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antifungal medications

What are Antifungal Medications and What are They for ?

Antifungal medications contain substances that have the ability to inhibit and destroy fungi that cause fungal infections. It is essential to use them under medical supervision to reduce the risk of side effects.
There are many people who still do not know the importance of antifungal medications. Despite this, its use has spread in recent years , since they represent the best solution against some of the most common infections: those caused by fungi.Currently they can be purchased in different formulas and presentations, depending on the type of problem for which they should be applied. Although they are found in over-the-counter products, there is also a certain variety that should only be administered under medical supervision.

How are they classified? What are they for and how long are they used? Many have not yet resolved these questions. Understanding that it is very important to know them, next we want to share in detail their operation and some of the most important varieties.

What are antifungal medications?

Antifungal medications are those whose composition contains specific substances to inhibit and eliminate the growth of fungi that cause infections. They are also known as antifungals and are key to the treatment of many common conditions.

It is important to consider that not all types of fungi are bad for the organism. In fact, the activity of some can be beneficial. The problem is that several antifungal treatments are aggressive and can also affect these microorganisms.

However, several alternatives have improved their formulas and nowadays many of their side effects have been reduced. In spite of this, its use should be moderate and sporadic, since, although they manage to alleviate the symptoms, they are counterproductive if they are used in excess.

How do antifungal medications work?

The main objective of antifungal medications is to destroy or stop the infections that are produced by the proliferation of fungi. Once applied, these drugs have the function of repairing those areas that were attacked by each of the different types of fungi.

Its components support the process of cellular regeneration of the organism and, in this way, diminish the symptoms linked to the infection. Depending on the medication that is required, the action process will be different.

For example, when  clotrimazole, one of the antifungal varieties , is prescribed , the components directly attack the source of infection . Its use causes small pores to form in the fungal cells.

Another  prominent antifungal medicine is what is known as flucytosine . This is used for more severe and systemic infections. Its goal is to prevent the fungal cells from continuing to grow or multiply.

What are antifungal medications for?

Most antifungal medications are used to relieve fungal infections of the skin. However, there are also some varieties that are used orally or intravenously to combat more serious problems such as systemic infections. Below we review in detail its main presentations and the diseases that are usually fought with each of them.

Topical antifungals

They are mostly used to treat fungal infections of the skin such as ringworm, athlete’s foot or growth of fungus on the scalp . However, they can also be used for vaginal candidiasis , that is, infection of the vagina caused by Candida Albicans . These types of antifungal medications include:

  • Clotrimazole
  • Econazole
  • Miconazole
  • Bifonazole
  • Terbinafine

This type of antifungal usually does not cause side effects. Despite this, they should be discontinued in case of allergic reactions such as redness, itching or irritation.

Oral antifungals

They are used to treat the most severe cases of skin infections  caused by fungi. Some examples of this type of antifungals is fluconazole, which is used to treat vaginal candidiasis , and ketoconazole, used for fungal infections of the nails and skin.

Its possible side effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mild abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea and indigestion
  • Hepatic injury
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in urination

In general, these antifungals are also not administered to women in pregnancy or lactation.

Intravenous antifungals

They are less known but are used in medicine to combat invasive fungal infections. In some cases they are administered as a preventive measure in high risk patients such as those who have undergone a bone marrow transplant.

In this group of antifungal drugs is the so-called amphotericin B, which has a toxic effect on the body. Therefore, its administration is only carried out when the benefits outweigh the possible risks. Its side effects include:

  • Fever, chills and tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Restless breathing
  • Kidney, liver or nerve damage

Natural products with antifungal properties

Since prolonged and excessive use of antifungal medications is not recommended, it is good to know the  natural alternatives . It is a series of products with properties that can help control and stop the growth of fungi.

  • Orange oil
  • Citronella oil
  • Allicin (crushed garlic)
  • Coconut oil
  • Neem seed oil
  • Patchouli
  • Selenium supplements
  • Tea tree oil

The doctors are in charge of determining which are the most recommended antifungals for each infection. Therefore, even if there are over-the-counter options, self-medication should be avoided.

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