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Nystaform and Nystaform HC

Nystaform and Nystaform HC are used for the treatment of infected skin conditions.

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What are Nystaform and Nystaform HC?

Nystaform is a combination medicine containing two active ingredients: nystatin (100,000 IU/g) and chlorhexidine (1% w/w). Nystaform is a cream used for the treatment of infected dermatoses (skin conditions) where fungal (particularly Candida albicans) infections and/or bacterial infections are present.

Nystaform HC is a combination medicine that is similar to Nystaform in that it contains nystatin (100,000 IU/g) and chlorhexidine (1% w/w), but it also contains a third active ingredient, hydrocortisone (0.5% w/w or 1% w/w). Nystaform HC preparations include a cream (containing 0.5% w/w hydrocortisone) and an ointment (containing 1% w/w hydrocortisone). Nystaform HC is used to treat infected skin conditions caused by fungi and/or bacteria.

The active ingredients in these medicines each play a role in treating your infected skin condition:

  • Nystatin is an antifungal agent used to treat infections caused by a fungus or yeast, and is particularly effective against Candida albicans. By killing the fungus, Nystatin can get rid of the infection. It can also prevent you having an infection.
  • Chlorhexidine is an antibacterial agent that is active against a wide range of bacteria, reducing the number of bacteria on the skin.
  • Hydrocortisone is classed as a mild corticosteroid that reduces inflammation, thereby reducing swelling and itching of the skin.

How to use Nystaform and Nystaform HC

Nystaform is a pale yellow cream and Nystaform HC is either a pale yellow cream or ointment; these medicines are for use on the skin only. The cream or ointment is applied to the infected area of skin two or three times a day. Nystaform cream is used for up to 7 days, although you should go back to the doctor if the infection has not improved within the 7 days. Stop using Nystaform cream if the skin condition does not improve within 14 days of starting, or if another infection occurs. See a doctor as an alternative skin treatment may be necessary. Treatment with Nystaform HC should be for a maximum of 7 days only.

Avoid getting your cream/ointment in your eyes or mouth, and avoid swallowing it. If the treatment gets in your eyes, rinse them with plenty of warm water immediately and contact a doctor. If the medicine is swallowed, get medical advice immediately. Do not use Nystaform HC cream/ointment on large areas of skin unless you have been told to by your doctor, because the ingredient hydrocortisone can be absorbed by the skin and enter the bloodstream. Also, avoid covering the treated skin with bandages and tight clothing as this increases the likelihood of hydrocortisone absorption. If you forget to use the cream or ointment, then apply it when you remember and continue the treatment as scheduled.

Who can use Nystaform and Nystaform HC?

Both Nystaform cream and Nystaform HC cream/ointment can be used to treat children, adults, and people aged 65 years and older. However, long-term continuous use of Nystaform HC that contains a corticosteroid should be avoided, particularly in infants. Caution is advised when using nystatin in the first few months of pregnancy. Nystaform HC is not recommended in women who are pregnant or breast-feeding or trying to become pregnant.

You should not use either Nystaform or Nystaform HC if you are hypersensitive/allergic to nystatin, chlorhexidine, or any of the other ingredients in these medicines, or have had an allergic reaction to another chlorhexidine-containing product.

Before starting treatment, tell your doctor about all your current medications, including skin products.

Nystaform and Nystaform HC side effects

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience the following symptoms as they may indicate a severe allergic reaction: an itchy, red, skin rash; swelling of the lips, tongue or throat; breathing problems or wheezing; a metallic taste; feeling dizzy or faint.

The chlorhexidine in Nystaform and Nystaform HC can cause allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock. The cream preparations also contain cetostearyl alcohol, which can cause local skin reactions such as contact dermatitis, and benzyl alcohol, which can cause mild local irritation and allergic reactions. Symptoms of allergic skin reactions include skin itching, redness, rash, urticaria, blisters, dermatitis, and eczema. Use of Nystaform or Nystaform HC should be stopped if sensitivity develops, or if a new infection appears; contact your doctor as you may need an alternative medicine.

Nystaform HC should not be used inappropriately or continuously for long periods of time. This is because it contains the corticosteroid hydrocortisone, and you could develop rebound flares (a withdrawal syndrome) when stopping the treatment. In severe cases, a red, itchy, stinging, burning dermatitis occurs, which is most likely to occur when the face and joint creases are treated and can spread further than the initial area of treatment. A withdrawal reaction is indicated in cases where the skin condition returns relatively quickly after resolving. You should only restart treatment with Nystaform HC after talking to a doctor.

Reviewed by: Dr Loraine Haslam MBBS, DRCOG, DFSRH, LoC SDI, LoC IUT, MRCGP
GMC registration number: 4524038
Date: 6 February 2024
Next review: 5 February 2026
All UK registered doctors can have their registration checked on
The Medical Register at the GMC website.

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