Spectazole cream is a well-known medicated cream used to treat fungal infections of the skin. It is an effective antifungal agent that kills fungi by hampering its cell membrane and causing it to die. Spectazole is also known by its generic name econazole nitrate. Spectazole is helpful in treating a number of skin problems such as athlete's foot, jock itch, ringworm, and a number of other fungal infections of the skin. This medicine was also found to be effective in treating a skin infection called pityriasis or tinea versicolor, which is an infection caused by fungi that result in discoloration of the skin around the arms, chest, neck, or leg areas. Spectazole is an antifungal that not only treats a fungal skin infection but also helps in preventing fungal growth.
What are fungal skin infections?
Skin infections caused by fungal growth are very common and can be extremely troublesome to treat. There are various types of skin infections that affect different parts of the body, and some of the common ones include athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, and other yeast infections.
There are various factors that can make the skin vulnerable to fungal infections. Fungi normally dwell in moist regions of the body where the skin surfaces rub each other, such as the toes, in the genital areas, and under the breasts. Commonly, fungal skin infections are a result of yeast manifesting in the body.
Most fungal infections are on the outside surface of the skin, rarely penetrating the system. Hence, the medications prescribed to treat fungal infections are also normally topical creams rather than oral medications. However, there are also a few oral medications given for the treatment of fungal infections. People who are overweight or obese are more at risk of having fungal skin infections due to the excessive skin folds on their body. Individuals with long-term diseases such as diabetes are more prone to fungal infections in the body.
Fungal infections normally show signs and symptoms on one particular area of the skin that is affected by the fungus. However, sometimes, they can also appear on the unaffected parts of the body. These areas are not affected because of direct contact or touching of the fungal infection, but mainly due to an allergy from the fungal infection itself.
A dermatologist can identify a fungal infection through redness, scaling, or irritated rashes on the skin in the common areas. The diagnosis is confirmed by testing a small part of scraped skin where the fungal infection likely exists. The samples are then tested under the microscope and submitted for a culture test to identify the specific fungus involved.
What are the treatments for fungal skin infections?
There are a number of antifungal medications that are available to treat fungal skin infections. These medications come in various forms, such as topical creams, solutions, lotions, shampoos, sprays, and oral medications. The medication and course of treatments prescribed by doctors for the treatment of fungal infections depend on various factors such as the age of the patient, other medical illness, the severity of the skin infection, and any other conditions that the doctor may consider. Some treatments are short, lasting for about a week or so, while some of the treatments may last for up to 8 to 10 days. Any fungal infection that takes beyond this time to heal needs medical attention and should be shown to the doctor.
There are various classes of medications that may be prescribed to treat fungal infections, and they include clotrimazole, econazole, ketoconazole, and miconazole, among others. Each of these antifungal agents contains specific chemical compositions that can effectively treat fungal infections of the skin. In some cases of fungal skin infections, two or more creams may be required to create a specific action. Steroid creams may also be recommended to treat certain rashes and inflammation that may occur due to the infection.
What is Spectazole used for?
Spectazole topical cream is used to treat various forms of fungal skin infections such as ringworm around the groin area, athlete’s foot, and other forms of fungal skin infections. Other forms include infections caused by Candida yeast.
The role of Spectazole is to kill sensitive fungi. It usually gets in the way of the development of the fungal cell membrane and weakens it, thereby helping in treating the fungal infection.
Using Spectazole Cream for Treating Fungal Infections
Before you start using Spectazole cream for treating a fungal infection, it is important to carefully read the list of ingredients and instructions given in the leaflet. In case you are allergic to any of its ingredients, make sure you inform the doctor about it.
This medication is recommended only for topical use and should not be consumed orally under any circumstances. Before application, ensure that the infected area is cleaned well and thoroughly dried. The medicine should be applied only to the affected area as per the directions of the treating doctor. The frequency of usage, dosage, and the number of days required to use this cream depend on the severity of the infection being treated. The cream should not be applied more than the recommended dosage, as this does not cause the skin to clear up faster. In fact, excessive usage of this medication could lead to increased risk of side effects.
