Over-the-counter Diflucan…in Italy

Italian packaging of Diflucan. Two doses for 7 Euros.

One of the only over-the-counter (OTC) self-treament regimens available for American women is yeast infection treatment. Unfortunately, OTC yeast treatments are strictly topical, which means 1, 3, or 7 days of creams, suppositories and applicators. Several years ago, I was prescribed Diflucan for a yeast infection by my gynecologist, and I was surprised at the ease of use of this method compared to the discomfort of creams. Yeast infections are so common, it’s hard to believe this easy, oral treatment isn’t available over the counter. Once a woman gets a yeast infection for the first time, she generally knows what’s going on when it happens again. But if she wants the Diflucan, she’s got to make an appointment, have a pelvic exam, get a prescription and go to the pharmacy. Her other option is buying a topical treatment like Monistat or Vagisil.

Last year I had the experience of coming down with a yeast infection while traveling abroad. I went to a pharmacy in Venice and said the word “Candida” which is Latin-ish for “yeast.” To my delight, the pharmacist returned with a box of Diflucan. Hurray! No awkward applicators and messy creams to deal with on my vacation. The box had two doses, so I took one and saved the other. Using Diflucan instead of the topical treatment was easier and cheaper. I didn’t have to go back to my hotel room to take the treatment, I just took one pill and was on my way.

A year later, I felt a yeast infection coming on, and took the other dose right away. My symptoms were gone in a day. I thought, “I’m lucky I have this on hand.” How convenient it would be if things were the same in the U.S.

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