Lamisil (terbinafine) vs. Lotrimin (clotrimazole)

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Lamisil Cream vs. Lotrimin: What's the difference?

What is Lamisil cream? What is Lotrimin?

Lamisil Cream (terbinafine) is an antifungal agent applied to the skin prescribed for the treatment of fungal nails, jock itch, and athlete's foot. Lamisil Cream acts by interfering with the ability of fungi to make chemicals called sterols that are an important part of the membrane that surrounds fungal cells and holds them together. This weakens the cell membrane.

Lotrimin (clotrimazole) is an anti-fungal medication related to fluconazole (Diflucan), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), and miconazole (Micatin, Monistat). It prevents growth of several types of fungi by preventing interfering with the production of the membrane that surrounds fungal cells. It is used topically on the skin, inserted vaginally or allowed to dissolve in the mouth for local fungal infections due to Candida albicans, including vaginal yeast infections, oral thrush, tinea versicolor, tinea pedis ("athlete's foot"), tinea cruris ("jock itch") or tinea corporis.

What are the side effects of Lamisil and Lotrimin?

Lamisil

The most common side effects of terbinafine are:

Oral terbinafine can cause liver failure sometimes leading to liver transplantation or death.

Lotrimin

The most commonly noted side effects associated with clotrimazole include:

  • local redness,
  • stinging,
  • blistering,
  • peeling,
  • swelling,
  • itching,
  • hives, or
  • burning at the area of application.

Other side effects include nausea and vomiting, which may be caused by the oral forms.

What is the dosage of Lamisil vs. Lotrimin?

Lamisil

  • Tablets: The usual dose is 250 mg once daily for 6 weeks for treatment of the fingernails, and 12 weeks for treatment of toenails. Optimal results will not be seen for several months after treatment because it takes time for new healthy nails to grow. Terbinafine may be taken with or without food.
  • Cream, gel, spray, solution: Apply to affected area (s) once (jock itch, ringworm) or twice daily (athletes foot) for about for 1 week.

Lotrimin

  • The troche (lozenge) should slowly dissolve in the mouth. One troche is administered 5 times daily for 14 days. Clotrimazole cream, lotion, or solution is applied to the affected and surrounding skin areas, generally twice daily in the morning and evening.
  • The vaginal cream is inserted via applicator once daily, preferably at night, for 7 consecutive days.
  • The 100 mg vaginal suppository is inserted once daily, preferably at bedtime, for 7 consecutive days.
  • The 200 mg vaginal suppository is inserted once daily for 3 days, preferably at bedtime.

What drugs interact with Lamisil and Lotrimin?

Lamisil

Rifampin reduces oral terbinafine blood concentrations, potentially reducing the efficacy of terbinafine. Cimetidine (Tagamet) may increase oral terbinafine blood levels, potentially increasing side effects of terbinafine. Fluconazole (Diflucan) increases the blood levels of oral terbinafine by 52%-69%. Potentially leading to increased side effects.

Lotrimin

No information provided

Are Lamisil and Lotrimin safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Lamisil

There are no adequate studies in pregnant women. Since nail fungus treatment can be delayed until after pregnancy there is no reason to use oral terbinafine during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding mothers should not use oral terbinafine because terbinafine passes into breast milk.

Lotrimin

Clotrimazole is very poorly absorbed into the blood and the body after application to the skin or the vagina. Studies in women in their second or third trimesters of pregnancy have demonstrated no ill effects. No data is available in pregnant women during their first trimester. Rats given large amounts of clotrimazole via the vagina have demonstrated no ill effects. The oral troche has not been adequately evaluated in pregnant women.

It is not known if clotrimazole is secreted in breast milk.

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Summary

Lamisil Cream (terbinafine) and Lotrimin (clotrimazole) are antifungal agents applied to the skin used to treat fungal nails, jock itch, and athlete's foot. Other forms of Lotrimin are also used to treat vaginal yeast infections, oral thrush, tinea versicolor, or tinea corporis.

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Medically Reviewed on 6/10/2019
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