What Is Lamisil?
Lamisil is the brand name of a fungus-killing antibiotic drug named terbinafine. Terbinafine may be prescribed for a number of conditions caused by fungal infections, especially those located in the fingernails, toenails, skin, or hair.
It may be given if you have athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch, onychomycosis (a fungal nail infection), or other topical fungal infections. The drug kills fungal cells by preventing them from repairing their cell membranes, causing them to burst apart. Terbinafine only works against fungal infections and is not an appropriate treatment for infection by bacteria or viruses.
Important Information About Lamisil
Because terbinafine can collect in the skin and fatty tissues, it can last in the body for a long time, and it’s important to talk to your doctor about other drugs you are taking or other medical conditions you may have, either of which can affect the usefulness of terbinafine or cause more serious side effects than usual.
Some drugs that can cause problems include ulcer medications, other antifungal medicines, immunosuppressants, blood thinners, anti-depressants, and treatments for heart arrhythmia including beta-blockers. While these can cause some of the most common drug interactions, the only way to be completely safe is to be sure to inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking.
While taking terbinafine, you should not consume caffeinated beverages or take caffeine pills, as the drug may cause caffeine to remain in your system for longer than it normally would. The medication can also cause sensitivity to sunlight, so avoid being outside without protective clothing or sunscreen as much as possible.
Medical conditions that may preclude you from taking terbinafine include liver and kidney disease (which can prevent you from clearing the drug quickly enough from your body) and autoimmune disorders (as terbinafine may have a detrimental effect on your white blood cell count). Terbinafine may also worsen existing medical conditions to cause liver damage and even death – studies have not clearly shown whether the terbinafine was the causative factor, but if you have pre-existing conditions your doctor may want to play it safe by avoiding giving you this medication.
To make sure that your liver is still functioning properly, you may need to visit the lab periodically during your treatment to check your blood for signs of liver failure. Finally, if you have a drug allergy to terbinafine, this medication is not safe for you to use, as it can put you at risk of anaphylaxis.
Studies so far show that terbinafine is most likely safe for use in pregnant women, as it does not appear to cause any problems for the baby. It can, however, get into the body of a breastfeeding infant via breast milk, and in this case it may be harmful. If you plan to nurse your baby while taking this treatment, discuss it with your doctor first.
Lamisil Side Effects
Many of the side effects of taking terbinafine are fairly mild. You may find yourself experiencing some mild gastrointestinal distress (nausea, gas, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort), dizziness or mild headaches, itching, or a foul taste in your mouth. None of these are cause for concern unless you feel they are disrupting your life to an unpleasant extent.
Some side effects of this medication are more serious and are cause to call your doctor’s office as soon as you can. Alert your care provider if you experience pain in your joints or swollen glands; fever, chills, and other such flu-like symptoms; mood swings or depression; hearing or weight loss; or the onset of psoriasis (raised red skin with lighter flakes on top).
A very important set of symptoms to look for are those associated with liver damage and failure. If you notice that you have begun to develop jaundice, nausea, abdominal pain, dehydrated urine, or grayish bowel movements, contact your doctor at once.
How to Take Lamisil
As with all prescription medications, it’s important to take terbinafine exactly as your doctor instructs you to. If you accidentally take more than a normal dose of terbinafine, call emergency medical services or a Poison Control Center for help – you may have overdosed if you find yourself experiencing nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting, if you become dizzy, or if you find your need to urinate has increased to an abnormal frequency or volume. If you mistakenly skip a dose of terbinafine, take it when you remember, unless you are almost ready to take the next dose, and never make up for a skipped dose by using more than the normal amount of the drug.
Terbinafine pills should be taken with a full eight ounces of water, and the granules should be mixed into a non-acidic food (potatoes, oatmeal, yogurt) during a meal. (Don’t mix with anything that contains a great deal of acid, as this can interfere with the drug’s efficacy.) You may need to take terbinafine for as long as four months – do not stop taking the drug before told to by your doctor, even if your symptoms clear up, as the infection may not be completely cleared yet.