Antifungal medicines are used to treat fungal infections, which are most commonly found on the skin, hair and nails.
You may be given an antifungal medicine to treat common fungal infections, such as:
Invasive fungal infections are less common but more serious. They are infections that occur deep inside the body's tissue or in one of the internal organs. Invasive fungal infections can affect the:
People with a weakened immune system (the body's natural defence system) are particularly vulnerable to invasive fungal infections. Those at risk include:
Antifungal medicines work by either:
Antifungal medicines are used in several ways, depending on your specific fungal infection. The main types of antifungal medicines include:
There are many different types of antifungal medicines, and you may be familiar with some of the advertised brand names. Many of these brands will contain the same generic antifungal ingredients (alone or in combination). Some of the most common include:
The packaging should say which antifungal medicine the product contains. It should also say how strong the antifungal medicine is, usually shown as a percentage of the product or in milligrams – for example, "cream containing 1% clotrimazole" or "capsules containing 50mg of fluconazole".
Your GP or pharmacist should advise on how to take or use your antifungal medicine. The patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine will also contain advice on using your medicine.
Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you take too much of your antifungal medicine. You may be advised to visit your nearest hospital's accident and emergency (A&E) department.
If you are advised to go to hospital, take the medicine's packaging with you so the healthcare professionals who treat you know what you have taken.
Some antifungal medicines can be used on children and babies. For example, miconazole oral gel can be used to treat oral thrush in babies.
Check the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine to see if it's suitable for children, or ask your pharmacy. Different doses are usually needed for children of different ages.
Before taking antifungal medicines, you should consider:
You can discuss allergies, side effects and your existing health problems with the pharmacist dispensing your medicine or, if applicable, the doctor who prescribed it.
Fungi are small organisms that feed by breaking down living or dead tissue. The fungi that most commonly cause infections in humans are particularly attracted to a tough, waterproof type of tissue called keratin, which is present in skin, hair and nails. They are known as dermatophytes.
Some antifungal medicines can be used on children and babies – for example, miconazole can be used to treat oral thrush in babies.
Check the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine to see if it is suitable for children, or ask your pharmacist. Different doses are usually needed for children of different ages.