||Fulvicin, Grifulvin, Gris-PEG
Allylamines and azoles are different classes of antifungal
medicine. This is important because medicine from one class may work better
than medicine from the other.
How It Works
Prescription oral antifungal medicines
slow the growth of or kill
Oral medicines are usually taken
for 1 to 8 weeks. The exact amount of time varies and depends on how much
medicine you take each day.
If you stop taking the medicine
early, even after your symptoms are gone, an
athlete's foot infection will likely return. It is
very important to take the entire course of medicine.
Why It Is Used
Oral antifungals for
athlete's foot (tinea pedis) are usually only used for
a severe infection or when topical antifungal medicines have not cured the
infection. Some oral antifungals can also be used for fungal toenail
infections, which may occur with athlete's foot.
How Well It Works
Research shows that oral antifungals
successfully cure athlete's foot for many people.
With moccasin-type athlete's foot, which is especially hard to cure, terbinafine seems to work as well as itraconazole.1
Oral medicines can cause minor to serious
side effects. Minor side effects may include:
- Skin rashes.
- Changes in
taste sensation (rare).
- Visual disturbances (rare).
Oral antifungals carry a small but serious risk for
dangerous side effects, which can include:
damage. During oral antifungal treatment, your doctor
may require blood tests to check your kidney and liver function. Be aware of
the symptoms of liver problems, such as nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain;
dark urine; and changes in skin color.
In the early stages of heart failure, many people do not notice symptoms. If
you have heart problems or are concerned about this rare side effect, talk to
your doctor about taking a medicine with a lower risk for this problem.
Oral antifungal medicines pass into breast milk. If you are
pregnant, could become pregnant, or are breast-feeding, talk with your doctor
before you take these medicines.
See Drug Reference for a full list
of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Tell your doctor about other
medicines you are taking. Some medicines are not safe to take together with
Do not drink alcohol while taking oral
antifungals. Some forms of these medicines can cause or contribute to liver
problems, which alcohol can make worse. During oral antifungal treatment, you
may need to have blood tests to check your liver and kidney function.
If you use an antacid, wait at least 2 hours before taking ketoconazole.
Antacids reduce ketoconazole absorption from the stomach into the
Oral antifungals cost more than nonprescription
antifungal skin medicine.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Fuller LC (2010). Tinea pedis and skin dermatophytosis. In MG Lebwohl et al., eds., Treatment of Skin Disease, 3rd ed., pp. 740-742. Edinburgh: Mosby Elsevier.