infection of the skin on the feet and between the toes), the dose may need to be taken for 30 days. While, on the other hand, if you are taking it for candidal infection of vagina, the dose may take about 1 to 3 3 days depending on the dosage advised by the doctor.
Q. What should I do if I skip a dose of Itraconazole?
If you forget to take your dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the forgotten dose.
Q. I am taking Itraconazole for nail infection but there does not seem to be any improvement. Can I stop taking it?
No, you should not stop taking Itraconazole without completing the entire course. This is because if you stop the medication then your fungal infection may not get completely cured. It usually takes about 6-9 months for the nail lesions to get cured and after that the new nail also takes several months to grow. Therefore, do not worry if you do not see any improvement during the treatment.
Q. Why has my doctor asked me to get blood tests done?
Your doctor may have prescribed blood tests to monitor your liver’s functioning. This is because the use of Itraconazole may cause serious liver damage. Therefore, if you develop loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine or abdominal pain while taking Itraconazole, immediately inform your doctor.
Q. Can I take an antacid and Itraconazole together?
Itraconazole can be utilized by the body if there is sufficient acid in the stomach. Medicines for stomach ulcers, heartburn or indigestion neutralize the acid produced by the stomach. Therefore, it is advised to avoid taking antacids or any such medicine for a minimum of 2 hours after taking Itraconazole. However, if you are taking antacids (medicines that stop the production of stomach acid), take Itraconazole capsules with a drink of cola.
Q. What is drug resistance? Is it possible to develop resistance to Itraconazole?
Drug resistance is a condition when the fungi get modified in your body and the medicine is not able to work. There are reports which suggest resistance of some candida species (krusei, glabrata and tropicalis) with Itraconazole. Itraconazole should not be used for infection caused due to these species. It is advised to take the complete course of Itraconazole to avoid drug resistance.
Q. I am on Alprazolam for quite some time. Is it okay if I start Itraconazole now?
Yes, you can take both Alprazolam and Itraconazole together, but keep a watch on the side effects of Alprazolam such as lightheadedness or drowsiness. If you experience side effects after taking Itraconazole, talk to your doctor who will modify the dose of alprazolam.
Q. My doctor prescribed Itraconazole to me but not to my friend who had a similar fungal infection because she was on dofetilide. Why is it so?
Your doctor did not prescribe Itraconazole to your friend because Itraconazole interferes with the working of dofetilide. This interference can cause disturbed electrical activity of the heart, which can be harmful for the patient.
Q. Is Itraconazole effective?
Itraconazole is effective if used in the dose and duration advised by your doctor. Do not stop taking it even if you see improvement in your condition. If you stop using Itraconazole too early, the symptoms may return or worsen.