Terbinafine (By mouth)


Terbinafine (TER-bin-a-feen)

Treats fungal infections of the scalp, toenails, or fingernails.

Brand Name(s)

Lamisil, Terbinex

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine

Packet, Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • 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.
  • Take all of the medicine in your prescription to clear up your infection, even if you feel better after the first few doses.
  • 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.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take 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  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.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 out of the reach of children. 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. Wear sunscreen. Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds. Tell your doctor right away if you have a red, scaly skin rash.
  • This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Avoid people who are ill, and wash your hands often. Brush and floss your teeth gently, do not play rough sports, and be careful with sharp objects.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse. You may need to take this medicine for several weeks or months before your infection gets better.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. 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
  • Headache
  • 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

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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