Nystatin oral suspension may be used to treat fungal infections of the mouth and esophagus. Fungal infections are common in patients with compromised immune systems and they frequently occur after treatment courses of antibiotics. They may be found when an individual has dentures, suffers from diabetes or anemia, uses inhaled corticosteroids, or smokes. Currently, commercially available versions of nystatin oral suspension are experiencing manufacturer shortages. Until the shortages are resolved, Woodland Hills Pharmacy is able to compound this medication in any dosage required.
Where Did Nystatin Come From?
The name of the drug nystatin is actually a reference to New York State (NY-statin), where it was discovered and first introduced. The New York State Department of Health had initiated a search in the 1940s to find cures for fungal infections that service men and women had when returning from posts in tropical areas. The two researchers responsible for the discovery of nystatin in 1950 were Elizabeth Lee Hazen, a bacteriologist, and Rachel Fuller Brown, a chemist. They were able to identify and purify nystatin from cultures of the bacteria Streptomyces noursei and demonstrated the in vitro and in vivo activity in laboratory studies. Nystatin was extremely successful, so much so that Hazen and Brown received over $13 million in royalties, which they used to start the Brown-Hazen fund for supporting medical mycological research.
What is Nystatin Used for?
Today, nystatin is used throughout the world and is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines. Nystatin has been used for treating fungal infections of the skin, mucous membranes, intestines, and vagina. In addition to its medical uses, it has found other uses in preventing mold growth in food fed to livestock. In one famous use of nystatin in 1966, it was applied to paintings after a flood in Florence, Italy to prevent their deterioration. A common use for nystatin now is to treat Candida infections of the mouth. It is prescribed to be used as a mouthwash that is swished around in the mouth before swallowing.
How Does it Work?
Nystatin works by binding to ergosterol, a substance in the cell membrane of fungi. As the amount of nystatin bound to ergosterol increases, pores are formed in the membrane that leads to the death of the fungi. In most cases nystatin does not cause toxicity in humans because ergosterol is unique to fungi. However it may cause problems when higher levels are present in the blood, which can occur when it is injected. When this happens it may bind to cholesterol and lead to adverse effects. Oral use of nystatin is relatively safe and non-toxic, however. It usually passes through the body without affecting anything but the fungal infection.
Candida or Oral Thrush
Nystatin oral suspension is prescribed to treat Candida infection. A Candida infection in the mouth is sometimes also referred to as oral thrush or candidiasis. Candida is a yeast that actually lives normally in the body. In healthy individuals it can be found on the skin and in the intestines. However certain conditions or situations can produce an environment where Candida starts to grow more profusely and fungal infections form.
A fungal infection of Candida in the mouth can be detected by redness and soreness, white patches throughout the mouth, a cottony feeling in the mouth, and a loss of taste. The infection may also occur in the esophagus, leading to a sore throat and difficulty swallowing.
Many individuals with HIV/AIDS have oral thrush. For individuals taking antibiotics, it may develop after a course of treatment because the Candida fungus no longer is competing for space with bacteria that were killed. It is then allowed to grow and become an infection. Dentures, smoking, using corticosteroid inhalers, and other things that may alter the health of the mouth can also lead to an infection.
How is Nystatin Prescribed?
Nystatin is usually prescribed in units per mL. Commercially available preparations used for treating oral infections are often made in 100,000 units per mL suspensions. For oral thrush, the mouthwash may be used 4 times a day for 1-2 weeks. This is just an example of a prescription that is common. Other strengths or treatment regimens may be used depending on the patient.
To continue using nystatin oral suspension while there are shortages, you can have your prescription filled by a compounding pharmacy. A compounding pharmacy is able to help when there are shortages of drugs because in many cases the active pharmaceutical ingredient is still available. At our pharmacy we make every prescription individually for the patient in our accredited facility in Woodland Hills, California. Contact us today to learn more about prescriptions for nystatin oral suspension.