Terbinafine (By mouth)
Treats fungal infections of the scalp, toenails, or fingernails.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to terbinafine.
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- Terbinafine tablets may be taken with or without food. However, it is best to take terbinafine oral granules with food.
- Sprinkle the oral granules on a spoonful of pudding or other soft, non-acidic food such as mashed potatoes. This mixture must be swallowed immediately without chewing. Do not use applesauce or fruit-based foods. If you need 2 packets of oral granules with each dose, you may sprinkle the content of both packets on 1 spoonful or 2 spoonfuls of non-acidic food.
- Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if you feel better after the first few doses. Your infection may not clear up if you stop using the medicine too soon.
- This medicine works best when you take it at the same time every day and do not miss any doses.
- It may take several months for your infection to clear up completely and for healthy nails to grow out and replace the infected nails.
- This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
- If you miss a dose of terbinafine tablets, take it as soon as you can. If your next regular dose is less than 4 hours away, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you also use cimetidine (Tagamet®), cyclosporine (such as Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®), dextromethorphan (Benylin®), fluconazole (Diflucan®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), rifampin (such as Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rifater®, or Rimactane®), blood pressure medicine (such as atenolol, carvedilol, metoprolol, propranolol, timolol, Blocadren®, Coreg®, or Toprol®), medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as amiodarone, flecainide, propafenone, Cordarone®, Tambocor®, or Rythmol®), medicine for depression (such as amitriptyline, clomipramine, desipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, imipramine, nortriptyline, paroxetine, venlafaxine, Anafranil®, Aventyl®, Effexor®, Luvox®, Norpramin®, Pamelor®, Paxil®, Prozac®, or Tofranil®), or an MAO inhibitor (such as selegiline or Eldepryl®).
- Also tell your doctor if you use caffeine (coffee, soda, chocolate).
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, blood problems, lupus, or a weak immune system (such as HIV infection or AIDS).
- Stop taking this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have nausea or vomiting, dark-colored urine, pale stools, upper stomach pain, or yellow eyes or skin. These may be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
- This medicine may affect your sense of taste or smell. Tell your doctor if you have changes to your sense of taste or smell, poor appetite, or weight loss.
- Tell your doctor right away if you think this medicine is causing depression or other changes in your mood or behavior.
- Rarely, this medicine can cause serious skin reactions. Call your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loose skin, red skin lesions, severe skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills while you are using this medicine.
- This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.Tell your doctor right away if you have a red, scaly skin rash.
- This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.You may need to take this medicine for several weeks or months before your infection gets better.
- Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Blistering, peeling, scaly, or red skin rash
- Changes in behavior or mood, depression
- Dark-colored urine or pale stools
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pain in the upper stomach
- Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness
- Yellow skin or eyes
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Change in or loss of taste or smell
- Mild nausea or vomiting
- Mild skin rash or itching
- Stuffy or runny nose
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013