Nystatin liquid

Key points about nystatin liquid

  • Nystatin liquid is used to treat thrush in your mouth and throat or gut.
  • Nystatin liquid is also called Nilstat.
  • Find out how to use nystatin liquid safely and possible side effects.
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Nystatin liquid is used to treat thrush (fungal infection) in your mouth and throat or gut. Thrush is common in babies and older people with dentures, and is usually harmless. Read more about thrush in your mouth and throat. 

In New Zealand nystatin is available as liquid and cream. The liquid is used for thrush in your mouth and throat.

 The cream is applied to your skin for ringworm, a fungal infection that can appear almost anywhere on your body, arms, legs, feet, groin and scalp. Do not use nystatin cream in your mouth. 

  • The dose of nystatin liquid is 1 milliliter (mL) 4 times a day, usually for 7 days.   
  • Continue using nystatin liquid for 2 days (48 hours) after the thrush has cleared. This will help to clear up your infection completely.
  • Always take nystatin liquid exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.

  • Measure the dose: Shake the medicine well. Measure the right amount using the measuring syringe provided. After use, wash the syringe in warm water and allow to dry (do not boil).
  • Hold the liquid in your mouth before swallowing. Try not to swallow the liquid too quickly, as the longer the medicine is in contact with the site of infection the better. Hold the liquid in your mouth or swish around your mouth for as long as possible before swallowing. 
  • Timing: Take nystatin liquid 4 times a day, after food, or after a feed in babies. Try to space the doses evenly throughout the day, such as the first thing in the morning, early afternoon, late afternoon and at bedtime.   
  • Missed dose: If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is close to the time you would normally take your next dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.

While using nystatin liquid to treat thrush, it is important to prevent re-infection. Here are a few tips:

Babies: Sterilise all feeding equipment, dummies and toys that have been in contact with your baby’s mouth.
Breastfeeding: Check if you have a yeast infection on your nipples. Nystatin liquid may be applied on your nipple to treat the infection.  
Using a steroid inhaler: If you are using a steroid inhaler, thrush in the mouth is a common side effect. To prevent infection, try using a spacer with your inhaler. Read more about spacers. Rinse your mouth with water or clean your teeth after using your inhaler.

Side effects with nystatin liquid are very rare. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine. Nystatin liquid can cause nausea (feeling sick), vomiting (being sick), stomach upset or diarrhoea (runny poo). This usually settles after a few days but tell your doctor if troublesome.

Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline 0800 611 116 if you develops sign and symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as skin rash, itching, swelling of your lips, face and mouth, or difficulty breathing.

Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product(external link)

The following links have more information on nystatin liquid:

Nilstat(external link) Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet, NZ


5 questions to ask about your medications(external link) Health Quality and Safety Commission, NZ, 2019 English(external link), te reo Māori(external link)


  1. Nystatin (oromucosal)(external link) NZ Formulary
  2. Common issues in paediatric oral health(external link) BPAC, NZ, 2010

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Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Maya Patel, MPharm PGDipClinPharm, Auckland

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