Itraconazole

Sounds like 'it-ra-con-a-zole'

Easy-to-read medicine information about itraconazole – what it is, how to take itraconazole safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicineAlso called
  • Anti-fungal
  • Used to treat fungal infections
  • Itrazole®
  • Itcozol®
  • Sporanox®

What is itraconazole?

  • Itraconazole is used to treat a variety of fungal infections, e.g., fungal infections of the toenail or fingernail (called onychomycosis), or fungal infections of the skin or scalp (called tinea skin infections). It can also be used to treat vaginal thrush or oral thrush.
  • It works by stopping the growth of the fungus.
  • It is one of a group of medicines known as antifungals.

Dose

  • The dose of itraconazole will be different depending on the type of fungal infection being treated. 
  • Your doctor may prescribe 1 or 2 capsules (or 10 to 20 mL of liquid medicine), to be taken once or twice daily. 
  • Depending on the type of fungal infection, your doctor will prescribe a course of itraconazole that lasts from one day up to a few weeks. Your doctor may even prescribe itraconazole for 1 week each month for a few months.
  • Always take your itraconazole exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much itraconazole to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take itraconazole

  • Take itraconazole at the same times each day.
  • If you have been asked to take itraconazole twice daily, then space the doses out by taking one of the doses in the morning and the other dose in the evening.
  • If you are taking itraconazole on a schedule other than every day (e.g., 1 week every month), it may help to mark your calendar with a reminder.
  • Itraconazole capsules are best taken with or immediately after food.
  • Swallow the itraconazole capsules whole — do not open or chew them.  
  • Itraconazole liquid is best taken least one hour before meals or wait until two hours afterwards. 
  • If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day.
  • But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
  • Keep taking itraconazole every day, until the course is finished; otherwise your infection may come back.
  • It may take several months after you finish treatment to see the full benefit of itraconazole.
  • When used to treat nail infections, it takes time for your new healthy nails to grow out and replace the infected nails.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, itraconazole can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effectsWhat should I do?
  • Headache
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Vomiting (throwing up)
  • Diarrhoea (loose stool)
  • These are quite common when you first start taking itraconazole and usually go away with time
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Signs of problems with your heart such as trouble breathing, sudden weight gain, swelling ankles or feet or feeling very tired
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Signs of problems with your liver such as yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, pain in the abdomen
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116

Interactions

Itraconazole interacts with a number of important medications (such as heart medications and antidepressants) so check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet
Itrazole
Sporanox capsule
Sporanox oral solution

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr J Bycroft. Health Navigator NZ Last reviewed: 08 Jun 2015