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Multipurpose Antifungal Naftifine HCl

written by: nanjowe•edited by: Diana Cooper•updated: 11/30/2009

Naftifine HCl is the active ingredient in Naftin. It is prescribed to treat fungal infections that appear on the outer layer of the skin, such as jock itch, ringworm and athlete's foot.

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    Antifungal drugs are able to destroy fungi while sparing the host human cells. Creating drugs that have the ability to do this is tricky, but in this case Naftin destroys a specific target enzyme found only in the fungus cells.

    The skin protects the body from outside infectious agents. It is the body’s first line of defense. Despite the skin’s defensive role, it is the target of fungal infections. Fungi tend to thrive in moist areas of the body: between toes, in genital areas and on the skin under the breasts. As the fungus population thrives, the result is an infection. The fungi give off chemicals that cause issues with the individual’s skin. The resulting symptoms include red and irritated skin, which can be sometimes accompanied by a scaly rash. Physicians are able to diagnose a fungal infection by performing a biopsy or by scraping the skin of the infected area. The biopsy or scraped skin is then analyzed under a microscope to determine the infecting fungi or bacteria.

    Fungal infections can be treated by applying a topical drug or by taking medication orally. Topical medications are usually creams or gels made of an active ingredient and a vehicle that helps transport the active ingredient. In this case the active ingredient used to destroy the fungi is naftifine hydrochloride.

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    Administration and Dosage

    Once researchers figured out some of the difference between the fungi cells and human cells, they were better equipped to design medications that are fungi specific.

    The active ingredient in this medication belongs to a class of medications known as allyamines. These class of chemicals have fungicidal activity against organisms such as Trichophyton rubrum, T. mentagrophytes, T. tonsurans and Epidermophyton floccosum. Allylamines act by inhibiting one of the fungal enzymes used in the fungi's sterol synthesis. This effectively stops an infection. These fungi cause some tinea infections such as tinea pedis, tinea cruris and tinea corporis.

    The antifungal is administered as a 1% cream or gel (10 mg in 1 g). The cream is applied to the affected area once a day and massaged into the skin. The cream comes in either a tube or a pump.

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    Precautions and Contraindications

    This medication is designed for external use only and should not be consumed. It is prescribed for a specific condition and should be used as directed. If a patient has shown hypersensitivity to the drug, they should discontinue using it.

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    Side Effects

    Some patients may experience burning and stinging at the site of application. The location may also get dry, red, itchy, irritated. However, these side effects occurred in less than 6% of patients tested.

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    Drug Interactions and Warnings

    The topical gel should be used only on the skin. Avoid contact with eyes.

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