Medically Reviewed on 1/19/2023

Generic Name: tolnaftate

Brand Names: Tinactin, Aftate, Barielle Fungus Rx, Breezee Mist Antifungal Foot Powder, Lamisil AF Defense, Absorbine, Ting Antifungal

Drug Class: Antifungals, Topical

What is tolnaftate, and what is it used for?

Tolnaftate is an antifungal medication used topically to prevent and treat superficial fungal infections of the skin, such as athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm infections.

Tolnaftate is effective for skin cracking, itching, and burning caused by fungal infections. Tolnaftate is available over the counter (OTC) as creams, solutions, aerosols, and aerosol powders.

Tolnaftate works by preventing fungal growth and killing the fungus. Tolnaftate inhibits squalene epoxidase, an enzyme required for the biosynthesis of ergosterol, an essential component of the fungal cell wall. This results in the weakening of the cell wall, leakage of cell contents, and death of the fungus. Tolnaftate also distorts the branching filaments (hyphae) of the fungus which stunts the growth of the filaments that can spread and form a network (mycelium).

The uses of tolnaftate include:


  • Do not use tolnaftate if you are hypersensitive to any of the components in the formulation.
  • Do not use tolnaftate on children under 2 years of age without prescription and supervision by a physician.
  • Apply on dry and clean skin. Avoid contact with eyes.
  • Discontinue tolnaftate if you develop irritation or sensitivity.
  • Discontinue use and contact your physician if there is no improvement in your:
    • Athlete’s foot or ringworm within 4 weeks
    • Jock itch within 2 weeks

What are the side effects of tolnaftate?

Common side effects of tolnaftate include:

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:

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 tolnaftate?

Aerosol, Aerosol Powder, Cream, Solution

  • 1%

Adult and Pediatric:

Superficial Fungal Infections

Children below 2 years:

  • Do not use unless directed and supervised by a physician

Adults and children 2 years and above

  • Apply to affected area twice daily
  • May treat for 2-3 weeks but 4-6 weeks of therapy may be needed if skin is hyperkeratotic

Other Indications and Uses


  • Topical application of tolnaftate is unlikely to cause sufficient systemic absorption to result in overdose.
  • Excessive topical use may cause skin irritation, however, oral ingestion is likely harmful.
  • Overdose may be treated with symptomatic and supportive care.

What drugs interact with tolnaftate?

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.

  • Tolnaftate has no listed severe, serious, moderate, or mild interactions with other 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 about 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 healthcare provider if you have any questions about the medication.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

  • There is no information on the safety of tolnaftate use during pregnancy. Use with caution if clearly needed and maternal benefits outweigh fetal risks.
  • It is not known if tolnaftate passes into breastmilk. Check with your physician before using. Avoid applying on the breast region.
  • Do not use any OTC drug, including tolnaftate, without first checking with your physician, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What else should I know about tolnaftate?

  • Use tolnaftate exactly as prescribed or as per label instructions.
  • Tolnaftate is for external use only.
  • Store safely out of reach of children.
  • In case of ingestion or overdose, seek medical help or contact Poison Control.


Tolnaftate is an antifungal medication available over the counter (OTC) as creams, solutions, aerosols, and aerosol powders used topically to prevent and treat superficial fungal infections of the skin, such as athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm infections. Common side effects of tolnaftate include local irritation, stinging of skin, itching (pruritus), contact dermatitis, and sensitization. Consult your doctor before taking if pregnant or breastfeeding.

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Medically Reviewed on 1/19/2023