What is metronidazole cream, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

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Metronidazole cream is a topical preparation (applied to the skin) of the antibiotic metronidazole. It is used for reducing the swelling and redness caused by acne rosacea. The mechanism through which metronidazole cream reduces the symptoms of acne rosacea is not known. The FDA approved metronidazole cream in September 1997.

What brand names are available for metronidazole cream?

Noritate, Metrocream

Is metronidazole cream available as a generic drug?


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Do I need a prescription for metronidazole cream?


What are the side effects of metronidazole cream?

Side effects are rare and minor. These include:

  • irritation,
  • skin dryness,
  • scaling, and
  • itchingat the site of application.

Individuals that are allergic to metronidazole should not use metronidazole cream.


What is the dosage for metronidazole cream?

Metronidazole cream is applied to affected areas once or twice daily. The affected areas should be cleaned before application, and then a thin film should be applied and rubbed into the skin. Makeup may be used after metronidazole cream has been applied. Metronidazole cream is for external use only. Contact with the eyes should be avoided.

Which drugs or supplements interact with metronidazole cream?

Drug interactions with metronidazole cream are unlikely because only small amounts of metronidazole are absorbed into the body when metronidazole cream is applied to the skin. Oral metronidazole interacts with warfarin (Coumadin), increasing the blood-thinning effects of warfarin. It is not known whether the small amounts of metronidazole absorbed via the skin can cause the same interaction.

Is metronidazole cream safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies of metronidazole cream in pregnant women.

When metronidazole is administered orally it is secreted into breast milk in concentrations similar to the concentration in the mothers body. Therefore, small amounts of metronidazole that are absorbed into the body when metronidazole cream is used may be secreted into breast milk.

What else should I know about metronidazole cream?

What preparations of metronidazole cream are available?

Cream: 0.75 and 1%

How should I keep metronidazole cream stored?

Metronidazole cream should be stored at room temperature, 15 C – 30 C (59 F – 86 F)

Medically Reviewed on 3/19/2019


Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine


FDA Prescribing Information