- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: griseofulvin
Drug Class: Antifungals, Systemic
What is griseofulvin, and what is it used for?
Griseofulvin is an antibiotic derived from Penicillium species of fungi used to treat ringworm infections caused by specific fungi species. Griseofulvin is a systemic drug used only to treat fungal infections that are refractory to topical antifungal treatments and not for minor infections.
The type of fungi responsible for the infections should be first identified before starting griseofulvin therapy. Griseofulvin is effective for infections from various species of Microsporum, Epidermophyton and Trichophyton, but has no effect on bacteria or other genera of fungi.
Griseofulvin prevents fungal growth by inhibiting fungal DNA synthesis and cell division. Oral griseofulvin is absorbed systemically and is deposited in keratin, a type of protein in epithelial cells that line the outer surface of the body and the surfaces of inner organs. Keratin is found in skin, nail, hair, and hair follicles. Griseofulvin binds with new keratin that forms in the epithelial cells making it highly resistant to fungal growth. The fungal infection clears as the old infected cells are shed and the resistant cells form the new skin layer.
Griseofulvin is used in the treatment of the following fungal infections:
- Skin (tinea barbae)
- Scalp (tinea capitis)
- Jock itch (tinea cruris)
- Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis)
- Nails (tinea unguium/onychomycosis)
- Hands (tinea manuum), off-label
Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton tonsurans, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Trichophyton interdigitalis,Trichophyton verrucosum, Trichophyton megnini, Trichophyton gallinae, Trichophyton crateriform, Trichophyton sulphureum, Trichophyton schoenleini, Microsporum audouini, Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum and Epidermophyton floccosum.
- Do not use griseofulvin in the following conditions:
- Do not use griseofulvin for prevention of fungal infections.
- Griseofulvin can cause severe life-threatening skin reactions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Discontinue the drug if the patient develops severe skin reactions.
- Griseofulvin can be toxic to the liver. Monitor patient’s liver function and discontinue if they develop jaundice or elevated liver enzymes.
- Monitor patient’s liver and kidney functions and complete blood count periodically in case of prolonged griseofulvin therapy.
- There is a possibility of cross-sensitivity with penicillin because griseofulvin is derived from Penicillium, however, penicillin-sensitive patients have been treated successfully. Exercise caution.
- Development of lupus erythematosus, lupus-like syndromes or exacerbation of existing lupus erythematosus has been reported.
What are the side effects of griseofulvin?
Common side effects of griseofulvin include:
- Skin hypersensitivity reactions such as:
- Oral thrush (candidiasis)
- Epigastric distress
- Mental confusion
Less common side effects of griseofulvin include:
- Impaired coordination
- Peripheral nerve disease (neuropathy)
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Taste sensation changes
Rare side effects of griseofulvin usually with high doses, long treatment duration or both:
- Kidney disorder (nephrosis)
- Excessive protein in the urine (proteinuria)
- Liver toxicity
- Increase in serum bilirubin
- Increase in liver enzymes (transaminases)
- Reduced count of granulocyte immune cells in blood (granulocytopenia)
- Reduced leukocyte immune cells in blood (leukopenia)
- Low red blood cell count (anemia)
- Numbness and tingling (paresthesia) of hands and feet
- Swelling of tissue under the skin and mucous membranes (angioneurotic edema)
- Drug-induced lupus-like syndrome
- Severe skin reactions including:
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome
- Toxic epidermal necrosis
- Menstrual irregularities
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:
- Serious heart symptoms include fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness;
- Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady;
- Severe nervous system reaction with very stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, and feeling like you might pass out; or
- Serious eye symptoms include blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights.
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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What are the dosages of griseofulvin?
Oral suspension, microsize
- 125 mg/5 ml
- 500 mg (Grifulvin V)
- 125 mg (Gris-PEG)
- 250 mg (Gris-PEG)
Infections affecting skin, body, hair/beard, or nails
- Tinea corporis, cruris, or capitis: 500 mg/day orally
- Tinea pedis or unguium: 1000 mg/day orally as a single daily dose or divided every 12 hours
- Tinea corporis, cruris, or capitis: 375 mg/day orally
- Tinea pedis or unguium: 250 mg orally every 8 hours
- Children under 2 years old: safety and efficacy not established
- 11 mg/kg/day orally as a single dose or divided every 12 hours
- Children 13.6-22.7 kg (30-50 lb): 125-250 mg/day
- Children over 22.7 kg (over 50 lb): 250-500 mg/day
- Off-label: 10-20 mg/kg/day divided every 12 hours
- 7.3 mg/kg/day orally
- Children 13.6-22.7 kg (3-50 lb): 82.5-165 mg/day
- Children over 22.7 kg (over 50 lb): 135-330 mg/day
- Off-label: 5-15 mg/kg/day orally divided every 12 hours; not to exceed 750 mg/day
- Dependent on infection site
- Tinea corporis: 2-4 weeks
- Tinea capitalize: 4-6 weeks; maybe up to 8-12 weeks
- Tinea pedis: 4-8 weeks
- Tinea unguium: 4-6 months
- Absorption increased with fatty meals
IMAGESBrowse our medical image collection of allergic skin disorders such as psoriasis and dermatitis and more caused by allergies See Images
- There are no known reports of griseofulvin overdose. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, headache, skin eruptions, numbness and tingling, vertigo and confusion.
- There is no specific antidote for griseofulvin and overdose is treated with symptomatic and supportive care. Undigested drug in the stomach may be eliminated with induced vomiting or gastric lavage and activated charcoal administration.
