WHAT ARE TOPICAL ANTIFUNGALS AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Topical antifungals are medications used to treat fungal infections, which commonly affect skin, hair, and nails. Fungi are found in all kinds of environments, but most of them do not cause any disease in humans; however, a few species can cause illness.
Fungal infections are caused by:
- Dermatophytes: a group of fungi that affect keratin tissue of the skin and cause superficial infections of the skin and mucous membrane.
- Yeasts: single-celled microorganisms
- Molds: causes nail infections
Topical antifungal medication is a cream, solution, lotion, powder, gel, spray, or lacquer applied to the skin surface to treat a fungal infection. Many antifungals are suitable for both dermatophytes and yeast infections, whereas others are more specific for one or another type of fungus.
Topical antifungals work in two ways:
- They kill the fungal cells.
- They prevent the fungal cells to grow and reproduce.
Antifungals target the fungal cell membrane and the fungal cell wall (both structures surround and protect the fungal cells). When either of these structures is compromised, the fungal cell can bursts open causing the contents to leak out and eventually die.
They are applied to the affected area generally twice a day for 2 to 4 weeks and can be obtained over the counter.
HOW ARE TOPICAL ANTIFUNGALS USED?
Conditions treated with topical antifungals include:
- Vitiligo (a skin pigmentation condition that appears as white or lighter patches on the skin)
- Psoriasis (a chronic skin condition that can cause red, scaly patches on the skin)
- Tinea pedis (fungal infection of the foot, also called ‘athlete foot’)
- Tinea cruris (an infection of the groin, also called ‘jock itch’)
- Tinea corporis (a red, itchy, circular rash with clearer skin in the middle, commonly called ringworm)
- Tinea versicolor (causes a lightening or darkening of the skin of the neck, chest, arms, or legs)
- Onychomycosis (fungal infection) of fingernails and toenails
- Cutaneous candidiasis (a fungal infection that causes a red, itchy rash)
- Seborrheic dermatitis (an itchy rash with flaky scales) of the scalp
- Vaginal candidiasis (a vaginal yeast infection)
- Otomycosis (a fungal infection that affects the ears)
- Paronychia (skin infection around a fingernail or toenail)
WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS OF TOPICAL ANTIFUNGALS?
Common side effects include:
- Skin irritation
- Burning and/or stinging
- Pruritis (itching)
- Edema (swelling)
- Pimple-like bumps
- Tenderness (pain on touch)
- Dryness of scalp
Other rare side effects include:
- Severe skin reaction (peeling or skin cracks)
- Trouble breathing
- Urticaria (itchy, raised welts that are found on the skin)
- Severe dizziness
- Allergic reaction
Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.
WHAT ARE DRUG NAMES OF TOPICAL ANTIFUNGALS?
Drug names include:
- Barielle Fungus Rx
- Blis-To-Sol powder
- Breezee Mist Antifungal Foot Powder
- Cavilon Antifungal Cream
- Clotrimazole topical
- Desenex soap
- Econazole topical
- Fungicure Maximum Strength Liquid
- Fungoid AF
- Fungoid Tincture
- Gyne Lotrimin
- Hongo Cura
- Ketoconazole topical
- Lamisil AF Defense
- Lamisil AT topical
- Lotrimin AF
- Lotrimin Ultra
- Miconazole topical
- Miconazole/petrolatum/zinc oxide topical
- Monistat Derm
- Mycelex topical
- Mycostatin topical
- Nizoral Topical
- Nystatin topical
- Oxsoralen Ultra
- Pediaderm AF
- Terbinafine topical
- Ting Antifungal
- Undecylenic acid & derivatives
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