Antifungal Medications – Uses, Types and Side Effects

Antifungal medications are prescribed to patients with fungal infections.

Antifungal medications

Antifungal medications are prescribed to patients with fungal infections. The majority of fungal infections affect the skin and nails, however others can worsen and even be fatal illnesses like meningitis or pneumonia.

Treatment for fungal infections is typically quite simple. The period of therapy is determined by the type of fungal infection you have, its severity, and whether you have any other health issues, such as immune system issues. See Immune System Booster: 8 Iron-Rich Foods to Eat

Some treatment regimens can be completed in as little as a few days (for example, for vaginal thrush). Other regimes can last up to eight weeks (for example, for ringworm infection of the scalp). Read Candida Overgrowth Symptoms: Causes and Treatment

What are antifungal medications used for

Fungal infections, which most frequently affect your skin, hair, and nails, are treated with antifungal medications. Some antifungal medications or antifungal creams are available from pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription.

Antifungal medications come in a variety of varieties. They are available as creams, sprays, solutions, pessaries (tablets that are intended to be inserted into the vagina), shampoos, oral medications, and injections. Most function by destroying the fungus’s cell wall, which causes the fungal cell to die. See Antifungal drugs, types and how they work

1. Antifungal creams

What are antifungal creams used for? Antifungal creams, liquids or sprays (also called topical antifungals): These are used to treat nail, scalp, and skin fungal infections. Clotrimazole, econazole, ketoconazole, miconazole, tioconazole, terbinafine, and amorolfine are some of types of antifungal creams in this group. They are available under many different brand names.

When two activities are necessary, an antifungal cream may occasionally be coupled with other creams. For instance, to treat specific rashes, a mild steroid cream, such hydrocortisone, is frequently used with an antifungal cream. The mild steroid cream lessens the inflammation brought on by the infection while the antifungal cream clears up the infection.

There are also separate leaflets in this series that deal with Candidal Skin Infection (Yeast Infection), Fungal Scalp Infection (Scalp Ringworm) and Fungal Nail Infections (Tinea Unguium).

2. Antifungal shampoo

Sometimes, a shampoo with ketoconazole is used to help treat skin conditions and scalp fungal infections. Ketoconazole is an azole antifungal that works by preventing the growth of fungus. Ketoconazole 2% shampoo is also used to treat a skin condition known as pityriasis (tinea versicolor), a fungal infection that causes a lightening or darkening of the skin of the neck, chest, arms, or legs.

3. Antifungal pessaries

Tablets called antifungal pessaries are designed to be inserted into the vagina. To treat vaginal thrush, several antifungal medications, including clotrimazole, econazole, miconazole, and fenticonazole, are used topically.

Candida albicans, a fungus, overgrows in the vagina, which results in vaginal thrush. Itching, swelling, and a thick, white, odorless discharge are all signs of this illness. These drugs will get rid of the illness and stop the fungus from spreading.

4. Antifungal medicines taken by mouth

There are various types. For example: Miconazole is available as an oral gel, and nystatin as a liquid. They are applied to the mouth. They are used to treat thrush (candidal infection) of the mouth and throat.

Terbinafine, itraconazole, fluconazole, posaconazole, and voriconazole are available as tablets, which are absorbed into the body. They are used to treat various fungal infections. Depending on the sort of illness you have, that one will be selected. For example:

  • Terbinafine is commonly used to treat nail infections which are usually caused by a tinea type of fungus.
  • Fluconazole is commonly used to treat vaginal thrush, as an alternative to using antifungal cream. It is also used to treat and prevent certain fungal infections within the body.

Furthermore, there are additional leaflets in this series that address ringworm, athlete’s foot, and fungal groin infections.

5. Antifungal injections

If your body has a severe fungal infection, you could utilize antifungal injections. Some medications are utilized in this manner, including amphotericin, flucytosine, itraconazole, voriconazole, anidulafungin, caspofungin, and micafungin. The one picked will depend on the kind of fungus that is infecting the patient. These are specialty medications used in hospitals for patients who are often severely unwell.

Note that antifungal medications vary from antibiotics, which are drugs that fight bacteria. Antibiotics kill other sorts of germs (bacterias), but not fungus. In fact, using antibiotics increases your risk of developing a fungal infection. For instance, many women have thrush after finishing an antibiotic regimen.

This is due to the antibiotic’s potential to destroy the typical, good bacteria that reside on your skin or vagina and facilitate the growth of fungus. See how to increase good bacteria in gut naturally

Antifungal creams for balanitis

What is the fastest way to cure balanitis? Balanitis is often treatable with ointments, creams, and excellent cleanliness. To promote cleanliness, people are recommended to gently dry their penis after cleaning it with lukewarm water each day. They should avoid using shampoo, bubble bath, or soap on their genitalia, and after urinating, they should dry beneath their foreskin.

