They are used to treat fungal infections, which most often affect the skin, hair, and nails.
You can get some antifungal medications over the counter at your pharmacy, but you may need a prescription from your GP for other types.
Fungal infections commonly treated with antifungals include:
- He had.
- Athlete’s foot.
- Nail fungus infection.
- Vaginal thrush.
- Some types of severe dandruff.
Less commonly, there are also more serious fungal infections that develop inside the body’s tissues, which may need treatment in the hospital.
- Aspergillosis , which affects the lungs.
- Fungal meningitis, which affects the brain.
You are at higher risk for one of these more serious yeast infections if you have a weakened immune system, for example if you are taking medications to suppress your immunity.
Types of antifungal medications
Antifungal medications are available as:
- Topical antifungals – A cream, gel, ointment, or spray that you can apply directly to your skin, hair, or nails.
- Oral antifungals : a capsule, tablet, or liquid medicine that is swallowed.
- Intravenous Antifungals – An injection into a vein in your arm, usually given in the hospital.
- Intravaginal antifungal pessaries – Small, soft tablets that you insert into the vagina.
Some common names for antifungal medications include:
Mechanism of action
Antifungal medications work by:
- Killing fungal cells, for example by affecting a substance on cell walls, causing the fungal cell contents to leak out and the cells to die.
- Prevent fungal cells from growing and reproducing.
When to see a pharmacist or a GP?
Consult a pharmacist or GP if you think you have a yeast infection. They will advise you on which antifungal medicine to take and how to use it.
The patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine will also include tips on using your medicine.
Talk to your pharmacist or GP if you accidentally take too much of your antifungal medicine . You may be advised to visit the accident and emergency department of your nearest hospital if you have taken excessive amounts.
If you are advised to go to the hospital, take the medicine packet with you so that your healthcare professionals will know what you have taken.
Things to consider when using antifungal drugs
Before taking antifungal medications, talk to a pharmacist or your GP about:
- Any existing conditions or allergies that may affect your yeast infection treatment.
- The possible side effects of antifungal medications.
- Whether the antifungal medicine can interact with other medicines you are already taking (known as drug interactions).
- If your antifungal medicine is suitable to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, many are not suitable.
You can also refer to the patient information leaflet that comes with your antifungal medicine for more information.
Your antifungal medicine can cause side effects. These are generally mild and only last for a short period of time.
They may include:
- Itching or burning
- Feeling sick.
- Diarrhea .
- An eruption.
Occasionally, your antifungal medicine can cause a more severe reaction, such as:
- An allergic reaction: Your face, neck, or tongue may swell and you may have trouble breathing.
- A severe skin reaction – such as peeling or blistering of the skin.
- Liver damage (occurs very rarely): You may experience loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, jaundice , dark urine or pale stools, tiredness or weakness.
Stop using the medicine if you have these serious side effects, and consult your GP or pharmacist to find an alternative.
If you have difficulty breathing, visit the accident and emergency department of your nearest hospital or call the emergency number for your region.
Antifungal Medications for Children
Some antifungal medications can be used in children and babies; For example, miconazole oral gel can be used to treat oral thrush in babies.
But generally different doses are needed for children of different ages. Consult a pharmacist or speak with your GP for more information.