Metronidazole (Into the vagina)

Metronidazole (met-roe-NYE-da-zole)

Treats vaginal infections caused by certain kinds of bacteria.

Brand Name(s):

MetroGel-Vaginal, Nuvessa, Vandazole

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to metronidazole, other similar medicines (such as ornidazole, tinidazole, Fasigyn®, or Tindamax®), or parabens. You should not use this medicine if you have taken disulfiram (Antabuse®) within the last 2 weeks. Do not drink alcohol or take medicine containing alcohol (such as cold or cough medicines). Wait at least 3 days after stopping metronidazole before drinking alcohol.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use and how often. Keep using the medicine for as long as your doctor tells you to, even if you feel better. If you stop the medicine too soon, your infection may come back.
  • This medicine is to be used only in the vagina. Use at bedtime unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using this medicine.
  • Do not get the medicine in your eyes, nose, mouth, or skin. If this medicine does get into your eyes, wash them out right away with large amounts of cool tap water. If your eyes still burn or are painful, check with your doctor.
  • The gel is in a tube. You will use an applicator to put the gel into your vagina. The applicator is a plastic tube called a barrel that is open at one end and has a plunger (another piece of plastic that can move inside the barrel) at the other end.
  • Take the cap off of the tube and break the metal seal at the opening of the tube by using the point on the top of the cap.
  • Screw the applicator onto the tube and squeeze the gel from the tube into the applicator slowly until the barrel is filled.
  • Unscrew the applicator from the tube and put the cap back on the tube.
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent (or in any position that you feel comfortable). Put the applicator into your vagina (like you would a tampon) as far as you can. Stop before it becomes uncomfortable. Push the plunger slowly all the way in.
  • Remove the applicator from your vagina. Use each applicator only once, and then throw it away.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

If a dose is missed:

  • Apply a dose as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and apply a regular dose. Do not apply extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of the used medicine applicator(s), containers and any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Drinking alcohol while using this medicine may cause vomiting, dizziness, flushing, or other serious reactions. Do not drink alcohol while you are being treated with metronidazole and for at least 3 days after your last dose. Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that may contain alcohol such as some cough syrups, elixirs, and liquid cold medicines.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using lithium (Eskalith®, LIthobid®) or a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®).
  • Avoid using douches or other vaginal products unless your doctor tells you to.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have liver disease, leukopenia (low white blood cells), epilepsy (seizures), optic neuropathy (eye disease with vision changes), or peripheral neuropathy (nerve disease with pain, numbness, or tingling).
  • Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have dizziness, problems with muscle control or coordination, shakiness or an unsteady walk, slurred speech, or trouble with speaking. These may be symptoms of a serious brain condition called encephalopathy.
  • Stop using this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have confusion, drowsiness, fever, a general feeling of illness, a headache, loss of appetite, nausea, a stiff neck or back, or vomiting. These could be symptoms of a serious condition called aseptic meningitis.
  • Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you are having burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensations in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. These could be symptoms of a condition called peripheral neuropathy.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.
  • Do not have sex while you are being treated with this medicine. Some vaginal infections are spread during sex. To keep from passing the infection back and forth, your partner may also need to have treatment for the infection.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
  • Keep using this medicine for the full time of treatment, even if your symptoms improve after the first few doses. Do not stop using the medicine if your menstrual period begins during your treatment time. Use sanitary pads rather than tampons.
  • This medicine may leak out of your vagina during the day. You may wear a sanitary pad to protect your clothing, but do not use a tampon.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Burning feeling when you urinate or having to urinate more often.
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
  • Seizures (convulsions).
  • Sharp stomach cramps or pain.
  • Thick, white vaginal discharge.
  • Vaginal itching or burning.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Decreased appetite.
  • Diarrhea, nausea, or stomach pain.
  • Headache or dizziness.
  • Pain or tenderness of the breasts.
  • Skin rash or itching.
  • Sore throat.
  • Unusual or metallic taste, dry mouth.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 11/6/2020

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