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Posts Tagged ‘Anti-fungals’

Self-Treatment of Topical Fungal Infections. By Our July Student Pharmacist, Shawn Rutledge.

Unfortunately, you do not have to play a sport professionally to develop athlete’s foot. The good news is that most cases are easily treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

Athlete’s foot, sometimes referred to as tinea pedis, is a superficial skin infection caused by certain types of fungi. It is a very common occurrence (one in four people will experience athlete’s foot throughout their lifetime) and is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Symptoms of athlete’s foot include:


-Rash that is red and scaly

-Peeling of skin

-Chronic dryness of the feet

If you notice excessive redness, swelling, drainage, fever, or if the rash continues to spread despite self-care, please seek medical attention.

Athlete’s foot can be contracted by exposure to contaminated skin left behind in swimming pools, showers, and saunas. Moist or wet skin encourages fungal growth and therefore the chance of infection. Because skin moisture can lead to infections, it is very important to thoroughly dry your feet and in between your toes after swimming or showering. Also, avoid wearing wet socks and shoes for extended periods of time.

Your risk of developing this infection can increase if you:

-Have recently been on antibiotics–antibiotics can disrupt the normal skin flora which can lead to an opportunity for fungus growth.

-Are taking oral steroids or using topical steroids–steroids can inhibit normal functioning of the immune system which makes it more difficult to fight off fungal infections.

-Have high blood sugar levels (uncontrolled diabetes)–fungal infections need a source of energy and blood glucose may provide those nutrients.

-Are overweight–increased body surface area may lead to skin creases and these dark, damp spaces are ideal for fungal growth.

-Have a weakened immune system due to a medical condition–your body is less able to fight off fungal infections.

There are many over-the-counter options available for the treatment of athlete’s foot. Sometimes people can be overwhelmed with choices. Let’s break this down and make your choices easier to understand.

Terbinafine (sold as Lamisil AT) or butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra) are often the best choices for athlete’s foot as they are the agents that work in the shortest duration. Both of these medications should be used twice daily, morning and bedtime, for a duration of one to two weeks.

Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF cream) and Miconazole (Lotrimin AF spray) are also very effective medications, but must be used twice daily for up to four weeks.

Treatment should be continued for one to two weeks after the skin looks healed if you are concerned about repeat infections.

A lot of patients will be tempted to use a topical steroid while treating athlete’s foot as steroids can be very helpful in reducing the itching associated with the condition. This is not the best scenario as topical steroids can reduce the effectiveness of antifungals when used in combination. The good news is, antifungals should help to improve the itching very quickly when used alone.

When applying antifungals make sure to extend the application one to two inches past the visible rash to insure complete fungal eradication. When given the choice, use creams or solutions for hairy areas instead of sprays and powders. Sprays and powders are meant more for prevention and not for actual treatment of athlete’s foot.

Hope this clears things up!




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