Yeast infections require over-the-counter (OTC) creams or suppositories. In more severe cases, a person may need prescription-strength treatments.

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Yeast infections typically occur as a result of a fungus called Candida albicans. While they can occur on any area of the body, they are more common in moist, warm areas such as the vagina.

Many people can effectively treat vaginal yeast infections with suppositories or creams that are available either OTC or via prescription.

This article reviews the different medications a person can use to help treat a yeast infection.

The following table outlines the medications that can treat yeast infections.

Brand nameGeneric nameOTC or prescription?Form of medicationDose
Monistat clotrimazole OTCtopical ointmentApply 5 g each day for:
• 7–14 days at 1% strength
• 3 days at 2% strength
MonistatmiconazoleOTCtopical ointment or vaginal suppositoryApply 5 g each day for:
• 7 days at 2% strength
• 3 days at 4% strength

Insert 1 suppository each day for:
• 7 days for 100 mg
• 3 days for 200 mg
• 1 day for 1,200 mg
Vagistat-1tioconazoleOTCtopical ointmentApply 6.5% strength ointment once.
Gynazole-1, Mycelex-3butoconazole prescriptiontopical ointmentApply 2% strength ointment once.
Terazol 7terconazoleprescriptiontopical ointment or vaginal suppositoryApply 5 g of ointment each day for:
• 7 days at 0.4% strength
• 3 days at 0.8% strength

Insert one 80-mg suppository each day for 3 days.
Diflucanfluconazoleprescriptionoral tabletTake one 150-mg tablet.

Healthcare professionals classify yeast infections as complicated or uncomplicated.

Uncomplicated yeast infections will clear up in 80–90% of cases when a person uses either OTC or prescription forms of azoles. Azoles are a type of antifungal medication that a person can apply topically as a cream or insert into the vagina in the form of a suppository.

For infections that enter the bloodstream, a person will likely need an oral antifungal medication. The oral antifungal can help treat systemic infections and help prevent new infections from occurring.

Several OTC options are available at a pharmacy to help treat vaginal yeast infections. They typically take the form of vaginal suppositories and creams.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in most cases, a yeast infection will clear after one course of treatment. OTC medications typically come in 1- to 14-day packages, depending on how many doses a person needs to take.

Some treatments may come with additional medication to help relieve symptoms such as itching.

Clotrimazole

Clotrimazole comes in the form of a cream that a person applies in the vagina, or intravaginally. It is available in the following strengths:

  • 1% clotrimazole: A person should apply 5 grams (g) each day for 7–14 days.
  • 2% clotrimazole: A person should apply 5 g each day for 3 days.

Miconazole

Miconazole is available in different strengths as either a cream or a suppository from brands such as Monistat. The strengths dictate how long a person will need to use the medication:

  • Miconazole 2% cream: A person needs to apply 5 g intravaginally each day for 7 days.
  • Miconazole 4% cream: A person needs to apply 5 g intravaginally each day for 3 days.
  • Miconazole vaginal suppository, 100 milligrams (mg): A person should insert 1 suppository each day for 7 days.
  • Miconazole vaginal suppository, 200 mg: A person should insert 1 suppository each day for 3 days.
  • Miconazole vaginal suppository, 1,200 mg: A person should insert 1 suppository for 1 day.

Tioconazole

Tioconazole comes in the form of a 6.5% strength ointment.

A person needs to apply it only once for it to be effective.

A person may need a prescription medication if they do not see improvements in their symptoms when using OTC medications. They may also need prescription-strength treatment options if the yeast infection comes back or worsens after treatment.

In some severe cases, an infection may enter the bloodstream. If this occurs, a person may need systemic treatments, which they will take orally, such as:

  • caspofungin
  • amphotericin B
  • fluconazole
  • itraconazole

Butoconazole

Prescription-strength butoconazole comes as a 2% cream. A person applies a single dose intravaginally.

Terconazole

Terconazole comes in several prescription strengths:

  • 0.4% cream: A person should apply 5 g intravaginally each day for 7 days.
  • 0.8% cream: A person should apply 5 g intravaginally each day for 3 days.
  • Vaginal suppository, 80 mg: A person should insert 1 suppository each day for 3 days.

Fluconazole

Fluconazole comes in the form of an oral tablet. A person will need to take a 150-mg tablet in a single dose.

For recurrent yeast infections, a person may need to take the tablet each week for 6 months. Though this may help suppress the infection, it is generally not considered a curative treatment.

A person should consult a doctor before using any new medication during pregnancy or while nursing.

According to the CDC, pregnant people can use topical azole creams for 7 days. However, the CDC does not recommend fluconazole because it presents a risk of spontaneous pregnancy loss and congenital anomalies.

People can also develop a yeast infection on the penis. If this occurs, a person can typically treat it with topical antifungal creams.

For invasive infections, a person can take an oral antifungal medication such as fluconazole.

The CDC does not make any recommendations for sexual partners of people who have a yeast infection. In some cases, a person may develop balanitis, which is when the glans of the penis become itchy and swollen. Topical antifungal creams can help relieve symptoms.

The following are frequently asked questions about medications for yeast infections.

How long do the treatment options take to relieve symptoms?

Uncomplicated yeast infections should clear within 1–3 days depending on the medication a person uses.

Are there any natural treatment options for a yeast infection?

People may wish to try home remedies to treat a yeast infection. Options can include:

  • taking probiotics
  • eating garlic or natural yogurt or inserting them into the vagina
  • inserting tampons soaked in tea tree oil

However, it is important to note that there is a lack of research to show whether home remedies can treat yeast infections. Additionally, these remedies have associations with allergic reactions and irritation.

Learn more about 8 natural treatments for yeast infections.

Yeast infections in the vagina or on the penis typically require OTC creams or suppositories.

If an infection recurs or does not clear, a person may need to speak with a doctor for prescription treatment options. These are typically stronger, and a person may need to use them for longer periods in the case of recurrent infections.