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Antifungal Medicines

Fungal infections could include conditions like athletes foot, jock itch, candidiasis and ringworm. Based on the infection, these drugs are available as over-the-counter or prescription medicines. Most fungal infections are minor and not life-threatening.


Systemic Fungal infection – deep infection

  • Systemic antifungal drugs are medicines that are taken orally or by injection.
  • Infections that occur inside the body or those that do not clear up after treatment with ointment need to be treated with systemic antifungal drugs.
  • These drugs are used to treat fungal infections like candidiasis, blastomycosis, aspergillosis and histoplasmosis.
  • Common list of systemic drugs include Fluconazole (Diflucan), Miconazole (Monistat I.V.) and Ketoconazole (Nizoral).

Topical (Dermatophytic) – superficial infections occurring on the skin


  • Topical antifungal drugs are be applied externally to the skin to treat skin infections caused by a fungus.
  • Creams and liquids are generally the most effective method for treating fungal infections on the skin. They can get into the cracks and crevices where fungi grow.
  • Powders absorb moisture and are good to use in moist areas of the body.
  • Common list of topical drugs include Ciclopirox, Clotrimazole, Econazole, Miconazole and Terconazole. Dosage of antifungal drugs depends on the intensity of the infection and the drug.

Fungal infections might take time to clear up hence take the medicines for the period as prescribed by the doctor. Continue the course of medication even though the symptoms may subside or even disappear. Pregnant women/lactating mothers need to check with the doctor before use of any medicines. Anti fungal medications are also classified based on the chemical structure, pharmacokinetics, tolerability, spectrum of activity, etc.


Allylamines: Group of synthetic antifungal drugs that are used locally and systemically.

Imidazole derivates: Most of the drugs are used in treatment of local or external infections and rarely used for systemic treatments.

Polyene antibiotics: Mostly used for topical treatment, as absorption of the drug is low, it is not used for systemic treatment

Triazole: proven to be more effective and safe during treatment.

Fungal nail infection

Fungal nail infections are most often noticed on toenails and are accompanied by fungal feet infection. Nails can be infected by fungi due to nail injury, nail disease, over-exposure to dampness, closed footwear for long periods and infection from shower rooms, swimming pools or manicure/pedicure salons. Persons who sweat profusely or work in humid moist conditions are more susceptible to nail fungal infections. It is also more common in those suffering diabetes, AIDS or circulation problems.


In most cases, the fungal infection of the nail is due to Trichophyton rubrum. Common mold causes include Neoscytalidium, Scopulariopsis, and Aspergillus. Infected nails appear brittle and lose luster. They might be discolored yellow. The nails might change in shape and loosen out of the bed. Nail fungal infections are treated with Fluconazole griseofulvin, terbinafine or itraconazole. Creams and ointments might be prescribed too. Those suffering fungal infection of the nail must maintain good foot hygiene and wear well-fitting footwear.


Sinusitis

When your sinuses (air chambers in the bone behind your cheeks, eyebrows and jaw) are inflamed or infected, it leads to sinusitis. The different sinus areas are:


Frontal sinus – on the brow area
Maxillary sinuses – inside each cheekbone
Ethmoid sinuses – behind the nose bridge and between the eyes
Sphenoid sinuses – behind the ethmoids in the upper region of the nose


When the sinuses are blocked, the mucus is not sufficiently drained thereby leading to sinusitis. Sinusitis occurs when trapped air lays pressure and causes pain in the sinus regions. Typically, sinusitis follows a cold or respiratory ailment. The increased mucus and fungal production leads to inflammation in the nasal passage. Often a structural defect in the nasal cavity or weakened immune system can be the cause for a sinus attack. Allergic rhinitis can bring on an attack of sinusitis. The symptoms and pain associated with sinusitis depend on the affected sinus. Damp weather, environmental pollutants and asthma often lead to sinus attacks. This inflammation is usually the result of a viral infection, an allergy (pollen, dust, pet dander, molds, and food), or an environmental irritant such as air pollution, perfume or cigarette smoke. Persons suffering from chronic inflammation of the nasal passages have an increased risk of suffering sinusitis. Swimming, diving, nasal polyps, smoking or alcohol consumption can lead to blocked sinuses. Air travel is yet another possible trigger.


Acute sinus infection lasts for about a fortnight whereas chronic sinus infection festers longer, for months or years. Most affected persons tend to suffer from acute sinus infection. Typical symptoms of sinus infection:


  • Pain over frontal sinuses
  • Headache
  • Swelling of eyelids or tissues around the eyes
  • Earache
  • Neck pain
  • Stuffy nose
  • Facial tenderness
  • Bad breath
  • Ache in the upper teeth
  • Nasal congestion

Blood tests and cultures aid in diagnosing and detecting bacterial or fungal infections. Acute sinusitis is treated with antibiotics to control the bacterial infection. Decongestants and painkillers can provide relief to those suffering from sinus infection. On the other hand, chronic sinusitis may need to be treated with steroid nasal sprays. But prolonged use of such products are not without side-effects. Allergies and infections that contribute to the sinus infection must be appropriately treated. Children suffering from chronic sinus infection are treated with removal of adenoids. Functional endoscopic sinus surgery is performed on severe cases of chronic sinusitis where the natural openings of the sinuses are dilated to allow drainage of accumulated mucus.


Home remedies for treating sinus infections
1. Steam inhalation
2. Gentle warm compress on painful area
3. Use of electrostatic filters attached to heating and air conditioning equipment
4. Saline nasal spray
5. Rest with your head elevated to help drain your sinuses
6. Drink plenty of fluids and warm liquids in order to thin mucus

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Bibliography / Reference

Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: July 22, 2019