Terbinafine (terbinafine hydrochloride)

What is terbinafine?

Terbinafine is an antifungal that is available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that treat symptoms associated with skin fungus infections such as athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. Terbinafine can be found in single-ingredient topical skin fungus medicines.

What is terbinafine used to treat?

  • Skin fungus
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Jock itch
  • Ringworm

Common brands containing terbinafine:

  • Lamisil
  • Store Brands (ex. Walmart’s “Equate” store brand or CVS Health store brand)

How much Terbinafine can you take?

Different types of products containing this active ingredient have different strengths. That’s why it is always important to read and follow the Drug Facts label. Most medicines warn against use of an active ingredient for longer than 7-10 days. Stop and ask a doctor if symptoms persist.

Safety guide for terbinafine

Terbinafine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to the Drug Facts label. These products are for external use only.

Safe use tips:

  • These products should not be used on the nails or scalp.
  • These products should not be used to treat vaginal yeast infections.
  • You should avoid getting the medicine near your mouth or into your eyes.
  • You should wash the affected area and dry thoroughly before use.
  • If you are treating athlete’s foot, pay special attention to the spaces between the toes; wear well-fitting, ventilated shoes; and change your socks and shoes at least once a day.

Ask a healthcare provider before use if:

  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
  • If you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • If you have a history of kidney or liver problems, lupus, depression, psoriasis, alcohol abuse or dependence, or blood problems (eg, anemia).
  • If you have a weakened immune system or low white blood cell counts.

Do not use if:

  • You are allergic to any ingredient in terbinafine tablets and hydroxypropyl-chitosan.
  • You have liver problems.

Stop use and ask a doctor If:

  • Too much irritation occurs or gets worse.
  • There is no improvement of athlete’s foot, ringworm, or jock itch after one week of treatment.
  • You accidentally swallow the medicine. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.

What are the side effects of Terbinafine?

  • Change in or loss of taste or smell
  • Headache
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight; wear sunscreen.
  • Although rare, call your doctor right away if you notice an allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, or trouble breathing.