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Terbinafine oral

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Other antifungals


Tablets containing terbinafine as terbinafine hydrochloride.

Drugs List

  • LAMISIL 250mg tablets
  • terbinafine 250mg tablets
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Dermatophyte infection of the skin and nails: treatment
    Ringworm (tinea cruris, tinea corporis, and tinea pedis): treatment

    Treatment of fungal infections of the skin and nails caused by Trichophyton (e.g. T. rubrum, T. mentagrophytes, T. verrucosum, T. violaceum), Microsporum canis or Epidermophyton floccosum dermatophytes.

    Treatment of ringworm (tinea cruris, tinea corporis and tinea pedis) where oral therapy is considered appropriate due to site, severity or extent of the infection.

    Treatment of onychomycosis.


    Duration of treatment varies according to the indication and the severity of the infection.

    Likely duration of treatment for skin infections
    Tinea pedis - 2 to 6 weeks
    Tinea cruris - 2 to 4 weeks
    Tinea corporis - 4 weeks
    Tinea capitis - 4 weeks

    Likely duration of treatment for Onychomycosis
    The duration of treatment for most patients is between 6 weeks and 3 months. For fingernail infections, toenail infections (except the big toe) and younger aged patients, treatment periods of less than 3 months can be anticipated. For toenail infection, 3 months is usually sufficient although longer therapy duration of up to 6 months may be required. Poor nail outgrowth in the first weeks of treatment may indicate those patients requiring longer treatment.

    Complete resolution of the signs and symptoms of infection may not occur until several weeks after mycological cure.


    250mg once a day.


    Children aged 1 to 18 years (unlicensed)
    Bodyweight 40kg or more
    250mg once a day.

    Bodyweight 20kg to 40kg
    125mg once a day.

    Bodyweight 10kg to 20kg
    62.5mg once a day.

    Patients with Renal Impairment

    The manufacturer does not recommend use of terbinafine in patients with renal impairment.

    Some sources recommend the following dose when no suitable alternative is available:
    Renal impairment - glomerular filtration rate (GFR) below 50 ml/minute
    Half normal dose

    The Renal Drug Handbook suggests the following dosage guidelines for patients with renal impairment:
    Renal impairment - glomerular filtration rate (GFR) below 50 ml/minute
    Take 250mg daily on alternate days

    Terbinafine is hepatically metabolised into two major metabolites, 80% of which are renally excreted. Little information is available regarding the handling of terbinafine in renal failure but clearance is reduced by 50% in patients with GFR below 50 ml/minute.


    Children under 1 year
    Hepatic impairment

    Precautions and Warnings

    Autoimmune disease
    Children aged 1 to 18 years
    Renal impairment - glomerular filtration rate below 50ml/minute

    Advise ability to drive/operate machinery may be affected by side effects
    Consult national/regional policy on the use of anti-infectives
    Monitor hepatic function before treatment and regularly during treatment
    Monitor for signs of blood dyscrasias eg fever, sore throat, malaise etc
    Advise patients to report signs of hepatic damage (malaise, jaundice etc.)
    May exacerbate psoriasis
    Discontinue if blood dyscrasia develops
    Discontinue if jaundice or other evidence of hepatic impairment occurs
    Discontinue if liver function tests become abnormal
    Discontinue treatment if progressive skin rash occurs

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Use terbinafine with caution during pregnancy.

    The manufacturer advises that unless the potential benefits outweigh any potential risks, terbinafine should not be administered during pregnancy. Schaefer notes that due to the lack of data on pregnancy outcome, and given that nail mycosis is not a condition requiring urgent treatment, terbinafine should not be used during pregnancy, but inadvertent exposure does not require termination of pregnancy. Consider detailed foetal ultrasonography after first trimester exposure.

    At the time of writing, there is little clinical experience with terbinafine in pregnant women, although data collected so far appear to suggest no increased risk for major malformations. Foetal toxicity and fertility studies in animals do not suggest any adverse effects. No evidence of impaired fertility or foetal harm was seen in pregnant rats and rabbits with oral doses up to 12 and 9 times the maximum recommended human dose respectively. The molecular weight is low enough that transfer to the embryo should be expected, but no studies evaluating the placental transfer of terbinafine in humans have been located.

    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 ( ).


    Terbinafine is contraindicated in breastfeeding.

    The manufacturer advises that mothers should not receive this treatment whilst breastfeeding. Briggs suggests due to the prolonged nature of the therapy, the potential for serious toxicity in a nursing infant may be increased.

    Terbinafine is excreted in breast milk with a milk:plasma ratio of 7:1 and the effect of this exposure on a nursing infant is unknown.

    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


    Advise patients, tablets should preferably be taken at the same time each day and can be taken on an empty stomach or after a meal.

    Advise patients to report any signs or symptoms of unexplained persistent nausea, decreased appetite, fatigue, vomiting, right upper abdominal pain, or jaundice, dark urine or pale faeces.

    Side Effects

    Abdominal distension
    Abdominal pain
    Acute generalised exanthematous pustulosis
    Allergic skin reactions
    Anaphylactic reaction
    Anaphylactoid reaction
    Angioneurotic oedema
    Creatine phosphokinase increased
    Cutaneous lupus erythematosus
    Decreased appetite
    Erythema multiforme
    Exacerbation of psoriasis
    Gastro-intestinal symptoms
    Haematological disorders
    Hearing disturbances
    Hepatic failure
    Hepatic impairment
    Hypersensitivity reactions
    Increases in hepatic enzymes
    Influenza-like symptoms
    Psychiatric disorders
    Sensation of fullness
    Serum sickness
    Smelling disturbances
    Stevens-Johnson syndrome
    Systemic lupus erythematosus
    Taste disturbances
    Taste loss
    Toxic epidermal necrolysis
    Weight loss


    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: November 2013

    Reference Sources

    Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment, 2nd edition (2007) ed. Schaefer, C., Peters, P. and Miller, R. Elsevier, London.

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 9th edition (2011) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. and Yaffe, S. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Lamisil 250 mg tablets. Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd. Revised January 2017.
    Summary of Product Characteristics: Terbinafine 250 mg tablets. Kent Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd. Revised March 2016.
    Summary of Product Characteristics: Terbinafine 250 mg tablets. Dr Reddy's laboratory UK Ltd. Revised March 2017.
    Summary of Product Characteristics: Terbinafine 250 mg tablets. Aurobindo pharma. Revised November 2017
    Summary of Product Characteristics: Terbinafine 250 mg tablets. Accord UK Ltd. August 2016.

    The Renal Drug Handbook. 3rd edition. (2009) ed. Ashley, C and Currie, Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, Abingdon.

    NICE Evidence Services Available at: Last accessed: 04 September 2017

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