Griseofulvin for Ringworm

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Griseofulvin for Ringworm


Generic NameBrand Name
griseofulvin Grifulvin V, Gris-PEG

Griseofulvin is taken as a pill (orally). It is available in liquid form for children.

You take it once or twice a day for 2 to 8 weeks. If your infection is severe, you may take griseofulvin for as long as 12 weeks.

How It Works

Griseofulvin inhibits the growth of fungi.

Why It Is Used

Griseofulvin is used to treat ringworm of the skin and ringworm of the scalp or beard, especially if ringworm has not cleared after using topical medicine or when ringworm rash is widespread.

It is the treatment of choice for children, because it is well tolerated and has a long history of safe use.1

How Well It Works

Griseofulvin is an effective treatment for ringworm.

You should take it with fatty foods for better absorption in the body.

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.

Call your doctor right away if you have:

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • A yeast infection inside the mouth (thrush).
  • An upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dizziness or headache.
  • Not being able to sleep (insomnia).
  • Confused thoughts.

What To Think About

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

People who have certain diseases such as lupus and people who are allergic to penicillin should not take griseofulvin.

You should not take griseofulvin with some other medicines, such as birth control pills or blood thinners. 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.



  1. Habif TP (2010). Superficial fungal infections. In Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy, 5th ed., pp. 491–540. Edinburgh: Mosby Elsevier.


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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