Allylamines for Ringworm

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Allylamines for Ringworm


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

Generic NameBrand Name
butenafineLotrimin Ultra, Mentax

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.

Butenafine, naftifine, and terbinafine creams and gels are applied to infected areas of the skin. Some types of naftifine cream and terbinafine cream are available without a prescription. You apply these creams 1 to 2 times a day for up to 4 weeks.

How It Works

Allylamines kill fungi.

Why It Is Used

Allylamines are used to treat ringworm. 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, scalp, or beard.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Allylamine creams

Side effects are rare when you use allylamine creams to treat ringworm. But some people have noticed these problems:

  • Burning or irritation.
  • Itching or peeling skin.
  • Rash.

Terbinafine pills

Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Hives.
  • Silvery skin that flakes or a butterfly-shaped rash over your nose and cheeks.
  • Signs of Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis, which can cause a sudden rash, blisters, purple spots or bumps, or other serious skin problems.
  • Fever, chills, body aches, and mouth sores.
  • Serious changes in your mood or behavior.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, nausea, or belly pain.
  • Headache or dizziness.
  • Mild skin rash or itchy skin.
  • Changes in the way food tastes.
  • Changes in your ability to smell.

What To Think About

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.

Do not drink alcohol while taking terbinafine pills, because this may increase your risk for 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.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. If you need to use this medicine, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

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


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Last RevisedDecember 21, 2012

Last Revised: December 21, 2012

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