However, an extremely efficient over-the-counter drug called clotrimazole (Lotrimin, Mycelex) is also used to treat athlete’s foot and vaginal yeast infections. For ten days, apply it to the afflicted region two to three times each day.

Antifungal creams for angular cheilitis

What antifungal cream is best for angular cheilitis? Inquire about an over-the-counter antifungal cream from your pharmacist, such as Nystatin, Lotrimin AF (Clotimazole), or Monistat 2 percent Topical Cream (Miconazole). Apply this cream to the corners of the mouth using a cotton pad after washing the afflicted regions four to five times per day.

What are the common side effects of antifungal medication?

For a complete list of warnings and potential side effects, see the information booklet that comes with your specific brand. Generally speaking:

  1. Antifungal creams, sprays, liquids and shampoos. These are often simple to use and have no side effects. Sometimes where the antifungal preparation has been administered, some persons experience a little itch, burning, or redness. You should stop using it if this is severe. Occasionally, women who use vaginal antifungal medications have inflammation around the vagina.
  2. Antifungal medicines by mouth. Terbinafine for nail infections, miconazole, nystatin, and fluconazole for vaginal thrush are the most popular. Usually, they have no negative side effects. Since fluconazole is regarded as a medication that is unlikely to cause issues, you may even get it at pharmacies without a prescription. Some antifungal preparations cause liver problems or more serious side-effects in a small number of people.
  3. Antifungal injections. These have more risk of causing side-effects and sometimes serious problems. However, these are used to treat serious fungal infections and the risk of side-effects needs to be balanced against the need for treatment.

A few common possible side-effects of some of the more widely used antifungal medicines are as follows:

  • Terbinafine sometimes causes tummy aches, loss of appetite, feeling sick (nausea), tummy upsets, diarrhoea, headache, rash, taste disturbance and muscle or joint pains.
  • Fluconazole may cause nausea, tummy ache, diarrhoea, wind, headache, or a rash.
  • Miconazole may cause nausea or sickness (vomiting), or a rash.
  • Nystatin may cause soreness of the mouth.

What is the usually length of antifungal medicines?

  • A cream is often used for a minimum of two weeks to treat fungal skin infections like athlete’s foot or ringworm. Sometimes using a cream requires a treatment period of up to six weeks.
  • If using an antifungal medication like terbinafine, the recommended course of therapy for fungal nail infections is two months.
  • Lung fungal infections are a more dangerous problem, and an expert in that field will determine how long therapy should last.

Who should not take antifungal medication?

It is not advisable to take antifungal medications if you have liver or cardiac issues. They may have infrequent but harmful side effects, including as liver and heart failure. Depending on the antifungal medications you use, you might require testing every 4 to 6 weeks to monitor for harm to your heart, liver, or kidneys.

  • Generally speaking, antifungal creams are safe for everyone to use; however, if in question, see your doctor.
  • The antifungal tablets might interfere with any other drugs you are taking and are stronger than the antifungal creams. If you use other medications, you should see a doctor before using an antifungal tablet.
  • Antifungal medications are often not advised for young children, however creams are safe to use.
  • Elderly persons should see their doctor before using an antifungal medication, although they may usually use antifungal creams without any problems.

Can I buy antifungal pills over the counter?

Can you get antifungal medication over the counter? Yes, you may get a variety of antifungal creams at your local drugstore (for example, clotrimazole, and terbinafine). To treat vaginal thrush, you may also get oral fluconazole from your pharmacy.

However, you should be aware that using the incorrect cream might exacerbate fungal skin infections. For instance, terbinafine cream alone should be used to treat athlete’s foot, not steroids. In most cases, using steroid cream on athlete’s foot makes it worse.

For fungal skin infections, there are various over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal treatments that are both safe and efficient. Depending on the drug and the region you’re treating, the majority of over-the-counter antifungal creams are used once or twice a day for 1 to 4 weeks. Your doctor might need to provide you a prescription for some fungal infections. Read Antifungal Drugs – Types & How they Work

Yellow Card Scheme

How to use the Yellow Card Scheme: you can report a side effect you believe you may have experienced from one of your medications via the Yellow Card Scheme. Online registration is available at

Pharmacists, physicians, and nurses are informed of any new negative effects that medications or other healthcare products may have caused through the Yellow Card Scheme. You must include the following details if you want to report a side effect:

  • State the side-effect.
  • The name of the medicine which you think caused it.
  • The person who had the side-effect.
  • Your contact details as the reporter of the side-effect.

When filling out the report, it is useful if you have your medication and/or the leaflet that came with it on hand.


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