Terbinafine is prescribed to treat fungal nail or skin infections.
Take one tablet a day.
The most common side-effects are loss of appetite, indigestion, feeling sick (nausea), diarrhoea, and aches and pains. These are usually mild and don't last long.
|Type of medicine||An antifungal medicine|
|Used for||Fungal infections|
Terbinafine is prescribed to treat fungal infections in adults. It is commonly prescribed for fungal nail infections and is sometimes prescribed for fungal skin infections. It works by killing the fungus causing the infection.
Before taking terbinafine
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking terbinafine it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- If you have a problem with the way your liver works, or if you have a problem with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have a skin condition called psoriasis.
- If you have been told you have an autoimmune disorder, such as lupus erythematosus.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take terbinafine
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about terbinafine, and will also provide you with a full list of side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
- Take the tablets exactly as your doctor tells you to. It is usual to take one 250 mg tablet a day. You can take the tablet either before or after food.
- Keep taking a tablet every day until the course is finished; otherwise, your infection may come back. Your course of treatment could last from two weeks to three months, depending upon where your infection is.
- Try to take the tablet at the same time of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take your doses regularly. If you do forget to take a tablet, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, leave out the forgotten dose from the previous day and take the dose that is due as normal. Do not take two doses on the same day to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- If you buy any medicines 'over the counter', always check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take with your prescribed medicines.
Can terbinafine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains the most common ones associated with terbinafine. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any continue or become troublesome.
|Very common terbinafine side-effects (these affect more than 1 in 10 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Lack of appetite||If troublesome, speak with your doctor|
|Feeling sick (nausea), indigestion, feeling bloated, stomach ache||Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids|
|Headache, joint and muscle aches and pains||Drink plenty of water and ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the aches continue, let your doctor know|
|Skin rash and itching||If troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: if you develop a severe skin rash with blisters, or any yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice), you should speak with your doctor straightaway. These are rare but possibly serious side-effects of terbinafine.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store terbinafine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you are due to have an operation or dental treatment, please tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading and references
; Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2017.
; British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.