Itraconazole

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

Itraconazole is an antifungal medicine used to treat infections caused by fungi. Find out how to take it safely and the possible side effects. Itraconazole is also called Itrazole or Sporanox.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Anti-fungal
  • Used to treat fungal infections
  • Itrazole®
  • Sporanox®

What is itraconazole?

Itraconazole is an antifungal medicine. It is used to treat a variety of fungal infections, eg, 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.

Dose

  • In Aotearoa New Zealand, Itraconazole is available as 100 mg capsules and 10 mg/mL oral liquid.
  • The dose of itraconazole depends on the type of fungal infection being treated. 
  • Your doctor may prescribe 1 or 2 capsules (or 10–20 mL of liquid medicine), to be taken once or two times a day. 
  • The duration of treatment depends on the type of fungal infection you have. It can vary from a 1 day treatment to 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

  • Timing
    • Take itraconazole at the same time/s each day.
    • If you have been asked to take itraconazole twice a day, 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 (eg, 1 week every month), it may help to mark your calendar with a reminder.
  • Capsules: Take capsules with or immediately after food. Swallow them whole – do not open or chew them.
  • Liquid: Take liquid at least 1 hour before meals or wait until 2 hours afterwards. 
  • Missed dose: 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.
  • Complete the course: Keep taking itraconazole every day, until your course is finished; otherwise your infection may come back.
  • When to see a benefit
    • 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.

Precautions before starting itraconazole

  • Do you have any heart problems such as heart failure?
  • Do you have a long term lung condition such as COPD?
  • Do you have problems with your kidneys?

If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start itraconazole. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.

Taking other medicines

  • Itraconazole can interact with some medications like calcium channel blockers so let your doctor know if you are taking these.
  • Itraconazole can also interact with some herbal supplements and rongoā Māori, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting itraconazole and before starting any new products.
  • Grapefruit, grapefruit juice or sour/Seville oranges may react with itraconazole.

What are the side effects of itraconazole?

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

Side effects What should I do?
  • Headache
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Vomiting (throwing up)
  • Diarrhoea (runny poo)
  • These are quite common when you first start taking itraconazole and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if they bother you.
  • 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.

For more information on side effects, see the Medsafe consumer information leaflets Itrazole and Sporanox.

Did you know that you can report a medicine side effect to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM)? Report a side effect to a product

Learn more

The following links have more information on itraconazole.

Itraconazole Patient Information NZ Formulary 
Itrazole Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet, NZ 
Sporanox Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet, NZ 

References

Itraconazole  NZ Formulary
Itrazole  Medsafe, NZ
Sporanox Medsafe, NZ

Additional resources for healthcare professionals

Interactions checker NZ Formulary
Tinea pedis – not just the curse of the athlete BPAC, NZ, 2014
Vulvovaginal health in premenopausal women BPAC, NZ, 2011
Management of fungal nail infections BPAC, NZ, 2009

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Maya Patel, MPharm PGDipClinPharm, Auckland Last reviewed: 27 Jan 2022