Medically reviewed on October 16, 2017
What is metronidazole topical?
Metronidazole is an antibiotic that fights bacteria in the body.
Metronidazole topical (for the skin) is used to treat skin lesions caused by rosacea.
Metronidazole topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use metronidazole topical if you are allergic to it.
To make sure metronidazole topical is safe for you, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and allergies.
Metronidazole topical is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether metronidazole topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I use metronidazole topical?
Use this medicine exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not use the medication in larger amounts, or use it for longer than recommended by your doctor.
Wash and gently dry your skin before applying metronidazole topical
Apply the medication in a thin layer and rub in completely. You may apply cosmetics after using metronidazole topical.
Do not use metronidazole topical to treat any skin condition that has not been checked by your doctor.
Use this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics.
Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using metronidazole topical.
Store metronidazole topical at room temperature away from moisture or heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the medication as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and use the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
An overdose of metronidazole applied to the skin is not expected to produce life-threatening symptoms.
What should I avoid while using metronidazole topical?
Do not take by mouth. Metronidazole topical is for use only on the skin. If this medication gets in your eyes, rinse with water.
Do not use topical metronidazole in the vagina.
Metronidazole topical side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have severe stinging or burning when you apply metronidazole topical.
Common side effects may include:
mild burning or stinging;
numbness or tingly feeling in your hands or feet;
mild skin redness or irritation;
dry, scaly, or itchy skin;
metallic taste in your mouth.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Metronidazole topical dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Acne Rosacea:
1% Topical Cream or Gel: Apply and rub in a thin film to the affected area(s) once a day
0.75% Topical Cream, Gel, or Lotion: Apply and rub in a thin layer to affected area(s) twice a day in the morning and evening
-A gentle cleaner should be used prior to application.
-Cosmetics may be applied following application.
Use: For the topical treatment of inflammatory lesions and erythema of rosacea
Usual Adult Dose for Bacterial Vaginosis:
1.3% Vaginal Gel: Insert 1 applicatorful intravaginally once at bedtime
0.75% Vaginal Gel: Insert 1 applicatorful intravaginally once or twice a day for 5 days; once a day dosing should be administered at bedtime
Use: For the treatment of bacterial vaginosis in non-pregnant women
What other drugs will affect metronidazole topical?
It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied metronidazole. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.03.
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