What drugs interact with griseofulvin?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Griseofulvin has no known severe interactions with other drugs.
- Griseofulvin has serious interactions with 23 different drugs.
- Griseofulvin has moderate interactions with 112 different drugs.
- Griseofulvin has minor interactions with 61 different drugs.
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Do not use griseofulvin during pregnancy. Animal studies show evidence of fetal harm with griseofulvin use during pregnancy. There are reports of conjoined twins in two pregnant women who took griseofulvin in the first trimester of pregnancy.
- Women of pregnancy potential must use effective contraception during griseofulvin therapy and for at least a month after completion of treatment.
- Animal studies show griseofulvin can cause chromosomal aberrations in males. Men should practice effective contraception during therapy and for 6 months after completion of treatment.
- It is not known if griseofulvin is excreted in breast milk. Avoid use in nursing mothers.
What else should I know about griseofulvin?
- Take griseofulvin exactly as prescribed. Take with a fatty meal to improve drug absorption and prevent gastrointestinal upset.
- Check with your healthcare provider for periodic tests if you are on prolonged therapy.
- Avoid exposure to intense sunlight while on griseofulvin therapy, it may cause photosensitive reactions.
- Avoid drinking alcohol while on griseofulvin therapy, it may potentiate alcohol effects, causing symptoms such as rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) and flushing.
- Store griseofulvin carefully out of reach of children.
- In case of accidental overdose, seek medical help immediately or contact Poison Control.
Skin Problems and Treatments Resources
Griseofulvin is an antibiotic derived from Penicillium species of fungi used to treat ringworm infections caused by specific fungi species. Griseofulvin is used to treat fungal infections such as skin (tinea barbae), scalp (tinea capitis), jock itch (tinea cruris), athlete’s foot (tinea pedis), nails (tinea unguium/onychomycosis), and hands (tinea manuum). Common side effects of griseofulvin include rash, hives (urticaria), erythema multiforme-like red, raised lesions; light sensitivity (photosensitivity), oral thrush (candidiasis), nausea, vomiting, and others. Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding.
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Jock itch is an itchy red rash that appears in the groin area. The rash may be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. People with diabetes and those who are obese are more susceptible to developing jock itch. Antifungal shampoos, creams, and pills may be needed to treat fungal jock itch. Bacterial jock itch may be treated with antibacterial soaps and topical and oral antibiotics.
The term "ringworm" refers to a fungal infection on the surface of the skin. A physical examination of the affected skin, evaluation of skin scrapings under the microscope, and culture tests can help doctors make the appropriate distinctions. A proper diagnosis is essential to successful treatment. The different types of ringworm include the following: tinea barbae, tinea capitis, tinea corporis, tinea cruris, tinea faciei, tinea manus, tinea pedis, and tinea unguium.
What Are the 4 Types of Fungal Infection?
The 4 most common types of fungal infections include athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch, and genital candidiasis.
Is Ringworm Contagious?
A fungus causes ringworm. Ringworm can be transmitted from person to person. Animals may also spread ringworm. Ringworm causes an itchy, ring-shaped red rash with hair loss. Treatment incorporates the use of topical medication.
Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a skin infection caused by the ringworm fungus. Symptoms include itching, burning, cracking, peeling, and bleeding feet. Treatment involves keeping the feet dry and clean, wearing shoes that can breathe, and using medicated powders to keep your feet dry.
Fungal nails (onychomycosis) may be caused by many species of fungi, but the most common is Trichophyton rubrum. Distal subungal onychomycosis starts as a discolored area at the nail's corner and slowly spread toward the cuticle. In proximal subungal onychomycosis, the infection starts at the cuticle and spreads toward the nail tip. Yeast onychomycosis is caused by Candida and may be the most common cause of fungal fingernail.
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The main cause of fungal infections are the result of compromised immunity (either local immunity over skin or systemic immunity in certain conditions).
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Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is caused by a variety of fungi belonging to a group of fungi called dermatophytes, which also causes ringworm and jock itch. Rarely, an athlete’s foot may be caused by nondermatophytes infection, such as yeast (candida). Athlete's foot usually begins between the toes, presenting with a scaly rash associated with itching, stinging, and burning.
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How Long Does It Take for Athlete’s Foot to Go Away?
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Fungal meningitis is a rare disease that is not contagious. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment involves administering high doses of antifungal medications.
Will Jock Itch Go Away on Its Own?
Although jock itch is a curable condition, it does not go away on its own and can lead to complications if left untreated.
Is Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris) Contagious?
Jock itch is a fungal infection in the groin area that causes a raised, itchy, red rash. Jock itch can typically be treated with antifungal medications. People may need to seek medical care for jock itch if the groin area becomes swollen, tender, if red streaks appear, or if the lymph nodes become swollen.
Ringworm vs. Eczema
While ringworm is a fungal infection, and eczema is a skin condition, both are characterized by itchiness. Eczema patches are leathery while ringworm involves ring formation on the skin. Over-the-counter antifungals treat ringworm. Topical creams and ointments treat eczema.
Are Ringworm and Candida the same?
Ringworm and Candida are not the same. While they are both fungal infections, they are caused by different types of fungi, and affect different parts of the body.
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How to Get Rid of Ringworm?
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Nummular Eczema vs. Ringworm: Differences
Nummular eczema is also known as discoid eczema or nummular dermatitis. Ringworm is a common skin infection also known as dermatophytosis, dermatophyte infection, or tinea corporis.
What Causes Ringworm?
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