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Griseofulvin oral

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Other antifungals


Oral formulations containing griseofulvin

Drugs List

  • griseofulvin 125mg tablets
  • griseofulvin 500mg tablets
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Dermatophytosis unresponsive to topical therapy

    Treatment of fungal infections of skin, scalp, hair or nails where topical therapy is inappropriate or has been unsuccessful. Oral griseofulvin enables newly formed keratin of the skin, hair and nails to resist fungal infection. As the new keratin extends, the old infected keratin is shed.

    Griseofulvin is effective against the dermatophytes causing ringworm (tinea), including Microsporum canis and T. Verrucosum. It is not effective against infections caused by Candida albicans (monilia), Aspergilli, Malassezia furfur (Pityriasis versicolor) and Nocardia species.



    500mg to 1g daily (but not less than 10mg/kg bodyweight daily).

    A single daily dose is often sufficient, however divided doses may be more effective in patients who are less responsive to once daily dosing.


    10mg/kg bodyweight daily in divided doses.

    Additional Dosage Information

    Treatment duration
    Duration of treatment depends on the thickness of the keratin at the site of infection. Therapy should be continued for at least 2 weeks after all signs of infection are resolved.

    Fungal infections of the hair or skin require at least four weeks treatment.
    Fungal infections of the nails may need six to twelve months treatment.


    Acute porphyria
    Severe hepatic impairment
    Systemic lupus erythematosus

    Precautions and Warnings

    Not for prophylactic use
    Advise patient drowsiness may affect ability to drive or operate machinery
    Consult national/regional policy on the use of anti-infectives
    Monitor hepatic function in patients with hepatic impairment
    Advise patient that the effects of alcohol may be potentiated
    Female: Contraception required during and for 1 month after treatment
    Female: Oral contraception may not be adequate during treatment
    Male: Contraception required during and for 6 months after treatment

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Griseofulvin is contraindicated during pregnancy.

    Griseofulvin crosses the placenta at term and in animal studies it has demonstrated teratogenicity and at high doses, cancerogenicity (Schaefer, 2015).

    Although there have been some reports on the use of griseofulvin in pregnancy and its effect on foetal development, the data is limited and thus a conclusion regarding its safety in pregnancy has not yet been made (Briggs, 2015).

    As griseofulvin is not indicated for life threatening infections, its use during pregnancy should be avoided. If, however, griseofulvin is administered in the first trimester, an ultrasound is recommended to ensure normal foetal development (Schaefer, 20015)

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Griseofulvin is contraindicated during breastfeeding.

    It is not known if griseofulvin is excreted in human breast milk. Safety for the breast-feeding neonate has not been established. Briggs (2015) suggests griseofulvin is avoided during breastfeeding as there are safer alternatives available.

    When systemic antifungals are considered necessary during pregnancy, fluconazole should be used, if the sensitivity of the pathogen permits (Schaefer, 2015).

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at


    Griseofulvin may decrease the efficacy of oral contraceptives. Additional barrier methods of contraception should be adopted during treatment and for one month after treatment cessation.

    Side Effects

    Acute renal failure
    Altered liver function tests
    CNS effects
    Erythema multiforme
    Gastric discomfort
    Impaired co-ordination
    Irregular menstruation
    Peripheral neuropathy
    Sleep disturbances
    Systemic lupus erythematosus
    Toxic epidermal necrolysis


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: May 2017

    Reference Sources

    Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment, 3rd edition (2015) ed. Schaefer, C., Peters, P. and Miller, R. Elsevier, London.

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 10th edition (2015) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. Wolters Kluwer Health, Philadelphia.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Griseofulvin 125mg tablets. Essential Generics. Revised April 2015.
    Summary of Product Characteristics: Griseofulvin 500mg tablets. Essential Generics. Revised April 2015.

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