Ringworm of the Skin - Medications
ringworm infections of the skin can be treated at home
with nonprescription antifungal creams. The rash will usually improve within 2
weeks. But most antifungals need to be used for 2 to 4 weeks to get rid of the
If the rash does not improve
after you have used an antifungal cream and it is severe and widespread or
returns frequently, you may need antifungal pills that your doctor prescribes.
When you are treating ringworm, it is important to finish the full course of
medicine prescribed, even if the symptoms have gone away, so that the infection
does not return.
The most common antifungals used to treat
ringworm of the skin are:
- Allylamines, such as terbinafine
(Lamisil). Allylamines come as creams, pills, and gels. Terbinafine also comes
as oral granules, which are little grains that can be sprinkled over food and
easily swallowed. Lamisil is available as a cream without a
- Azoles. Oral prescription forms include
fluconazole (Diflucan) and itraconazole (Sporanox). Some of these medicines are
available without a prescription. Brand names include Micatin and Mycelex.
- Griseofulvin (Grifulvin V).
Griseofulvin comes in pill form and requires a prescription.
- Other antifungals such as tolnaftate (Tinactin).
Tinactin is available without a prescription and comes in lotion, cream, gel,
and spray forms.
Clotrimazole/betamethasone (Lotrisone), a combination
corticosteroid, is sometimes used to treat ringworm
that is burning, itchy, and inflamed. This prescription medicine should be used
with caution and for no longer than 2 weeks, because complications can occur
with long-term use of corticosteroids.
What to think about
People who are taking antifungal pills should have a doctor
monitor their blood counts and liver and kidney function during treatment to
watch for any harmful side effects.