In case you are using the foam formation of this medication, ensure you shake the can well before spraying. The can should be kept away from flame and smoke when being applied.
Adequate medicine should be applied to the infected area so as to cover the infection and the area around it. After its application, ensure that you wash your hands, or the medicine can go into your system through food. It is recommended to leave the skin exposed after application of the medicine, and avoid covering it with cloth or bandages unless specifically told to do so.
This medicine should be kept away from the eyes, nose, and mouth area. This cream should not be applied inside the vaginal area.
To completely cure the infection, this medication must be used for its complete course as recommended by the treating doctor. Even if the symptoms of the infection subside, the cream must be applied for the entire prescribed course. If the medicine is stopped before completing the course, it may cause the fungus to reappear, causing the infection to reoccur. In case there is no improvement in your condition even after 2-4 weeks of using this cream or if your condition begins to worsen, make sure you inform your doctor.
When should Spectazole not be used?
If an individual is allergic to any ingredient that is included in the cream, then he or she should not make use of it. A person must discuss such allergy with the doctor, so an alternative treatment option will be provided.
What needs to be done before using Spectazole cream?
There are certain medical conditions that can interact with the ingredients of Spectazole. Therefore, it is very important to inform your doctor or the pharmacist about any medical conditions that you have had in the past or is currently suffering from, particularly from the following conditions:
- If you are planning a baby, is currently pregnant, or is breastfeeding.
- If you are currently taking prescribed or over-the-counter drugs, herbal medicines, or supplements.
- If you have existing allergies.
- If you consume three or more alcoholic drinks every day.
- If you have severe liver or kidney problems.
- If you are currently on dialysis.
- If you have any blood diseases or any nervous system problems.
There are certain drugs that lead to interactions with Spectazole. The doctor needs to be informed if you are presently taking any medicine, especially warfarin, to avoid the risk of bleeding. It is best to ask the doctor about Spectazole contraindications for a better understanding of your condition. Consult the doctor before starting, stopping, or changing the dose of any type of medicine.
How should Spectazole be used?
Spectazole should be used exactly as instructed by the doctor. The label should be checked to know the dosage instructions. Moreover, one can gain information about the ingredients from the label and from the pharmacist.
Spectazole cream is only for topical use. Do not apply the cream in your eyes, nose, or mouth. Avoid the application of this medicine on skin that has cuts or injuries. If the cream is applied on these areas by mistake, wash them immediately.
The doctor will advise you about the dose and duration of the medicine. Avoid applying the cream in excessive amounts and for a longer period than prescribed as doing so will not cause the skin to clear up faster. In fact, excessive usage of this medication could lead to increased risk of side effects. The frequency of usage, dosage, and the number of days required to use this cream depend on the severity of the infection being treated.
- Use of powder form: The infected area should be thoroughly washed and dried before application. The medicine should be gently rubbed on the affected portion until the medicine is evenly spread.
- Use of spray form: Shake the spray well before using. One must hold the bottle about 6–10 inches away from the affected area and then spray. If the spray has to be applied on the feet, then ensure it is applied on the top, bottom, and between the toes of both feet. You can also spray a little of it on your socks and shoes.
- Use of shampoo: Wet your hair well with water, then apply the shampoo on the scalp and gently massage for a minute. Rinse your hair thoroughly with water. After completely washing your hair, reapply the shampoo and allow it to remain on the scalp for around 3 minutes. The medicated shampoo can be applied four days a week for a month. Take a gap of three days before shampooing again. Wash your hands with soap and water after every application, unless your hands are also affected.
For a complete cure, you must use the medicine for the entire treatment course. One should not stop the medication midway, even if you feel that the infection has already cleared. If the treatment course is not complete, then there is a possibility of the infection to return.
If you missed a dose of Spectazole, then apply it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, then skip the application of the missed dose. You should continue with the regular dose at the proper scheduled time. A person cannot use two doses at once.
The aerosol spray should not be inhaled or used near heat, flame, or while smoking. The aerosol can, should not be punctured, broken, or burned. The pad or swab used for applying the medicine should be discarded. It cannot be saved to be used again. The treated area should be kept open and not covered with a bandage unless the doctor has advised doing so.
