Medication for Oral Thrush

Updated July 20, 2017

Oral thrush is a yeast infection that occurs in the mouth. A variety of non-prescription and prescription medications are available for treatment. Medications can be applied topically to the mouth or swallowed. All of these drugs, called antifungals, work to inhibit the growth of yeast. Medications are typically taken by adults for two weeks. Children and infants should be given medications for at least two days after symptoms have disappeared, according to

Non-prescription Medications

Listerine mouthwash and Gentian violet (1%) are two non-prescription medications that kill bacteria and fungi, including the yeast that causes thrush. Listerine may be recommended for use in persons with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Topical Antifungals

Lozenges and mouth rinses are two options for the delivery of topical antifungal medications. These medications work by directly affecting the area to halt yeast growth. Lozenges, such as clotrimazole (Mycelex), may work better because they take time to dissolve. An example of a rinse is chlorhexidine (Peridex). This mouthwash may also be used to help prevent oral thrush in people taking drugs that impair the immune system or in people with AIDS. Other topical medications include polyenes such as amphotericin b (Fungizone) and nystatin (Mycostatin). These drugs kill yeast when they come in contact with the fungi.

Oral Antifungals

Oral antifungal medications are swallowed, and the drug works to kill the yeast systemically. These medications may be taken alone, but for someone with a severe infection the doctor may recommend both topical and oral medications. Oral antifungals called azoles typically come in pill form and include fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral) and miconazole (Monistat). These drugs work by giving the body's immune system a boost to fight yeast infection. Fluconazole and ketoconazole are often used if oral thrush has spread into the oesophagus. Ketoconazole is the first choice for people with AIDS or other diseases that weaken the immune system.

Medications for Children

Oral thrush in children and infants is often treated with miconazole. Another drug typically used in children is ketoconazole.

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About the Author

Lynn Yoffee is a health and medical science journalist who has covered a wide range of medical topics and the business that drives health care for Medical Device Daily, and She has a Bachelor of Science in communications from University of Tennessee and started writing 1984.