Antifungal (fungal) creams are used to treat fungal infections in various parts of the body. These creams and other topicals are mainly used for skin and vaginal infections, whereas tablets are usually used for the nails or more widespread and internal infections. The Caidr team will explain some of them in detail and their different uses.
The drug names for the different over-the-counter antifungals include; clotrimazole, ketoconazole, miconazole, tioconazole, terbinafine, butenafine and tolnaftate.
Some of these are available as a combination cream with hydrocortisone in them. These require a prescription. The hydrocortisone combination can help reduce redness, inflammation, and sometimes itching.
Over-the-counter antifungals come in a variety of strengths and dosage forms. They can be used for athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm, Vaginal infections can be treated with creams, vaginal inserts, or combination packs. For all products, follow the package directions, particularly for children's use.
Butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra) can be used for athlete’s foot and jock itch and is available in cream form and as a no-touch applicator.
Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF Clotrimazole) is indicated for athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. It comes as a cream and topical solution. Clotrimazole is also available in vaginal formulations as creams (Gyne-Lotrimin 3, Gyne-Lotrimin 7, Mycelex-7) and combination packs with vaginal tablets (Mycelex-7 Combination Pack).
Ketoconazole (Nizoral) is the most recent antifungal addition to over-the-counter status. It is formulated as an anti-dandruff shampoo. Other forms of ketoconazole (cream, foam, gel) are still only available by prescription.
Miconazole (Desenex, Lotrimin AF, Micatin) effectively treats athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. Formulations include powder, powder spray, and cream. Vaginal miconazole products include (Monistat 1 Combination Pack Day or Night; Monistat-3 Cream and Combination Pack; Monistat-7 Cream, Combination Pack, Vaginal Suppository; and Vagistat 3 Combination Pack).
Terbinafine (Lamisil AT) can be used for athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. It comes in a cream and a spray.
Tolnaftate (Tinactin) in cream and powder spray is yet another option for athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm.
Tioconazole is the final antifungal agent available over the counter and only comes in vaginal formulations (Vagistat-1 Ointment 1-Day, Monistat-1 Day).
Please note that product line extensions may not necessarily have the same active ingredient (i.e., Lotrimin products contain clotrimazole, miconazole, and butenafine).
Stronger antifungal topicals are available by prescription for harder-to-treat infections. Some prescription products include hydrocortisone, which can reduce redness, inflammation, or itching.
Treatment of antifungal skin infections can be difficult and requires persistence. Not all products are suitable for every type of infection, nor are all suitable for children. The dosage and length of treatment vary by formulation, so follow the directions for use on the package. Your pharmacist can help you choose a product.
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