How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Dequalinium belongs to the class of medications called anti-infectives. It is used to treat an infection of the vagina, called bacterial vaginosis, in women less than 55 years of age. This medication works by killing the bacteria causing the infection.

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 white or almost white, oval, biconvex vaginal tablet contains 10 mg of dequalinium chloride. Nonmedicinal ingredients: lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, and microcrystalline cellulose.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose of dequalinium chloride is 1 vaginal tablet daily, inserted deep into the vagina, before bedtime, for 6 consecutive days. It may be inserted using the applicator provided in the package, or inserted with your fingers.

Wash your hands with mild soap and water before opening the package and again after inserting the tablet. If you are using the applicator, wash the applicator after using it with an unscented soap and dry it using a clean cloth.

Some of the non-medicinal ingredients of this medication may not dissolve completely. It is normal to see small remnants of the tablet in the undergarments the next day. If the tablet is discharged whole from the vagina, moisten it with a drop of water and re-insert the tablet.

This medication should not be used while you are menstruating. Treatment should be started at least 6 days before your menstrual period is expected to begin, or after your period has stopped.  If your period starts while you are taking dequalinium, temporarily stop treatment and resume it once your period is finished.  Do not use tampons, menstrual cups, douches, condoms, or vaginal spermicides while using dequalinium. You should not have sexual intercourse while taking dequalinium.

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 taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Keep using this medication for the full course of treatment even if you feel better. 

If you miss a 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. Do not insert more than on tablet per day.  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 take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to dequalinium or any ingredients of the medication
  • have sores or ulcers in the vagina
  • have not had your first menstrual period

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.

  • burning sensation
  • discharge from the vagina
  • headache
  • inflammation of the vulva or vagina
  • nausea
  • rash on the vulva or vagina
  • vaginal discomfort
  • vaginal dryness or pain
  • vomiting

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abdominal pain
  • fever
  • irritation or sores in the vagina
  • symptoms of bladder inflammation (e.g., pain or burning while urinating, frequent need to urinate, blood in the urine, cloudy or strong-smelling urine, fever, pelvic pain, pressure in the lower abdomen)
  • symptoms of skin fungus (e.g., redness, itching or burning, peeling, cracked or scaly skin, blisters, swelling, or irritation)
  • symptoms of worsening or new vaginal infection (e.g., itching, burning, pain, swelling, irritation of the vagina or vulva; discharge with a white "cottage cheese" appearance)
  • vaginal bleeding

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)

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.

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: It is not known if dequalinium chloride passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children or adolescents.

What other drugs could 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. 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. In many cases, interactions are intended or are managed by close monitoring. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

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