Magazine article Drug Topics

Quick Cure: OTC Offers Relief from Yeast Infection in Three Days

Magazine article Drug Topics

Quick Cure: OTC Offers Relief from Yeast Infection in Three Days

Article excerpt

OTC offers relief from yeast infection in three days

Not since the first Rx-to-OTC switch of a yeast infection treatment has this category seen such a revolution. A prescription drug that cures yeast infections in only three days has gone over the counter, giving women an option to the seven-day OTC regimens currently available.

For nearly five years, women have been able to buy OTC drugs to treat recurrent yeast infections. The first Rxto-OTC switch, Gyne-Lotrimin (clotrimazole 1%) by Schering-Plough Consumer HealthCare Products, was considered by many to be a revolution in feminine health care. Other pharmaceutical companies followed suit and introduced similar products, creating much competition for this profitable market. Competitors included Monistat 7 (miconazole nitrate 2%), by Johnson' & Johnson's Ortho, and Mycelex-7 (clotrimazole 1%), by Miles Consumer Healthcare Products.

Competition is bound to heat up once again as another remedy for yeast infections goes over the counter. Femstat 3 by Procter-Syntex is the only three-day OTC treatment for vaginal yeast infections, also called vulvovaginal candidiasis. Femstat 3, which contains butoconazole nitrate 2%, will replace the prescription drug that preceded it, Femstat, which has been available with a prescription since 1986.

Procter-Syntex, a joint venture between Procter & Gamble and Syntex Laboratories, believes that the three-day regimen may improve patient compliance. Clinical studies have shown that butoconazole nitrate 2% is as effective as miconazole nitrate 2%, but works faster. Experts believe that the shortterm therapy is a good option for women who tend to discontinue treatment once the aggravating symptoms have subsided.

"One reason for recurrence is failure to comply with the full recommended course of treatment," said Michelle Battistini, M.D., assistant director of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. "Often, after symptoms resolve, women will fail to complete their full course of therapy. Once their itching, irritation, and burning subsides, a full course of therapy is abandoned.... Cure rates are lower and relapses are higher with incomplete treatment. A shorter course of therapy that achieves a similar cure rate clearly is advantageous for women," said Battistini.

In addition, Femstat 3 boasts a thicker consistency, which many women prefer because it is less messy, according to Battistini. In her practice, she has found that women prefer cream to suppositories because it is soothing and can be applied externally and internally to relieve vaginal itching. …

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