How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Metronidazole belongs to the class of medications called antibiotics. Metronidazole topical medication is used to treat certain inflamed skin rashes, such as rosacea, which has also been called "adult acne." It is not known how this medication works to treat rosacea, but it is believed to work by killing bacteria and reducing inflammation. This medication reduces the symptoms of rosacea such as inflammation and redness of the skin. You should notice significant improvement in your symptoms in about 3 to 4 weeks.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each gram of white to slightly off-white soft cream contains metronidazole 10 mg (1% w/w). Nonmedicinal ingredients: glycerin, glyceryl monostearate, methylparaben, propylparaben, purified water, stearic acid, and triethanolamine.
How should I use this medication?
Apply and rub in a thin film of the topical gel, cream, or lotion twice daily, morning and evening, to the entire affected area after washing. For some strengths of metronidazole topical, your doctor may advise you to apply a thin film once daily to the affected area.
You should notice significant improvement in your symptoms in about 3 to 4 weeks. If your symptoms do not improve within this time period, call your doctor. Before applying the medication, cleanse any area to be treated. If you use cosmetics, you may apply them after applying metronidazole topical cream, gel, or lotion and after the medication has dried.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by the doctor. Keep using this medication for the full course of treatment. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use metronidazole topical if you are allergic to metronidazole or any ingredients of the medication.
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- blurred vision
- dry skin
- eye irritation
- redness or other signs of skin irritation not present before use of this medication
- stinging or burning of the skin
- dermatitis (skin rash)
- nausea or stomach upset
- vision changes
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of an irregular heartbeat (e.g., fainting, dizziness, light-headedness, weakness, or chest pain)
- symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (such as swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat; skin rash; hives; or difficulty breathing)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Blood disorder: If you have a blood disorder, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Exposure to sun: This medication can make you more sensitive to the sun. Avoid exposure to excessive sunlight, including sunlamps and tanning beds, when using the metronidazole topical gel, cream, or lotion.
Eye irritation: Avoid getting this medication in the eyes. Topical metronidazole has been reported to cause irritation of the eyes. Do not use it in or close to the eye. If contact does occur, flush your eye(s) with water.
Skin irritation: If local irritation occurs, speak to your doctor. Your doctor may advise you to use the medication less frequently, stop using it temporarily, or stop using it altogether.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using topical metronidazole, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for children.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between metronidazole topical and any of the following:
- antiarrhythmics (e.g., amiodarone, disopyramide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol)
- other topical (skin-applied) medications
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than the ones listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
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