Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
If your athlete's foot is mild, your doctor may suggest using an over-the-counter antifungal ointment, lotion, powder or spray. If your athlete's foot doesn't respond, you may need a prescription-strength topical medication or an oral (systemic) medication.
There are numerous over-the-counter (OTC) medications on the market. Medicated powders also will help keep your feet dry. OTC medications include:
- Butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra)
- Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF)
- Miconazole (Desenex, Zeasorb, others)
- Terbinafine (Lamisil AT)
- Tolnaftate (Tinactin, Ting, others)
If athlete's foot is severe or doesn't respond to over-the-counter medicine, you may need a prescription-strength topical or oral medication.
- Topical medications. These include clotrimazole and miconazole.
- Oral medications. These include itraconazole (Sporanox), fluconazole (Diflucan) and terbinafine (Lamisil). Side effects from oral medications include gastrointestinal upset, rash and abnormal liver function. Taking other medications, such as antacid therapies for ulcer disease or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), may interfere with the absorption of these drugs. Oral medications for athlete's foot may alter the effectiveness of warfarin, an anticoagulant drug that decreases the clotting ability of your blood.
Your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic if you have an accompanying bacterial infection. In addition, your doctor may recommend wet dressings, steroid ointments, compresses or vinegar soaks to help clear up blisters or soggy skin.
Wash and dry the affected area. Then, apply a thin layer of the topical agent once or twice a day for at least two weeks, or according to package directions. If you don't see an improvement after four weeks, see your doctor.
If your athlete's foot recurs frequently, your doctor may recommend that you use a medication continuously.
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