Prescription Oral Antifungals for Athlete's Foot
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 fungi.
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:
Oral antifungals carry a small but serious risk for dangerous side effects, which can include:
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 oral antifungals.
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 bloodstream.
Oral antifungals cost more than nonprescription antifungal skin medicine.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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