In case there is no improvement in your condition even after 2-4 weeks of using this cream or your condition begins to worsen, make sure you inform your doctor. It is always best to ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions regarding how Spectazole has to be used.
Precautions to Keep in Mind Before Using Spectazole
Before you start using the Spectazole cream, ensure that you inform your treating doctor in case you are allergic to any of the constituents of the creams or to other azole antifungals, such as clotrimazole and miconazole, or if you are suffering from any other severe allergies. Your medical history must also be discussed with the doctor to avoid any possible contraindications for any other medicines you may be consuming. The medicine is safe for use in case of pregnancy. However, if you are pregnant, make sure that you inform your doctor about it. There is no clear evidence that suggests that the medication can be passed through the breast milk, but as a precautionary measure, inform your doctor if you are breastfeeding your baby.
Other precautionary measures include:
- Spectazole is strictly for external use only.
- Avoid using Spectazole in your eyes, and if it gets into your eyes, thoroughly rinse your eyes using cold water.
- Do not scratch the affected area, as this can worsen the infection and cause more irritation. There is also a possibility of the infection to be spread in other areas of the body if you frequently scratch the affected part.
- If the patient gets pregnant, inform the doctor and discuss in detail the risks associated with using Spectazole.
- If the patient is breastfeeding, also discuss with the doctor if there can be any risks to the baby. Even though there has been no evidence that this medicine enters the breast milk, it is still best to clarify with the doctor.
- If there is no improvement in the symptoms after one week of using the medication, or if the symptoms worsen, one must immediately consult the doctor.
- Only use the medicine prescribed by your doctor and do not use any alternative over-the-counter medication without consulting your doctor first since each antifungal medication is made to cure a specific type of infection.
What are the side effects?
All types of medications may have some side effects. However, the side effects still depend from person-to-person. The side effects can be mild, minor, or major. If a person experiences the following side effects post taking Spectazole, one must consult the doctor.
- Burning sensation, small bumps, and itching where the medicine was applied.
- Redness, rashes, or swelling that were not present before medicine application.
- Having dry or oily hair after the usage of Spectazole shampoo.
You must seek immediate medical care if you experience severe side effects, which include extreme allergic reactions such as rashes, itchiness, hives, shortness of breath, and swelling of the face, mouth, lips, or tongue.
What to avoid while using Spectazole?
Do not use other types of medication on the same infected area without consulting your doctor first. Refrain from using cosmetics or any other skin care products on your skin that is treated with fungal infection.
How to Store Spectazole
Spectazole should be stored at room temperature and away from sunlight and moisture unless specified by the manufacturer on the instruction leaflet of the product. This medicine should also be kept away from the reach of children.
If you have any doubts or questions related to Spectazole, then ask your doctor to get complete clarity. Spectazole should only be used by the person to whom the medicine is prescribed. It should not be shared with anyone else and should not also be used by anyone without a prescription.
If there is no improvement in your symptoms or if they get worse with medication, consult your doctor immediately. Get complete information from the pharmacist on how to dispose of any unused or expired medicine.
Always follow the instructions provided by your doctor. Spectazole may be able to treat your fungal infection effectively with a few side effects.
However, it is still best to get complete information about the medicine, its dosage, uses, interactions, and side effects from the doctor or pharmacist before using it. Do not keep using the medicine based on your own judgment. If a person has some fungal infection, meet with a doctor to discuss the problem, so that the cause of the problem can be correctly diagnosed. It is also important to share personal and family medical history with the doctor.
Always inform your doctor about any prescribed and non-prescribed medications that you are taking. It is important for the doctor to know if there are chances of any side effects, interactions, or health complications. Based on your doctor's assessment, he or she will prescribe the best fungal medication for your overall condition.
If your doctor prescribes Spectazole, only take the dose in the quantity and time as suggested. Do not overdose and avoid continuing Spectazole application for a prolonged period of time. Excessive application can cause complications and side effects. Lastly, always complete the course of medication for better results.