Azoles for Ringworm of the Skin

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Azoles for Ringworm of the Skin


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

Generic NameBrand Name
clotrimazole/betamethasone (an azole cream with corticosteroid)Lotriderm
miconazoleMicatin, Monistat Derm

Pills (oral)

Generic NameBrand Name

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

Clotrimazole/betamethasone (Lotriderm), a combination antifungal and corticosteroid, is sometimes used to treat ringworm that is burning, itchy, and inflamed. Use this prescription medicine with caution, because complications can arise with long-term use of corticosteroids.

How It Works

Azoles inhibit the growth of fungi.

Why It Is Used

Azoles are used to treat ringworm of the skin. Creams are usually used first. You can get some azole creams, such as Micatin, without a prescription. If an antifungal cream does not clear up the infection or if the infection is severe and widespread, then your doctor may prescribe antifungal pills.

How Well It Works

Azoles are effective for treatment of ringworm of the skin.

For better absorption into the body, take azole pills with cola or orange juice.

Side Effects

Side effects are rare when you use azole creams to treat ringworm of the skin. When you use azole pills, side effects may include:

  • Stomach upset.
  • Headaches.
  • Rash.
  • Liver problems, in rare cases.

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

People taking antifungal pills may have their blood counts and liver and kidney function monitored during treatment to watch for any bad side effects. This may not be needed in healthy children.

What To Think About

  • Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take azole pills.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking azole pills, because this may increase the risk of liver damage.
  • Azole pills should not be taken with some other medicines. Let your doctor know what other medicines you are taking.
  • Do not take ketoconazole pills within 2 hours of taking antacids, because it will reduce the amount of ketoconazole absorbed into your blood.

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.