Terbinafine tablets

Terbinafine is to treat fungal nail or skin infections.

Take one tablet a day.

The most common side-effects are indigestion, feeling sick, diarrhoea, and aches and pains. These are usually mild and don't last long.

Type of medicine Antifungal
Used for Fungal infections
Also called Lamisil®
Available as Tablets

Terbinafine is used to treat fungal infections in adults. It is commonly prescribed for fungal nail infections, and is sometimes prescribed for fungal skin infections. It works by killing the fungus causing the infection.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking terbinafine it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have liver or kidney problems.
  • If you have psoriasis (a skin condition).
  • If you have been told you have an autoimmune disorder. 
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of terbinafine you have been given, and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Take the tablets exactly as your doctor has told you. It is usual to take 250 mg (one tablet) a day. Your dose will also be on the label of the pack to remind you. You can take the tablets before, during or after your meals.
  • Keep taking the tablets every day until the course is finished; otherwise, your infection may come back. A course of treatment may last from 2 weeks to 6 months depending upon where your infection is.
  • Try to take the tablets at the same time of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take them. If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with terbinafine. This is because terbinafine may interfere with some medicines.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common side-effects - these affect around 1 in 10 people who take this medicine What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sick, indigestion, feeling bloated, stomach ache Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals
Diarrhoea Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids
Headache, joint and muscle aches and pains Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Loss of appetite, skin rashes and itching If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor

Important: if you develop a blistering skin rash, or jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes), you should speak with your doctor straightaway. These are rare but possibly serious side-effects of terbinafine.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to these tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • Manufacturer's PIL, LamisilĀ® Tablets 250 mg; Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated March 2012.
  • British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Hannah Gronow
Last Checked:
23/10/2012
Document ID:
3436 (v23)
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