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This medicine is used to cure trichomoniasis by destroying the parasite that causes the condition.
Oral metronidazole can be taken either as a single dose or as multiple doses. A single oral dose of metronidazole can be taken by a pregnant woman if needed.1 Women who are breast-feeding will be instructed by their doctors on the use of metronidazole.
The cure rate in treating trichomoniasis using metronidazole is 90% to 95%.2
Sex partners should be treated at the same time. Sexual intercourse should be avoided until symptoms are gone. Men may not have any symptoms but still need treatment.
People who are infected with HIV receive the same treatment for trich as those who are HIV-negative.
Metronidazole vaginal suppositories or creams are not recommended, because oral metronidazole is much more effective. Vaginal medicines cure trich in less than 50% of cases.2 Metronidazole vaginal gel, which is used to treat bacterial vaginosis, is not recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) for treatment of trich.1
Common and expected side effects include:
These side effects will go away after the medicine is stopped.
In rare cases, metronidazole may cause pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, in some people. Also, metronidazole may not cure trich in some people. When treatment resistance or severe side effects occur, another type of treatment will be needed.
Caution: Do not use alcohol or products that contain alcohol (such as non-prescription nighttime cold medicines) while taking metronidazole. You should not use alcohol for at least 3 days after your last dose of this medicine. Alcohol interacts with this medicine, and the combination can cause nausea, abdominal cramps, headaches, reddening of the face, and vomiting.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
The oral form of this medicine is the most effective treatment for trichomoniasis.
Oral metronidazole can be taken by pregnant women at any time during pregnancy.
While you are taking this medicine and for at least 3 days after your last dose, do not use alcohol or products that contain alcohol.
Trich during pregnancy raises the risk of premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and premature delivery. Treating the infection does not appear to reduce this risk.3 If you are pregnant and have trich, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of treatment.
- Public Health Agency of Canada (2006, updated 2008). Vaginal discharge (bacterial vaginosis, vulvovaginal candidiasis, trichomoniasis). Canadian Guidelines on Sexually Transmitted Infections. Available online: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/std-mts/sti-its/pdf/408vagdis-eng.pdf.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2006). Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2006 (CDC Publication Vol. 55, No. RR-11), pp. 52–54. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Also available online: http://www.cdc.gov/STD/treatment/2006/rr5511.pdf.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2006, reaffirmed 2008). Vaginitis. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 72. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 107(5): 1195–1206.
Last Revised: April 3, 2012
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.