Antifungals are medications that are used to treat various fungal infections. Many of these medications are over-the-counter, and some are available by prescription only. Common fungal infections include vaginal yeast infections, jock itch, athlete's foot, ringworm and oral thrush. Less commonly, fungal infections can develop in your lungs. If you have a rash or other symptoms of a fungal infection, see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Yeast Infection Medications
A yeast infection is an overgrowth of candida yeast in the vagina. Women may experience a yeast infection at any time, but they are most common when a woman is ill, under stress, on antibiotics or pregnant. Over-the-counter antifungal medications to treat yeast infections include Femstat, Monistat, Micozole, GyneCure and Clotrimaderm. Diflucan is a prescription oral antifungal medication that can also be given to non-pregnant women to treat a yeast infection.
Jock Itch, Athlete's Foot and Ringworm Medications
Jock itch is a fungal infection that can affect both men and women. It is characterized by a ring-shaped red rash on the inner thigh, groin or buttocks. Most jock itch can be treated with one of two types of over-the-counter antifungal medications. These are allylamines, which include Lamisil and Naftin; and azoles, which include Lotrimin and Monistat-Derm. If it does not clear up, you may need a prescription antifungal medication. Oral antifungals are Diflucan, Lamisil and Sporanox. Prescription topical antifungals include Spectazole and Oxistat. Athlete's foot, a fungal infection that develops between the toes, is closely related to jock itch. It can be treated with similar medications. Tinactin is an over-the-counter topical medication that is designed solely to treat athlete's foot. Ringworm is treated the same way as jock itch and athlete's foot. The main symptom of ringworm is a ring-like circular rash with a small spot of unaffected skin in the middle.
Oral thrush is a fungal infection in the mouth. It is most common in babies, people with weakened immune system, people who wear dentures and people who use inhaled steroids. Eating yogurt or taking acidophilus capsules will sometimes cure thrush. Nystatin and clotrimazole are the antifungals of choice to cure thrush if home remedies do not work. For people with severe cases of thrush, or those who are immunocompromised, Diflucan and Nizoral are sometimes prescribed.
Fungal Lung Infection Medications
Infection can develop in your lungs when fungi are inhaled. These infections are most commonly treated with amphotericin B. This medication is administered intravenously. Triazoles are also used to treat these infections, including ketoconazole, itraconazole, ﬂuconazole, voriconazole, and posaconazole. A third type of anti-fungal medications called echinocandins -- including caspofungin, micafungin, and anidulafungin -- also treat fungal lung infections.
- American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine: An Ofﬁcial American Thoracic Society Statement -- Treatment of Fungal Infections in Adult Pulmonary and Critical Care Patients
- Clinical Infectious Diseases: Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Candidiasis -- 2009 Update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America
- American Thoracic Society: Fungal Lung Disease