Terbinafine is approved for the treatment of fingernail and toenail fungus, as well as ringworm of the scalp. By entering the blood and moving into the skin and nails, it acts on certain types of fungi to either kill them or slow down their growth. Potential side effects of terbinafine include rash, heartburn, diarrhea, or headache.
What Is Terbinafine?
Terbinafine hydrochloride (Lamisil®) is a prescription medication that is used to treat fingernail or toenail fungus. A new form (oral granules) has also been approved to treat a fungal infection called tinea capitis (also known as ringworm of the scalp).
Brand-name terbinafine is manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals as Lamisil. Generic versions are manufactured by several companies (see Generic Lamisil).
How Does Terbinafine Work?
Nail fungus (known medically as onychomycosis) is an infection caused by certain types of fungi. As a result of this infection, fingernails or toenails can become thick, brittle, and discolored.
Terbinafine tablets are taken by mouth. After entering the blood, the medication slowly moves into the skin and nails. Here, it acts on certain types of fungi to either kill it or slow down the growth of the fungus that is causing the infection.
The medication works similarly to treat tinea capitis (ringworm of the scalp). This problem is caused by a fungus, and terbinafine works by killing the fungus.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed December 18, 2006.
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