Other topical antifungals
Topical medicines are put directly on the skin. These
medicines are available in cream, solution, gel, and lotion forms. One medicine
may be available in many forms. Your doctor will help you decide which form is
best for you.
Lotrisone combines a topical antifungal
(clotrimazole) with a topical
Allylamines and azoles are different classes of antifungal medicine. This
is important because medicine from one class may work better than medicine from
How It Works
All of these medicines kill fungi. See
the medicine label for specific instructions. In general:
- Butenafine is used for 1 to 2
- Other topical medicines are used for 4 weeks, except for
topical ketoconazole, which is used for 6 weeks.
If you stop taking the medicines early, even after
symptoms are gone, an
athlete's foot infection will likely return. It is
very important to use the medicine for the entire time directed.
Why It Is Used
Prescription antifungals usually are
used to treat athlete's foot when treatment with nonprescription antifungals
has not been successful or the athlete's foot is severe.
topical forms are used for mild to moderate cases of athlete's foot.
Ciclopirox and sulconazole also can treat bacterial
infections that might occur along with a fungal infection.
Ketoconazole penetrates thick skin well and is a good treatment option
for moccasin-type infections.
Clotrimazole-betamethasone may be used when the athlete's foot rash is
itchy and burning.
For severe cases or when topical medicines do
not work, oral antifungal medicines (pills) are used.
How Well It Works
Both topical and oral forms of
prescription antifungals are effective in curing athlete's foot for most
Topical allylamines require a shorter course of treatment
(1 week) than do topical azoles (4 to 8 weeks). But studies show that
allylamine medicines work slightly better than azole medicines.1 Although allylamines are more
expensive than azoles, you use less of this medicine to successfully treat a
Topical antifungals rarely cause side
effects. Stop using the medicine if it results in severe blistering, itching,
redness, dryness, or irritation.
See Drug Reference for a full
list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
It is not known whether these medicines harm a
fetus or whether topical medicines pass into breast
milk. If you are pregnant, could become pregnant, or are breast-feeding, talk
to your doctor before you use these medicines.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Crawford F (2009). Athlete's foot, search date July 2008. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.