Guide To Common Antifungal Medications

November 2, 2023

Antifungal medicines treat fungal infections throughout the body. They work by killing the fungus or by preventing it from growing. They may be applied to the skin as a cream. Patients with certain types of fungal infections may take these medications as oral tablets. Before starting treatment with antifungal medicine, patients should let their doctor know about any history of liver, kidney, or heart issues. Doctors also need to know about all of the medications that the patient takes, especially blood thinners. Treatment with antifungal medicine may take two to four weeks. Some individuals may need to try several antifungal medicines to alleviate their symptoms.

Patients may need antifungals as an oral prescription for yeast infections. This type of medication also acts as a dandruff treatment, often as a prescription anti-dandruff shampoo. Antifungal medicines for athlete's foot and ringworm are also common. Of course, individuals want the best antifungal medicine to treat their condition. They must understand the common antifungal medications and discuss their options with their doctor to ensure that this happens.


Clotrimazole is in a class of medicines called azole antifungals. It is used for the treatment of pityriasis and fungal skin infections. Examples include ringworm and athlete's foot. Patients with these conditions normally use the topical form of this medicine. Clotrimazole can also be taken orally to treat yeast infections in the mouth or throat. When using the topical form, patients should apply it to the affected skin at least twice a day. They should not bandage the affected area. In addition, patients should wash their hands after application. If the infection persists for more than four weeks, patients should let their doctor know.

Individuals who take the oral form of clotrimazole should allow one troche to dissolve in their mouth. This takes approximately thirty minutes. Normally, patients take five troches per day. During treatment with this medicine, patients could experience side effects. Common side effects include itching, nausea, vomiting, and an upset stomach. This medication may also cause mouth discomfort. If side effects occur, patients should consult their doctor.


Econazole is applied to the skin to treat ringworm, athlete's foot, and other fungal infections. It also treats yeast infections that affect the skin. Patients may take it to relieve the skin discoloration caused by tinea versicolor as well. Pregnant or breastfeeding patients should check with their doctor before using this medicine. It should not be taken by patients who are younger than twelve years old. When treating ringworm or tinea versicolor, patients are instructed to apply econazole cream to the affected area once a day for two weeks. This cream should be applied twice each day for two weeks in cases of yeast infection. Individuals with athlete's foot need to use the cream once a day for four weeks.

This medication's most common side effects are burning, stinging, itching, and redness at the application site. Patients should call their doctor right away if they have severe stinging or redness. When the foam formulation of econazole is used, individuals must store the medication away from direct sunlight. This form should not be used near open flames or areas with high heat. Patients should let their doctor know about all of the medications they take to reduce the risk of interactions. For example, econazole interacts with blood-thinning medications.


Terbinafine treats fungal infections of the hair, fingernails, and toenails. Usually, patients with fungal infections affecting the nails take the medication orally. Oral granules are appropriate for treating fungal infections of the hair follicles in pediatric patients. Due to the risk of liver damage, this medicine is not safe if individuals have liver disease. Patients should let their doctor know if they have any history of liver issues, lupus, or a weak immune system before taking this medication. Terbinafine should not be used during pregnancy.

Headaches, nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, and skin rashes are the most common side effects of terbinafine. Patients might have abnormal liver function tests during treatment. They should inform their doctor if they develop any signs of potential liver problems, including jaundice, clay-colored stools, dark urine, or loss of appetite.


Ketoconazole is an azole antifungal medication. It is used for the treatment of pityriasis, athlete's foot, ringworm, and seborrhea. It is applied to the scalp and skin as a cream. Patients with asthma or sulfite allergies should not use ketoconazole. It is also not considered safe for breastfeeding women. Patients with allergies to clotrimazole or econazole should not use this medicine. Ketoconazole should be applied to clean skin. It should not be applied to irritated skin or open wounds.

This medication may cause side effects such as dry or itchy skin, thinning hair, and hair color and texture changes. Patients should contact their doctor immediately if they experience shortness of breath after applying ketoconazole. Doctors should be informed at once if the application site becomes painful. Patients on this medication should avoid using harsh soaps or other products that may cause skin irritation. Pityriasis patients may need to avoid sun exposure while taking ketoconazole.


Fluconazole treats a wide range of fungal infections, including fungal infections of the bladder, esophagus, lungs, mouth, throat, and blood. Patients with cancer or weakened immune systems may be given this medicine to prevent fungal infections. In addition, fluconazole helps treat a type of meningitis that may develop with HIV or AIDS. Before prescribing fluconazole, doctors need to know if the patient has a history of AIDS, HIV, cancer, liver disease, long QT syndrome, heart issues, or kidney disease.

The most common side effects of this medicine include headaches, dizziness, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, and changes in the patient's sense of taste. Fluconazole interacts with many medications. Thus, patients should let their doctor know if they use blood thinners, cholesterol medication, or blood pressure medicine. Patients who use these medicines might need to have their doses adjusted, and some may need to switch to other drugs.

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