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Antifungal medicines

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Antifungal medicines are used to treat fungal infections, which most commonly affect your skin, hair and nails.
You can get some antifungal medicines over the counter from your pharmacy, but you may need a prescription from your GP for other types

Infections antifungals can treat

Fungal infections commonly treated with antifungals include:
athlete’s foot
fungal nail infection
vaginal thrush
some kinds of severe dandruff
Less commonly, there are also more serious fungal infections that develop deep inside the body tissues, which may need to be treated in hospital.
Examples include:
aspergillosis, which affects the lungs
fungal meningitis, which affects the brain
You’re more at risk of getting one of these more serious fungal infections if you have a weakened immune system – for example, if you’re taking medicines to suppress your immunity.
Types of antifungal medicines

Antifungal medicines are available as:
topical antifungals – a cream, gel, ointment or spray you can apply directly to your skin, hair or nails
oral antifungals – a capsule, tablet or liquid medicine that you swallow
intravenous antifungals – an injection into a vein in your arm, usually given in hospital
intravaginal antifungal pessaries – small, soft tablets you can insert into the v**ina
Some common names for antifungal medicines include:
How antifungal medicines work

Antifungal medicines work by either:
killing the fungal cells – for example, by affecting a substance in the cell walls, causing the contents of the fungal cells to leak out and the cells to die
preventing the fungal cells growing and reproducing
When to see a pharmacist or GP

See a pharmacist or GP if you think you have a fungal infection. They will advise you on which antifungal medicine to take and how to take or use it.

Things to consider when using antifungal drugs

Before taking antifungal medicines, speak to a pharmacist or your GP about:
any existing conditions or allergies that may affect your treatment for fungal infection
the possible side effects of antifungal medicines
whether the antifungal medicine may interact with other medicines you may already be taking (known as drug interactions)
whether your antifungal medicine is suitable to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding – many aren’t suitable
You can also check the patient information leaflet that comes with your antifungal medicine for more information.
Side effects of antifungal medicines

Your antifungal medicine may cause side effects. These are usually mild and only last for a short period of time.
They can include:
itching or burning
feeling sick
tummy (abdominal) pain
a rash
Occasionally, your antifungal medicine may cause a more severe reaction, such as:
an allergic reaction – your face, neck or tongue may swell and you may have difficulty breathing
a severe skin reaction – such as peeling or blistering skin
liver damage (occurs very rarely) – you may experience loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, jaundice, dark urine or pale faeces, tiredness or weakness

source: Nhs

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