Why is it prescribed?
Itraconazole is used to treat many fungal infections. This material will be limited to the treatment of candidiasis (yeast) infections in the mouth and throat.
Along with its needed effects, itraconazole may cause some unwanted or undesirable effects. The severity and duration of these effects are dependant on many factors including duration of therapy, dose, and individual response. The most common side effects that cause people to stop treatment either for a short time or completely include:
- skin rash
- oversensitivity to light
- fluid in the lungs
- unpleasant taste
Other side effects that may occur include:
- menstrual disorders
- hair loss
In rare cases, people on itraconazole may develop serious liver problems or nerve problems. Report any side effects to your doctor of pharmacist.
Itraconazole is an antifungal agent. It works by interfering with the production of the main building block of the fungal cell membrane. This allows the contents of the cell to leak out, resulting in fungal cell death.
Itraconazole should be taken exactly as prescribed. Continue taking the medication until it is finished or it will prevent complete elimination of the fungi (e.g. yeast), causing the infection to return.
Notify your doctor if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms: unusual fatigue, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice), dark urine or pale stools, shortness of breath, unusual swelling of your feet, ankles or legs, sudden weight gain, unusual tiredness, cough up white or pink phelegm, or have unusual fast heartbeats.
In women of child bearing age, a reliable form of birth control should be used during therapy and for 2 months after stopping the itraconazole.
Even though a few children between the ages of 3 to 16 years have taken itraconazole safely, it has not been proven safe and effective.
Drug Interactions: It is important to tell your doctor and pharmacist about any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking to help avoid any serious drug interactions. The dose of one or both medications may need to be altered or a new drug may be prescribed. In some cases, one of the drugs may have to be discontinued. The following drugs or drug classes have been known to interact with itraconazole.
- digoxin (e.g. Lanoxin®)
- acid blockers (e.g. cimetidine)
- warfarin (e.g. Coumadin®))
- cyclosporine (e.g. Neoral®)
- triazolam (e.g. Halcion®)
- phenytoin (e.g. Dilantin®)
- certain calcium channel blockers (e.g. nifedipine, amlodipine)
- ergot alkaloids (e.g. ergotamine)
- pimozide e.g. Orap®)
- cholesterol lowering medications (e.g. Mevacor®)
Use is not recommended in the following situations:
- allergy to itraconazole or any component of the preparation
- people with congestive heart failure
Caution is recommended in the following situations:
- liver disease
- heart disease
- kidney disease
- if given with certain drugs known to interact with itraconazole
Use in pregnancy: There have not been adequate studies done with itraconazole use in pregnant women. If you suspect that you may be pregnant contact your doctor.
Use while breastfeeding: Itraconazole does pass into the breast-milk an use is not recommended. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before use.