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Canesten Duo is a combination product used to treat vaginal thrush. Canesten Duo contains 2 separate medications:
- a single dose of Canesten Oral Capsule, which contains fluconazole 150mg
- a 10 gram tube of Canesten Thrush External Cream that contains clotrimazole 2% w/w
If you swallow the oral capsule and use the cream consistently, you can treat the cause of your thrush.
Canesten Duo is a branded medication manufactured by Bayer plc.
Oral Tablet + Cream - £17.99
About Canesten Duo
Canesten Duo is a dual treatment used to treat the cause and symptoms of thrush.
Inside each pack of Canesten Duo there is 1 oral capsule and a tube of cream. The oral capsule treats the internal infection and the cream soothes the external symptoms of thrush. You’ll get relief from any itching and vaginal discharge.
Thrush is caused by an overgrowth of the fungi Candida in your vagina. Candida naturally lives in your body, in places like your skin, gut lining and vagina. An imbalance in the natural levels of Candida can be caused by different factors such as:
- contraceptive pills
- some antibiotics
- a weakened immune system
This leads to an overgrowth of the fungi and an infection.
The symptoms of thrush can be easy to identify. You may have white, odourless vaginal discharge and feel irritation or itchiness around your vagina. You might also have a burning sensation when you pee or have sex.
Thrush symptoms are different to other vaginal infections, like bacterial vaginosis. If you’re confused about your symptoms, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
You can treat thrush with antifungal medication. Canesten Oral Capsule contains fluconazole and Canesten Thrush External Cream contains clotrimazole. Both fluconazole and clotrimazole are effective antifungal agents that stop Candida from growing.
To use Canesten Duo, you will have to take a capsule and apply a cream.
To take a Canesten Oral Capsule:
- take 1 capsule with a glass of water
- do not chew or crush the capsule
Canesten Oral Capsule is a single dose that treats thrush at the site of the infection. You can take Canesten Oral Capsule with or without food.
You can use Canesten Thrush External Cream 2 to 3 times a day. To use Canesten Cream:
- pierce the foil of the tube with the pointy end of the cap
- apply the cream to the affected areas around your vulva (outside of the vagina) or penis
- rub the cream gently into your skin until it absorbs completely
You should keep using Canesten Cream until your symptoms have disappeared, or until your doctor has advised you to do so.
Do not insert Canesten Thrush External Cream into your vagina or swallow the cream as it is only meant for external use.
Try to avoid using other feminine hygiene products, like vaginal deodorants or creams unless you have been directed to by your doctor.
Canesten Duo is made up of Canesten Oral Capsule and Canesten Thrush External Cream. These products contain the active ingredients fluconazole and clotrimazole, both antifungal medications.
Fluconazole and clotrimazole work in a similar way. They both stop the production of ergosterol, an important part of a fungi cell. Without ergosterol, Candida cannot function and will eventually die.
Clotrimazole cream can be used for a wide range of fungal infections, such as athlete's foot and nappy rash.
As with many infections, thrush can be contagious. You can pass thrush on to your partner when having sex. However, thrush is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI). You should still get yourself treated to avoid passing the infection on to others.
Your partner can use Canesten Duo to treat thrush if they have the symptoms. Symptoms of thrush in men include:
- white coloured discharge or residue
- burning or stinging feeling when you pee
- irritation, itching or soreness on your penis
Canesten Duo contains an oral capsule that effectively treats thrush at the source of the infection. You will see an improvement in your symptoms within a couple of days of taking Canesten Oral Capsule.
You should follow your doctor’s direction for the duration of treatment. Canesten Thrush External Cream is usually used for 1 to 2 weeks depending on your symptoms. Remember to finish the course completely to avoid thrush from coming back.
If you do not see any improvement after 7 days of treatment, speak to your doctor.
Both the capsule and cream in Canesten Duo are widely used medications that are safe and effective to treat thrush. You may get some side effects when using Canesten Duo, but these do not affect everyone.
The common side effects of Canesten Oral Capsule include:
- feeling sick or being sick
Some uncommon side effects of Canesten Oral Capsule include:
- feeling weak
- loss of appetite
- feeling drowsy or unable to sleep
- dry mouth
Canesten Thrush External Cream has very few side effects. You may feel some itching or burning when applying the cream, but this is not common.
For further information about the side effects of Canesten Duo, read the patient information leaflet.
You can use Canesten Duo if you are a woman aged between 16 to 60 years old.
In some cases, you should not use Canesten Duo. This includes if you:
- are allergic to fluconazole, clotrimazole or any of the ingredients in Canesten Duo
- are under 16 or over 60 years old
- are pregnant or think you are pregnant
- are breastfeeding
- have liver problems
- have heart problems
- have diarrhoea
- feel sick or have vomited
- have foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- lower abdominal pain
- pain or difficulty when trying to pee
- ulcers or blisters on your vagina or vulva (outer part of your vagina)
- irregular bleeding or bloody discharge
You should also speak to your doctor if this is the first time you have had thrush symptoms or if you have had thrush more than twice in 6 months.
If you are a man and think you have thrush, speak to your doctor if you:
- are not sure if your partner has thrush
- have difficulty or pain when trying to pee
- have abnormal discharge from your penis or your penis starts to smell
- have ulcers or blisters on your penis
If either you or your partner has had an STI in the past, you should speak to your doctor before using Canesten Duo.
Canesten Duo may interact with other medications you are taking. If you are taking any prescription items or over-the-counter products, let your doctor or pharmacist know.
Canesten Duo can interact with:
- cholesterol treatment, such as simvastatin or atorvastatin
- anti inflammatory medication, like ibuprofen or diclofenac
- blood thinning medication, also called anticoagulants
- certain medications used in diabetes treatment called sulphonylureas, such as gliclazide
- epilepsy treatment, such as carbamazepine or phenytoin
- amiodarone or quinidine used to treat heart arrhythmias
- certain antibiotics used in tuberculosis treatment like rifampicin
- some antidepressants, like amitriptyline
These medicines can interfere with how Canesten Duo works.
Remember that Canesten Thrush External Cream can damage condoms and diaphragms. It’s best to avoid having sex while you still have the symptoms of thrush, until the infection completely clears.
There are several treatment options available if you prefer an alternative product to treat thrush.
You can request the following from ZAVA:
These medications are also available at most pharmacies.
You can follow these tips while using thrush treatment to help your body fight the infection:
- wear loose fitting underwear and trousers
- avoid using feminine hygiene products like perfumes or deodorants
- wash your vagina or penis with water only
- dry yourself thoroughly after washing
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 16 Feb 2022
Thrush, Bayer [accessed February 2023]
Thrush in men and women, National Health Service [accessed February 2023]
Canesten (Topical), Drugs.com [accessed February 2023]
Common questions about clotrimazole for thrush, National Health Service [accessed February 2023]