Clotrimazole (Canesten AF powder)

How does it work?

Canesten AF powder contains the active ingredient clotrimazole, which is an antifungal medicine used to treat infections with fungi and yeasts.

Clotrimazole kills fungi and yeasts by interfering with their cell membranes. It works by stopping the fungi from producing a substance called ergosterol, which is an essential component of fungal cell membranes. The disruption in production of ergosterol causes holes to appear in the fungal cell membrane.

The cell membranes of fungi are vital for their survival. They keep unwanted substances from entering the cells and stop the contents of the cells from leaking out. As clotrimazole causes holes to appear in the cell membranes, essential constituents of the fungal cells can leak out. This kills the fungi and treats the infection.

Canesten AF powder is licensed to treat the fungal skin infections athlete's foot (tinea pedis) and jock itch (tinea cruris).

The powder should be used in conjunction with Canesten AF cream or Canesten AF spray. It should be sprinkled onto the affected area(s) of skin two to three times daily after using the cream or spray. The powder can also be dusted into clothes or shoes in contact with the affected area.

The powder can also be used to help prevent the infection returning, as fungal infections often thrive in warm, sweaty environments.

What is it used for?

In conjunction with Canesten AF cream or Canesten AF spray to treat and prevent the following:

  • athlete's foot (tinea pedis)
  • fungal infection of the groin, ie jock itch (tinea cruris).


  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this medicine if you are unsure of the cause of your infection, or you have not had it before.
  • The powder should not be used on its own to treat an infection. It should be used in conjunction with Canesten AF cream or Canesten AF spray to clear an infection up. However, it can be used on its own to prevent an infection coming back, in particular athlete's foot.
  • Canesten AF powder is for external use on the skin only. You should not use it to treat fungal infections affecting the nails or scalp. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on treating infections in these areas.
  • If your symptoms have not improved after seven days of treatment you should seek medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist.

Not to be used in

  • Known sensitivity or allergy to any ingredient.

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

  • The safety of this medicine when used during pregnancy has not been specifically studied. However, it has been used by a large number of women during pregnancy without any apparant harmful effects. As with all medicines, you should consult your doctor or midwife before using this medicine during pregnancy.
  • This medicine is not significantly absorbed into the bloodstream from the skin and it is highly unlikely that any of the medicine will pass into breast milk. However, as with all medicines, you should seek medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist before using this medicine if you are breastfeeding.

Side effects

Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

  • Irritation in area of use.
  • Burning sensation.

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How can this medicine affect other medicines?

This medicine is not known to affect other medicines.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

For treating athlete's foot:

Canesten AF cream Canesten AF spray

For treating fungal skin infections (these can only be bought from pharmacies):

Canesten 1% cream Canesten dermatological powderCanesten dermatological spray
Canesten solutionCare clotrimazole cream 1%

For treating vaginal thrush (these can only be prescribed by a doctor or bought from pharmacies):

Canesten 10% VC Canesten 100mg/200mg pessaries Canesten 500mg pessary
Canesten combi pessary and cream Canesten cream combi internal and external creams Canesten internal cream
Canesten thrush cream