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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Treatment

If you have jock itch, athlete's foot or ringworm of the body, you usually can be treated with a nonprescription antifungal cream, lotion or powder. Your doctor can recommend the appropriate treatment for your condition. Some of the nonprescription medications available include terbinafine (Lamisil), tolnaftate (Tinactin), miconazole (Micatin and other brand names), clotrimazole (Lotrimin, Mycelex) and undecylenic acid (Desenex and other brand names). Be sure to follow the directions carefully when you apply the medication. If your symptoms do not improve significantly after you have used a nonprescription medicine for about two weeks, call your doctor. Your doctor may suggest a prescription antifungal medication that will cure the problem. For extremely stubborn infections, the antifungal medication may be taken by mouth rather than being applied to the skin.

If you have a fungal infection of the scalp, beard, fingernails, or toenails, your doctor may treat you with an oral antifungal medication, such as oral terbinafine (Lamisil), itraconazole (Sporanox) or griseofulvin (Grisactin and other brand names). You also will have to apply antifungal creams or shampoos to your hair and scalp. Complete treatment can take two or three months.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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