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Antifungal medications are effectively designed to kill or stop the growth of the fungus or yeast affecting your hair, nails, and skin. You can get an infection from fungal spores in spoiled food in your kitchen, pets, soil, moisture, poor hygiene, etc. These spores can cause respiratory infections, allergies, and other serious health issues if they enter the body. People with poor immunity are at a higher risk of contracting a fungal infection. Antifungals are also known as antimycotic agents from the scientific name of the fungal group “mycota”.
These medications come in different formulations, from oral to topical application.
- Fluconazole (Diflucan)
- Ketoconazole (Daktarin)
- Nystatin (Nystan)
- Terbinafine (Lamisil)
What conditions can be treated with Antifungal?
Antifungal medications can be used to treat a wide range of fungal infections, which typically fall under the following four categories based on the site of infection:
Superficial Infections are those that affect the outer surface of the skin, including:
- Black piedra
- White piedra
- Tinea nigra
- Pityriasis versicolor
Cutaneous infections are those that affect the first layer of skin:
- Athlete’s foot
- Jock itch
- Yeast infections
Subcutaneous infections affect the deeper layers of skin called dermis. For example:
- Sporotrichosis (rose gardener’s disease)
- Mycetoma (Madura foot)
Systemic fungal infections are invasive and can grow fungus inside the body, and immunocompromised patients are at a higher risk of contracting such infections as:
- Oral thrush
- Valley fever
- Fungal meningitis
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Aspergillosis (Affect lungs)
How do antifungals work?
Antifungal medications kill the fungus or halt its growth and multiplication. Different classes of antifungal medications serve different modes of action as follows:
- Azoles (Fluconazole): They are a synthetic class of antifungals that stop the growth of fungi.
- Polyenes (Nystatin): These antifungals occur naturally and work by attacking and destroying the fungus cell.
- Echinocandins (Micafungin): These are a semi-synthetic class of fungi that damage the cell walls of fungi.
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- Fungal Infection
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Hi Dr. Nicole, I’ve been experiencing itching and rashes on my feet. Can you help me treat my fungal infection?
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Apply topical hydrocortisone 1%.
- Apply on the affected area three times a day.
Side effects of antifungal
Antifungal medications help treat fungal infections from mild to moderate or chronic. These infections may have side effects varying from person to person as:
- Abdominal pain
- Itching or burning
- Rashes or redness
Rare side effects include:
- Liver damage or jaundice
- Severe allergic reactions causing blisters or skin peeling.
The severity and duration of side effects depend upon the patient’s immunity and the dosage sensitivity.
Who should not take antifungals?
Individuals dealing with the following conditions should not take antifungals without consultation from their doctors:
- Individuals with hepatic dysfunction, as antifungals can cause serious liver toxicity.
- Those with endocrine or fertility problems should especially avoid ketoconazole due to its effects on these processes.
- Pregnant or lactating individuals, the extent of antifungals transfer across the placenta or into breast milk is unclear (except for terbinafine, known to cross).
- Patients taking drugs that prolong QTc interval, such as combining voriconazole with such drugs, may worsen the condition and lead to ergotism if taken with ergot alkaloids.
- Patients with renal impairment should avoid antifungals like Flucytosine.
FAQs about antifungals
How long do antifungals take to work?
Antifungal treatment may take from a few weeks to months in complete recovery, depending upon the immunity of the person as well as the severity of the infection.
What antifungal cream is best for baby yeast infection?
For infant yeast infections, clotrimazole or nystatin is prescribed and is effective in speedy recovery. However, nystatin is a prescription-only drug, while clotrimazole is available both over-the-counter as well as upon prescription, depending upon the dosage.
How can I get antifungals without going to the doctor?
You can get OTC or prescription-only antifungals without going to the doctor’s office at Your Doctors Online. Our board-certified doctors are available 24/7 from the comfort of your home, and you can get a prescription delivered to your preferred pharmacy in less than an hour upon consultation.
What is the best antifungal cream for seborrheic dermatitis?
The most effective antifungal cream for seborrheic dermatitis is ketoconazole. You can get a prescription for ketoconazole from an online doctor within minutes.
What antifungal cream is best for angular cheilitis?
Angular cheilitis can be treated with topical antifungal medications like nystatin, econazole, or clotrimazole or a topical steroid and antifungal combination like iodoquinol and hydrocortisone.
Which antifungal is safe in pregnancy?
Antifungals that are safe during pregnancy include azoles and terbinafine in topical formulation and only in oral form. You can take these medicines upon consultation with a doctor during the first trimester.
How to overcome antifungal resistance?
Antifungal resistance can be overcome by completing the dosage course, taking appropriate strength doses, and avoiding certain medications that can interact with antifungals.
What antifungal cream is best for ringworm?
Ringworm can be treated effectively using clotrimazole cream, commonly under brand names like lotrimin and Mycelex.
How to apply antifungal cream?
Antifungal cream is applied in a 1cm strip on the affected area. Avoid applying cream on open wounds and near lips or eyes.
What is the best antifungal cream for jock itch?
Jock itch can persist for a long time, and therefore, effective topical antifungal creams include oxiconazole or econazole. These are available upon prescription from an online doctor.
What antifungal cream is best for an under-breast rash?
The best antifungal cream for under-the-breast rashes includes clotrimazole, nystatin, and miconazole. These creams can help reduce the redness and itching in the affected area.
Who shouldn’t take antifungal medications?
People who are suffering from liver or kidney diseases have immune disorders like HIV, lupus, and cancer, and those who are allergic to antifungals should not take these medications. Consult your doctor for better management of the condition.
What should I avoid with antifungal medications?
You should avoid drugs that interact with antifungal medications like anticonvulsants (phenytoin), anti-seizure (phenobarbital, carbamazepine), antibiotics (rifampicin, isoniazid), HIV medicines (ritonavir, efavirenz). These drugs can interact with antifungal medications like azoles and induce their metabolism, causing failure to treat fungal infections.
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