Antifungal (topical)

Medication Information Leaflet

​What is this medication for?

Topical antifungals are used to treat fungal skin and nail infections. These medications work by preventing the fungal cells from growing. They may contain ingredients such as Miconazole, Clotrimazole, Ketoconazole, Terbinafine, Econazole and Amorolfine. They may come in many different brands and dosage forms such as cream, gel, lotion, powders, nail lacquers, solutions and spray.

Some products may also include hydrocortisone, a steroid, in combination with the antifungal to reduce the swelling and itch caused by the fungal infection.

How should I take/use this medication?

  • Most of the topical medications should be applied twice a day to the affected area (please confirm the instructions with your healthcare professional as some products may have different frequency of application). Apply to the area surrounding the infected area as well.
  • Continue applying for at least one more week after symptoms resolve to ensure the fungus is completely eradicated
  • Do not stop applying your medication without checking with your healthcare professional. Stopping too soon may cause the infection to come back
  • If you are applying another cream, lotion, gel or ointment onto the affected area, wait at least 15min before applying them
  • Antifungal nail lacquers are applied once or twice weekly. Please refer to the product leaflet provided by the manufacturer for the usage instructions.

Antifungal shampoos/solutions should be applied on the affected area for 3-5min to ensure sufficient contact time before rinsing it off with water. They are applied either once a day, or two to three times a week depending on the condition. Please consult your healthcare professional for further instructions.


What should I do if I forget to take/use this medication?

If you forget to take a dose, apply it as soon as you remember. Then apply your next dose at the usual time. Do not apply two doses to make up for the missed dose.

What precautions should I take?

Inform your healthcare professional if:
  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.

What are some common side-effects of this medication?

  • Mild stinging, itching and redness may occur at the affected area.
    • These symptoms should resolve after a few minutes. If these symptoms do not resolve or worsen, stop the medication immediately and consult your health care professional.

What are some rare but serious side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:
  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Signs that your condition may require further medical attention include:
  • Skin is blistered, broken, bleeding or raw
  • Signs of fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes
  • Fungal infection symptoms appear in the mouth or around or on the reproductive organs
  • For nail fungus, if more than half your nail is affected, or the infection reaches the half moon of the nail
  • Fungal infection symptoms do not improve 2 weeks after treatment (for fungal skin infection)
  • Fungal infection symptoms keep coming back after going away
  • Fungal infection symptoms worsen with or without treatment
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

What food or medication should I avoid when I take this medication?

Do check with your health care professional if other topical medications can be applied together with this medication.

How should I store this medication?

Store in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Keep this medication away from children.

Discard this medication within a year after opening unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer.

How should I throw away this medication safely?

Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing it into the rubbish chute or bin.


Disclaimers
If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.


This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore.

Last reviewed on Feb 2020 
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Antifungal (topical)

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