metronidazole topical

Medically Reviewed on 11/7/2022

Brand Name: Metrogel, Metrocream, Metrolotion, Metrogel Vaginal, Vandazole, Noritate, Rosadan, Nuvessa

Generic Name: metronidazole topical

Drug Class: Antibacterials, Topical

What is topical metronidazole? How does it work (mechanism of action)?

Metronidazole is a synthetic (man-made) drug effective against certain bacteria and parasites (protozoa). The topical forms (gels, creams, and lotions) of metronidazole are used for treating vaginal infections with protozoa such as Trichomonas vaginalis, amoeba, and Giardia.

Metronidazole topical also is effective against anaerobic bacterial infections. (Anaerobic bacteria are a type of bacteria that can grow without the presence of oxygen.)

Metronidazole gel is also used to treat rosacea, a skin rash type.

Metronidazole topical gel, cream, and lotion are available in generic forms. The brand names available for metronidazole gel/cream/lotion in the U.S. are Metrogel, Metrocream, Metrolotion, Metrogel Vaginal, Vandazole, Noritate, Rosadan, and Nuvessa.

It would help if you had a prescription from your doctor or other health care professional for this medication.

What are the uses for topical metronidazole?

Metronidazole topical gel, cream, and lotion are used for treating rosacea.

Metronidazole vaginal gel is used for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis (also referred to as Hemophilus vaginitis, Gardnerella vaginitis, or nonspecific vaginitis), a bacterial infection of the vagina. It is not effective in treating another common vaginal infection, Candidal vaginosis ("yeast infection").

What are the side effects of metronidazole topical gel, cream, and lotion?

Common side effects are:

Other important side effects include:

What is the dosage for topical metronidazole?

To treat rosacea, a thin film of metronidazole gel should be rubbed on affected areas once or twice daily.

The usual dose of vaginal metronidazole gel is one applicator full (containing 37.5mg of metronidazole) intravaginally twice daily for five days. It should be applied once in the morning and once in the evening.

Which drugs or supplements interact with topical metronidazole?

Alcoholic beverages should not be consumed while being treated with metronidazole vaginal gel since this may result in:

This is the same reaction (disulfiram reaction) that occurs in alcoholics who drink alcohol while taking disulfiram (Antabuse), a drug used to discourage alcoholics from drinking alcohol.

Oral metronidazole interacts with warfarin (Coumadin), increasing the latter's blood-thinning properties. Little metronidazole is absorbed topically or from the vagina, and it is not known if the low blood levels achieved with topical or vaginal metronidazole can result in this interaction.


The vagina includes the labia, clitoris, and uterus. See Answer

Is topical metronidazole safe to use if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Animal studies have not demonstrated a risk to the fetus, but there are no adequate studies on pregnant women.

Orally administered metronidazole is secreted in human milk in concentrations similar to those in the mother's blood. Although metronidazole concentration in the blood after vaginal or topical administration is small, potential effects on the infant should still be considered.

What else should I know about metronidazole gel?

Metronidazole gel, cream, and lotion are available as:

  • Topical gel (0.75%, 1%)
  • Cream or lotion (0.75%)
  • Vaginal gel (0.75%, 1.3%)

Topical forms of metronidazole should be stored at room temperature, 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F).

Metronidazole was approved by the FDA in 1963.


Metronidazole gel, cream, and lotion is a topical medication prescribed for the treatment of rosacea (a type of skin rash), and vaginal bacterial infections like bacterial vaginosis and vaginitis. Metronidazole interacts with alcohol and can produce disulifiram reactions, which causes side effect symptoms of severe flushing. Some patients also experience tachycardia (a type of abnormal heart rhythm) and low blood pressure or hypotension.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/7/2022
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