Antifungals for Skin Infections (Topical and Oral)

Antifungal medications are used to treat skin problems caused by fungi or yeast. Common fungal infections of the skin include the following:

  • Candida (thrush, diaper dermatitis, vaginitis)
  • Onychomycosis (fungal infection of the toenail or fingernail)
  • Tinea corporis (“ringworm”)
  • Tinea cruris (“jock itch”)
  • Tinea pedis (“athlete’s foot”)

Topical Antifungal Medications

Topical antifungals are usually applied to the affected area twice a day. The duration of therapy varies depending on the type of infection and location. This may require several weeks of use.

You’ll probably need to take your medication for 1-2 weeks after the rash has healed. This increases the likelihood that the fungal infection does not return.

Commonly used topical antifungals available over-the-counter include:

  • Clotrimazole (Lotrimin®)
  • Terbinafine (Lamisil®)
  • Miconazole (Micatin®, ZeaSORB®)
  • Tolnaftate (Tinactin®)

Other topical antifungals available by prescription only include:

  • Ciclopirox (Loprox®)
  • Naftifine (Naftin®)
  • Oxiconazole (Oxistat®)
  • Sertaconazole (Ertaczo®)

Oral Antifungal Medications

Oral antifungals are recommended for use for serious infections or those that that don’t usually respond to topical treatment. These include:

  • Onychomycosis (fungal nail infection)
  • Tinea capitis (ringworm in the scalp)

Oral antifungals are avaialble only with a prescription. Commonly used oral antifungals include:

  • Griseofulvin (Grifulvin®)
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox®)
  • Terbinafine (Lamisil®)

Your doctor may order lab tests while you are taking oral antifungals, to monitor possible side effects.

Continue taking the antifungal medication for as long as recommended. Stopping the medication early increases that chance that the fungal infection will return.


© 2010 Vivacare. Last updated April 4, 2013.

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