Allylamines for Ringworm of the Skin

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Allylamines for Ringworm of the Skin


Cream or gel (topical, applied directly to the skin)

Generic NameBrand Name

Pills (oral) and granules (little grains that can be sprinkled over food and easily swallowed)

Generic NameBrand Name

Allylamines are a class of antifungals used to treat ringworm of the skin.

Terbinafine and naftifine creams and gels are applied to infected areas of the skin. Naftifine cream is available without a prescription. Terbinafine is not available in Canada without a prescription. You apply these creams 1 to 2 times a day for up to 4 weeks.

Terbinafine pills are taken twice a day for about 2 weeks.

How It Works

Allylamines kill fungi.

Why It Is Used

Allylamines are used to treat ringworm of the skin. If an antifungal cream does not clear up the infection or if the infection is widespread or severe, your doctor may prescribe antifungal pills.

How Well It Works

Allylamines are an effective treatment for ringworm of the skin.

Side Effects

Side effects are rare when you use allylamine creams to treat ringworm.

Side effects of pills may include:

  • Stomach upset.
  • Headaches.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

If you are taking antifungal pills, your doctor may monitor your blood count and liver function during treatment to watch for any bad side effects. This may not be needed in people who are otherwise healthy.

What To Think About

  • Women who are nursing a baby should not take allylamine pills.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking terbinafine pills, because this may increase the risk of liver damage.
  • Allylamine pills should not be taken with some other medicines, such as an excessive amount of acetaminophen (Tylenol). Let your doctor know what other medicines you are taking.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
Last Revised May 4, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.