Generic Name: metronidazole (met-roe-NYE-da-zole)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 5, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Rosadan Cream Kit
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antiacne Antibacterial
Chemical Class: Nitroimidazole
Uses for metronidazole
Topical metronidazole is applied to the skin in adults to help control rosacea , also known as acne rosacea and “adult acne.” Metronidazole helps to reduce the redness of the skin and the number of pimples, usually found on the face, in patients with rosacea.
Topical metronidazole is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using metronidazole
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For metronidazole, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to metronidazole or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Rosacea is usually considered an adult disease. Therefore, topical metronidazole is not generally used in children.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of topical metronidazole in the elderly with use in other age groups.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking metronidazole, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using metronidazole with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using metronidazole with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Aripiprazole Lauroxil
- Arsenic Trioxide
- Cholera Vaccine, Live
- Inotuzumab Ozogamicin
- Mycophenolate Mofetil
- Mycophenolic Acid
- Papaverine Hydrochloride
- Sodium Phosphate
- Sodium Phosphate, Dibasic
- Sodium Phosphate, Monobasic
Using metronidazole with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Milk Thistle
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using metronidazole with any of the following is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication, change some of the other medicines you take, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of metronidazole. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Blood disease or a history of blood disease—Metronidazole may make the condition worse
Proper use of metronidazole
Do not use metronidazole in or near the eyes. Watering of the eyes may occur when the medicine is used too close to the eyes.
If metronidazole does get into your eyes, wash them out immediately, but carefully, with large amounts of cool tap water. If your eyes still burn or are painful, check with your doctor.
Before applying metronidazole, thoroughly wash the affected area(s) with a mild, nonirritating cleanser, rinse well, and gently pat dry.
- After washing the affected area(s), apply metronidazole with your fingertips.
- Apply and rub in a thin film of medicine, using enough to cover the affected area(s) lightly. You should apply the medicine to the whole area usually affected by rosacea, not just to the pimples themselves .
- Wash the medicine off your hands.
To help keep your rosacea under control, keep using metronidazole for the full time of treatment. You may have to continue using metronidazole every day for 9 weeks or longer. Do not miss any doses.
The dose of metronidazole will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of metronidazole. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For topical dosage forms (cream, gel, and lotion):
- For rosacea:
- Adults—Apply to the affected area(s) of skin two times a day, morning and evening, for nine weeks.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For rosacea:
If you miss a dose of metronidazole, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Precautions while using metronidazole
If your rosacea does not improve within 3 weeks, or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor. However, treatment of rosacea may take up to 9 weeks or longer before you see full improvement.
Stinging or burning of the skin may be expected after metronidazole is applied. These effects may last up to a few minutes or more. If irritation continues, check with your doctor. You may have to use the medicine less often or stop using it altogether. Follow your doctor's directions.
You may continue to use cosmetics (make-up) while you are using metronidazole for rosacea. However, it is best to use only “oil-free” cosmetics. Also, it is best not to use cosmetics too heavily or too often. They may make your rosacea worse. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
Metronidazole side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Dry skin
- redness or other signs of skin irritation not present before use of metronidazole
- stinging or burning of the skin
- watering of eyes
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- tingling or numbness of arms, legs, hands, or feet
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about metronidazole topical
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Pricing & Coupons
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