Nystatin Alternatives

Nystatin is an anti-fungal medication available as orally consumed pills or liquids, as a topical cream, and as a cream insertion. Medline Plus notes that nystatin is associated with skin irritation and itching in its cream form, and with diarrhea, nausea and skin rashes as a tablet. As a result, some patients would prefer alternative anti-fungal medications. Exploring some of the top nystatin alternatives can help patients make the right choice.

A woman on a bed applies Nystatin to her toes. (Image: JackF/iStock/Getty Images)


A popular alternative to nystatin is the anti-fungal and antibiotic agent ketoconazole. It can be absorbed through the skin or ingested. Drugs.com notes that it can be used to treat internal and external fungal infections, and Patient UK notes its presence in creams, specialized scalp shampoos and oral tablets. Ketaconazole may cause upset stomach, headache and dizziness in mild cases, as well as heartbeat changes, fainting and unusual bleeding in severe cases, according to Drugs.com.


Fluconazole is an anti-fungal medication that can be used instead of nystatin to treat vaginal thrush, according to Patient UK. The medication is taken as pills or through intravenous infusion, and RxList notes that in this way it can also be used as an alternative to other vaginal cream treatments on the market.

RxList further notes that fluconazole may be particularly effective at stopping fungal infections in patients who have had bone marrow transplants or radiation therapies. The most common side effects of fluconazole after a single dose are headaches, experienced by about 13% of users, and nausea, experienced by about 7% of users according to RxList.


Terbinafine is an alternative for topically applied nystatin. The medication is most commonly used as a topical cream to treat nail fungus, according to Patient UK, though it has other applications for external use outside the nail area. Net Doctor reports that terbinafine can be used to treat athlete's foot, jock itch and ringworm.

The medication does come with the severe side effect of liver damage. Net Doctor reports that this is a rare but serious side effect of using terbinafine characterized by signs of jaundice, dark urine, abdominal pain, and unexplainable flu-like symptoms. Minor symptoms include headaches, loss of appetite, and skin irritation which may take the form of a rash according to Net Doctor.

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