Nystatin is a prescription anti-fungal medication used to treat fungal infections of the intestinal tract, mouth, vagina and skin. Common infections it is used for include ringworm, jock itch and athlete's foot, according to Drugs.com. Nystatin can be taken orally, but creams are also available to be applied directly to the affected skin.
Nystatin cream weakens the cell membranes of the fungal cells the drug is targeting. Once the membrane weakens, the contents of the cell begin to leak out, eventually causing the infectious cells to die, thereby curing the infection, according to Drugs.com.
When using Nystatin cream to clear a fungal infection, clean and dry the area first. Place a small amount of the cream on the affected skin and work in to the skin thoroughly, according to the National Institutes of Health. If you are using a vaginal cream, insert it high into the vagina, closely following the application instructions. Do not use tampons while using Nystatin cream in the vagina.
Commonly reported side effects for people using Nystatin creams or vaginal creams include burning, itching and irritation on the skin around where the medicine was applied, according to the National Institutes of Health. In rare cases, allergic reactions are possible. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include hives, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face and mouth.
Nystatin cream is non-toxic and has no known drug interactions, according to RXList. Additionally, there are no known contraindications for people suffering from certain medical conditions or illnesses. However, do not use Nystatin cream without first speaking with your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using Nystatin, contact your doctor immediately.
Store Nystatin cream in the packaging it came in from the pharmacy, and keep the cap or lid firmly in place. Refrigerate skin creams and vaginal cream, and do not allow them to freeze, according to the National Institutes of Health.