Terbinafine - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Terbinafine: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is terbinafine?

Terbinafine is an antifungal medicine. It is approved for the treatment of common fungal infections. Its most prevalent use is in treating fungal infections in the toenails or fingernails. It has also been routinely prescribed for the treatment of fungal infections in the hair follicles over the scalp.
Terbinafine works by inhibiting a fungal enzyme, squalene epoxidase. Because of this enzyme’s inhibition, the fungi fail to synthesize sterols, which are an important component of their structure. The inhibition of sterol synthesis helps to destroy the fungal population.

What are the uses of terbinafine?

Terbinafine is used to treat various skin and nail infections caused by fungi. It is commonly used to treat the following conditions:

  • Athletes’ foot, a fungal infection that occurs between the toes due to excess sweat
  • Ringworm, which occurs as red, scaly, and patchy lesions on the skin
  • Other fungal infections which cause discolored and patchy skin like pityriasis versicolor
  • Common nail infections like onychomycosis characterized by discolored and thick nails separating from the nail beds
  • Jock itch, characterized by itching in the groin area
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What are the side effects of terbinafine?

Terbinafine has a range of side effects ranging from mild to severe. The most common side effects are:

  • Gastrointestinal disturbances: disturbed appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ache
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritation or itching over the area of application

The more serious side effects of terbinafine include:

  • Dysgeusia, or alterations in taste sensations that might become permanent
  • Allergic symptoms like hives on the skin, severe itch, blisters, fever, tiredness
  • Indications of liver damage like dark red or brown urine, yellowing of skin or eyes, abdominal pain
  • Signs of severe muscle damage like severe muscle or joint pain accompanied by dark red-colored urine

Severe side effects like allergies and liver failure may occur rarely. Stay aware of your side effects and contact your doctor immediately if you develop any serious side effects.


Frequently Asked Questions about Terbinafine

1. Will Terbinafine treat ringworm?

Yes. Terbinafine has been popularly used to treat infections like ringworm of the foot, groin, and body (tinea corporis). The medicine comes in different forms like cream, gel, and spray. Applying Terbinafine to the affected area 2–3 times daily provides benefits. Terbinafine is one of the most successful medicines used to treat ringworm infections.

2. How long does it take for Terbinafine to work?

The duration and efficacy of treatment depend on the type of fungal infection. Typically, terbinafine takes 4 to 6 weeks in cases of ringworm and athlete's foot. However, nail infections take a little longer to heal – between 6 to 12 weeks. Toenails take even longer to heal than fingernails.

3. Can terbinafine cause liver damage?

Yes. Terbinafine has been known to cause liver damage, even leading to requiring liver transplants. You should be aware of signs of liver damage like red urine, yellowing skin or eyes, etc. Get a medical opinion if you develop such signs. Inform your doctor of your past liver problems, if any, before opting for terbinafine.

4. Is terbinafine an antibiotic?

No. Terbinafine is not an antibiotic. Both antifungals and antibiotics are anti-microbial. However, antibiotics work against bacterial microorganisms, for example, penicillin or amoxicillin fight bacteria like E. coli or streptococci. Terbinafine has no known antibacterial properties. It cannot fight against such bacterial growth because it is antifungal instead. It kills fungi causing hair, skin, and nail infections.

5. Can Terbinafine cause acne?

No. Commonly, terbinafine is not known to cause acne. However, the topical use of terbinafine can cause peeling or severe itching of the skin at the area of application. These can be allergic side effects. Consult our experts to know more about the skin reactions that take place with terbinafine.

6. Can Terbinafine cream be used on the face?

No. Terbinafine cream cannot be used on the face. Take special care when using the cream for other body parts as well. Wash your hands properly after the application of the medicine. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or ears in the process. Get medical help immediately if terbinafine has been used incorrectly.

7. Does terbinafine affect birth control?

No. There is no evidence that terbinafine affects birth control. Your oral pills can be continued alongside the oral pills. Terbinafine has not been reported to increase or decrease fertility either. However, vomiting due to terbinafine may render the oral pill useless. Contact our medical expert to know about the topic in detail.

8. How safe is terbinafine?

Terbinafine is generally considered to be a safe medication. The serious side effects happen only in rare, severe cases. Ensure you give proper details to the doctor about your past medical records. You also must not use terbinafine if you have recorded previous allergies to the drug. Stay alert regarding signs of liver or muscle damage.

9. What should you not take with terbinafine?

Avoid substances like coffee when using terbinafine. Avoid going out in the sun as terbinafine increases your likelihood of developing sunburns. Terbinafine is a safe medication that does not react adversely with other drugs. However, keep your doctor informed if you're taking antidepressants, oral contraceptives, beta-blockers, amiodarone, warfarin, or tamoxifen.

10. Does Terbinafine make your hair fall out?

Yes. Terbinafine is one of the antifungal drugs that is known to cause severe hair fall in a few cases. However, this side effect is very rare and may affect only 1 in 10,000 people. Get in touch with our medical expert to know more about this condition.



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      Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.