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Antifungal Medications

Antifungal drugs are mainly categorized into azoles, polyenes, allylamine and morpholine. While the mechanism of action of these drugs might be different, the objective is to treat fungal infections. This HealthHearty write-up provides information on antifungal medication.
Madhumita Shivade
Last Updated: Feb 22, 2018
The term 'fungi' refers to single-celled or multicellular organisms such as yeast and mold. Though there are several species of fungi, not all are harmful to humans. One of the fungi that is commonly responsible for causing infections is Candida albicans. The parts of the body that are commonly affected by fungal infections include mouth, nail, moist skin folds, and the vagina. If left untreated, fungal infections can cause serious health problems. The treatment of these infections involves the topical application or oral administration of antifungal medications.
For Oral Thrush
Oral thrush is a yeast infection that causes white patches in the mouth. It is mainly caused by the overgrowth of Candida, a type of yeast commonly found in our body. The most common areas of the body where thrush infection occurs are the mouth, throat, and the tongue. This condition can be treated easily.
For the treatment of thrush, there are medications which slow down the growth of yeast. Mostly, medicines that treat thrush are either applied directly or consumed orally. The kind of medicine prescribed would depend on factors such as one's health, the severity of the infection, and its recurrence. Usually, the treatment involves using antifungal lozenges and mouth rinses. Nystatin or miconazole might be prescribed for treating this condition. Oral antifungal medicines are prescribed when the infection spreads to the esophagus.
For Toenail Infection
Fungi thrive in warm, dark, and moist areas. In case of nail fungus, medicated creams or polish (ciclopirox) might be recommended. At times, oral antifungal drugs such as terbinafine (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox) might be prescribed. Antifungal medicines should only be taken after consultation with your healthcare provider. It takes about 6 to 12 weeks for the infection to get cured.
For Vaginal Yeast Infections
Antifungal medicines are available in the form of tablets, ointments, and creams. Some of the common antifungals that are used for treating yeast infections include clotrimazole, miconazole, tioconazole, terconazole, and butoconazole. Though some of the medicines are available over-the-counter, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. Make sure that you complete the course. Don't stop taking the medicine, even if you begin to feel better in a few days.
Side Effects of Antifungal Drugs
When a person is diagnosed with a fungal infection, the healthcare provider recommends the use of antifungal medicines such as fluconazole, ketoconazole, Itraconazole, or terbinafine. Antifungal creams and shampoos generally have no side effects, but there have been reports of itching and irritation in some people. Some of the side effects are given below:
Topical application of antifungal drugs could cause itching, redness, or a mild burning sensation.
In some cases, the oral administration of antifungal drugs could cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, flatulence, indigestion, headache, malaise, etc.
If one develops an allergic reaction to the drug, he/she might experience symptoms such as itching, swelling, swallowing or breathing problems, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
The prolonged use of antifungal drugs could damage the liver. Loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, pale stools, or unusual fatigue are signs of liver problems. Medical assistance must be sought by those who experience these symptoms.
Fungal infections may be caused due to several reasons. However, the most common contributing factor is the lack of personal hygiene. So, maintain personal hygiene, and keep your surroundings clean. Seek medical assistance, if you experience the symptoms of a fungal infection.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.