Skip to content

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Font Size

Azoles for Ringworm


Skin creams, lotions, or shampoo

Generic Name Brand Name
clotrimazole Mycelex
clotrimazole/betamethasone (an azole cream with corticosteroid) Lotrisone
ketoconazole Nizoral
miconazole Micatin
oxiconazole Oxistat

Pills or liquid (oral)

Generic Name Brand Name
fluconazole Diflucan
itraconazole Sporanox

Azoles are a class of antifungals used to treat ringworm.

Clotrimazole/betamethasone (Lotrisone), a combination antifungal and corticosteroid, is sometimes used to treat ringworm that is burning, itchy, and inflamed. Use this prescription medicine with caution, because complications can arise with long-term use of corticosteroids.

How It Works

Azoles inhibit the growth of fungi.

Why It Is Used

Azoles are used to treat ringworm.

For ringworm of the skin, creams are usually used first. You can get some azole creams, such as Micatin, without a prescription. If an antifungal cream does not clear up the infection or if the infection is severe and widespread, then your doctor may prescribe antifungal pills.

For ringworm of the scalp and beard, azole pills and ketoconazole shampoo may be used.

How Well It Works

Azoles are effective for treatment of ringworm.

For better absorption into the body, take azole pills with cola or orange juice.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call911or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Creams, lotions, or shampoo

Side effects are rare when you use azole creams to treat ringworm of the skin. But some people have noticed mild stinging.


Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Hives, or red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin.
  • Burning, numbness, or tingling.
  • Fever, chills, or a sore throat that won't go away.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Yellowing of your eyes or skin.
  • Dark urine or pale stools.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Changes in taste.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dizziness or headaches.
  • Stomach upset or belly pain.
  • Nausea or vomiting.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

People taking antifungal pills may have their blood counts and liver and kidney function monitored during treatment to watch for any bad side effects. This may not be needed in healthy children.

Do not drink alcohol while taking azole pills, because this may increase the risk of liver damage.

Azole pills should not be taken with some other medicines. Let your doctor know what other medicines you are taking.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant. If you need to use this medicine, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Current as of March 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
itchy skin
shingles rash on skin
woman with skin tag
Woman washing face

Itching for Relief?

Get Help With the

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

woman washing her hair in sink
close up of womans bare neck
woman with face cream