Diaper Rash Medication

Updated: Aug 25, 2021
  • Author: Rania Dib, MD; Chief Editor: Kirsten A Bechtel, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

Medical treatment of diaper rash primarily involves topical corticosteroids to reduce the inflammatory response in irritated areas of skin and antifungal or antibiotic agents to treat secondary infections.


Corticosteroid, topical

Class Summary

Suppresses inflammation and itching.

Hydrocortisone topical (Cortizone, Westcort, Dermacort)

Adrenocorticosteroid derivative suitable for application to skin or external mucous membranes. Considered lowest potency, but safest topical steroid. It has mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid effects resulting in anti-inflammatory activity.


Antifungal agents

Class Summary

For use in candidal diaper dermatitis. Binds to sterols in fungal cell membrane allowing for leakage of cellular contents. Oral antifungals are indicated if coexisting thrush is found.

Nystatin (Mycostatin, Nilstat)

Fungicidal and fungistatic antibiotic obtained from Streptomyces noursei. Effective against various yeasts and yeastlike fungi. Changes permeability of fungal cell membrane after binding to cell membrane sterols, causing cellular contents to leak. Drug is not significantly absorbed from the GI tract.

Clotrimazole topical (Lotrimin, Mycelex)

Broad-spectrum antifungal agent that binds to phospholipids in the fungal cell membrane altering cell wall permeability resulting in a loss of essential intracellular elements.

Miconazole topical (Monistat)

Damages fungal cell wall membrane by inhibiting biosynthesis of ergosterol. Membrane permeability is increased causing nutrients to leak out, resulting in fungal cell death.

Lotion is preferred in intertriginous areas. If cream is used, apply sparingly to avoid maceration effects.

Ketoconazole topical (Nizoral)

Imidazole broad-spectrum antifungal agent. Inhibits synthesis of ergosterol, causing cellular components to leak, resulting in fungal cell death.


Antibiotics, topical

Class Summary

Used in treating mild bacterial superimposed infections.

Bacitracin (Baciguent)

Prevents transfer of mucopeptides into growing cell wall, inhibiting bacterial growth.


Antibiotics, oral

Class Summary

Used in treating more aggressive bacterial superimposed infections.

Amoxicillin and clavulanate (Augmentin)

Drug combination treats bacteria resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics.

Indicated for skin and skin structure infections caused by beta-lactamase-producing strains of Staphylococcus aureus. For children > 3 months, base dosing protocol on amoxicillin content; because of different amoxicillin/clavulanic acid ratios in 250-mg tab (250/125) vs 250-mg chewable tab (250/62.5), do not use 250-mg tab until child weighs >40 kg.