Clotrimazole for fungal infections

This leaflet is for parents and carers about how to use this medicine in children. Our information may differ from that provided by the manufacturers, because their information usually relates to adults. Read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

Name of medicine

Clotrimazole (kloe-TRIM-uh-zole)

Brand names: Canesten

Why is it important for my child to take Clotrimazole?

Your child has an infection caused by a fungus. Clotrimazole kills the fungus and so gets rid of the infection, or stops an infection from developing.

Some of the fungus may remain after the infection has gone. It is therefore important that you continue to apply clotrimazole as your doctor has prescribed, to make sure all the fungi are killed, otherwise the infection may come back. Do not stop early.

What is Clotrimazole available as?


  • Solution (liquid drops): 1%


  • Cream: 1%, this contains small amounts of alcohol
  • Spray: 1%; for large or hairy areas


  • Cream: 1%, 2%, this contains small amounts of alcohol
  • Intravaginal cream: 10%, this contains small amounts of alcohol
  • Pessaries: 100 mg, 200 mg, 500 mg with applicator (pessaries are not usually prescribed for children)

If you have any concerns or questions, speak with your child’s doctor or pharmacist.

When should I give Clotrimazole

For skin or vaginal cream, drops or spray for fungal skin infections and for ear solution, clotrimazole is usually applied 2-3 times per day.

  • Twice a day: this should be once in the morning and once in the evening. Ideally, these times are 10-12 hours apart, for example, sometime between 7 and 8 am and between 7 and 8 pm.
  • Three times a day: this should be in the morning, early afternoon and at bedtime. Ideally, these are at least 6 hours apart, for example, 8 am, 2 pm and 8 pm.

Apply the cream/ointment at about the same times each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.

For vaginal pessaries:

  • Insert one pessary at night as a single dose. This may be repeated once after 7 days, if necessary.

Vaginal pessaries are not usually prescribed for children; it is more common to treat with cream. Please speak with your child’s doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of Clotrimazole (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

If you have bought your medicine over the counter, follow the instructions on the packaging. If you are not sure how much to give, contact your pharmacist or doctor.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.

How should I give Clotrimazole?

Skin cream/spray

  • Wash your hands before and after applying the cream, ointment or spray. This will help stop the infection spreading.
  • Squeeze out length of cream against your finger. Spread the cream or spray the solution in a thin layer over the affected area until it has soaked into the skin.
  • Do not rub the cream/ointment hard into the skin as you may irritate the skin. Apply the cream/ointment/spray to all areas of skin with fungal infection. Do not apply it to skin that is not affected.

Ear drops

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water.
  • Shake the bottle.
  • Your child needs to have their head tilted to one side. (They could rest their head on a pillow.)
  • Put the tip of the dropper just inside the ear hole. Try to avoid touching the nozzle on to the ear. Gently squeeze the drop(s) into the ear.
  • Your child should keep their head tilted to one side for a minute or so.
  • Wipe the nozzle with a clean tissue after each use.
  • Repeat the above steps for the other ear if necessary.

Vaginal pessaries and cream

The pessaries and cream may come with an applicator. Intravaginal preparations, particularly those that require the use of an applicator, should be avoided in young girls who are not sexually active, unless there is no alternative. Use your finger for application in girls who are not sexually active.

  • Wash your hands before and after inserting the pessary and/or cream.
  • Your child should sit or lie down with their knees bent and legs apart.
  • Cream: squeeze out a length of cream against your finger and place it as high up in the vagina as you can.
  • Pessaries: if using an applicator, insert the pessary as far up the vagina as is comfortable. Alternatively, use one finger to insert the pessary as high up in the vagina as you can.

When should the medicine start working?

The medicine should start working in the first week. Apply the cream, ointment or spray to the skin or ear for at least 14 days after the infection has disappeared, as it takes a while to kill all the fungus. If applying vaginal cream, do so for 1-3 days. If you are worried about whether the medicine is helping, contact your doctor.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

You do not need to worry if your child is sick, as the medicine will still work.

What if I forget to give it?

If you miss a dose, wait until the next normal dose. Do not give the missed dose.

What if I give too much?

You are unlikely to cause harm if you give an extra dose of Clotrimazole by mistake. If you are concerned that you may have given too much, contact your doctor or local NHS services (details at end of leaflet). Have the medicine or packaging with you if you telephone for advice.

Are there any possible side effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we do not want (side-effects).

  • Occasional local irritation can include mild burning sensation, areas of redness and itching. If these sideeffects are severe, stop giving the medicine and contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice. 

There may sometimes be other side effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor. You can report any suspected side effects to a UK safety scheme at

Can other medicines be given at the same time as Clotrimazole?

  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.

Is there anything else I need to know about this medicine?

  • Contact with the eyes, mouth and lips should be avoided.
  • It is important that your child takes the whole course of treatment. The fungus may remain after your child’s symptoms have gone; however, it is important to kill all of the fungus, to make sure that the infection doesn’t come back.
  • If your child’s fungal infections keep coming back, they may need to use a different medicine. Please discuss this with your child’s doctor.

General advice about medicines

  • Try to give medicines at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
  • Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.
  • If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor for advice.
  • Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you will run out.
  • Make sure that the medicines you have at home have not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.
  • If you are not sure a medicine is working, contact your doctor but continue to give the medicine as usual in the meantime. Do not give extra doses, as you may do harm.

Where should I keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight.
  • It does not need to be kept in the fridge.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who to contact for more information?

Your child’s doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about Clotrimazole and about other medicines used to treat infections.

England: NHS 111

Tel 111

Scotland: NHS 24

Northern Ireland: NI Direct

Wales: NHS Direct

Tel 111 (free) or 0845 46 47 (2p per minute)

Copyright disclaimer

Version [1]. © NPPG, RCPCH and WellChild, all rights reserved. Review by July 2019.

The primary source for the information in this leaflet is the British National Formulary for Children. For details on any other sources used for this leaflet, please contact us through our website,

We take great care to make sure that the information in this leaflet is correct and up-to-date. However, medicines can be used in different ways for different patients. It is important that you ask the advice of your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure about something. This leaflet is about the use of these medicines in the UK, and may not apply to other countries. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG), WellChild and the contributors and editors cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of information, omissions of information, or any actions that may be taken as a consequence of reading this leaflet.