Griseofulvin (Oral)

Griseofulvin is an antifungal oral prescribed for patients with infections of the nails, hair or skin caused by fungus after topical medications did not clear up the condition.


What is Griseofulvin?

Discovered in 1939 as a derivative of penicillin, Griseofulvin is an antifungal drug that is available as a liquid oral suspension, in a tablet or in a capsule format. Whether used after topical treatments have failed or as a booster to the topical treatments, Griseofulvin has a direct effect on infections that are fungal in nature. Griseofulvin is on the WHO's list of essential medicines, which are the safest and most effective medicines known in the world.

Griseofulvin works on several fungal infections such as cradle cap and ringworm. Symptoms that patients with these conditions suffer include red, scaly, peeling skin, discolored nails and itching. Griseofulvin is sold under the marketing names Fulvicin, Grifulvin and Gris-PEG.

How does Griseofulvin work?

Griseofulvin works by inhibiting the growth of fungi, stopping the infection from becoming worse or more widespread while the body replaces the unhealthy cells with healthy ones, eventually killing the fungal infection.

What is a fungal infection?

Fungal infections occur frequently in humans, when a fungus takes over a portion of the body and proves too much for the body's own immune system. Though some fungi are natural and necessary to the human body, harmful ones can be difficult to get rid of and often repeat themselves.

People with weakened immune systems are more prone to fungal infections, which would include patients undergoing cancer treatment and diabetics as well as HIV positive patients. Common fungal infections include athlete's foot, yeast infections, jock itch and ring worm.

Conditions Treated

Type Of Medicine


Side Effects

Griseofulvin may create adverse symptoms in healthy parts of the body by doing its work of bonding with fungal cells. If you experience any of the following adverse health effects, notify your doctor immediately:

  • Chills
  • Coughing
  • Loose, blistered or peeling skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Pain in muscles or joints
  • Itching
  • Irritated, bloodshot eyes
  • Throat soreness
  • Ulcerated white spots on lips or mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Confused demeanor
  • Skin is more sensitive to sun
  • Hives, itching or rashes
  • Sore, irritated tongue or mouth
  • Stools are tar-like or black
  • Pain in chest
  • Urine appears cloudy
  • Swollen patches or hives on sex organs, eyelids, tongue, lips, face, legs, hands, feet or throat
  • Painful, weak, tingling or numb feet or hands
  • Urination is painful or difficult
  • Gasping for breath
  • Glands are swollen
  • Bruising or bleeding that is unusual
  • Skin or eyes appear yellow in color
  • Pain in abdomen or stomach
  • Pins and needles feeling
  • Stools are the color of clay
  • Urine is dark
  • Dizzy
  • Headache
  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea
  • Halitosis
  • Vomiting with signs of blood

Other symptoms may also happen that may disappear with time, but if you notice them becoming prolonged or severe, they should be reported to your physician:

  • Welts
  • Red skin
  • Hives
  • Insomnia
  • Heartburn
  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Throat pain
  • Insomnia
  • White spots in throat, on tongue or in mouth
  • Diaper rash with white patches

Still other effects may occur in some patients, so if you experience any health changes after you start taking Griseofulvin; it is advised that you report these to your physician.


Griseofulvin should be continued for the full duration of the prescription your doctor has written for you. Discontinuing the use of this medication when your symptoms clear up may not kill the entire infection.

Maintain good hygiene during your treatment period to control the infection and stop it from reoccurring.

Griseofulvin is best absorbed by the body if it is taken with a meal that contains a high amount of fat. Drinking whole milk or eating ice cream or having a meal such as a cheeseburger with Griseofulvin is recommended. Taking this mediation with meals also means less of a chance for upset stomach symptoms. Patients on a low-fat diet for other reasons should consult their physician on how to take Griseofulvin.

Tablets should be taken whole or crushed and distributed in a tablespoon of applesauce, which should then be swallowed and not chewed up.

Depending on your overall health and the progression of your condition, your dosage of Griseofulvin may differ from the general information provided below. Follow your doctor's prescription exactly and do not increase your dosage unless instructed specifically by your health care provider. Do not change the frequency or time of day that you take your dose or doses and do not lengthen the treatment period.

Micro-capsules, liquid suspension or tablets

Adults and teens will typically be prescribed 500 milligrams twice per day for nail fungus or foot fungal infections. Children will have their dosage based on their body weight, typically 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, to be taken twice per day or 10 milligrams per kilogram of body weight once per day.

Adults and teens with fungal scalp, groin or skin infections will typically be prescribed 250 milligrams twice per day or 500 milligrams once per day. Children will have their dosage based on their weight, but will typically be at 5 milligrams per kilogram every 12 hours or 10 milligrams per kilogram once daily.

Ultramicro tablets

Adults will typically be prescribed 375 milligrams once per day or divided into smaller doses and spread throughout the day. The maximum prescribed is typically 750 milligrams total per day, which would always be divided into smaller doses multiple times daily.

Children who are over 3 years old and weigh more than 60 pounds will typically be prescribed a dose of 187.5 to 375 milligrams per day, which will again be based on body weight and may be divided over several doses per day.

Children over 3 but only weighing between 35 to 60 pounds will have a dose between 125 to 187.5 milligrams per day, which will be based on body weight and may or may not be divided into different daily doses.

Children up to two years old must have their dosage determined to be safe by their physician.

Missing a dose of Griseofulvin should prompt you to take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose. In that case, skip the missing dose rather than double dose and return to your regular schedule as soon as you can.


Inform your physician if you have ever experienced sensitivity to any other prescription drugs. You will also need to remember to disclose any sensitive reactions you've had to foods, animals, preservatives, dyes or perfumes prior to being treated with Griseofulvin.

Pediatric patients under two years of age have not been studied for use of Galantamine that would demonstrate that it is safe or effective for this age group. Use of this drug on pediatric patients is at the discretion of the physician.

Geriatric patients have not been studied with regard to any limited effectiveness or increased risk factors as compared to adult patients.

Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant and men who may father children should avoid pregnancy during Griseofulvin treatment, as this drug can have adverse effects on the health of unborn children. Use an effective form of birth control during your treatment and alert your physician immediately if you are pregnant.

Women who are breastfeeding have not been studied in order to provide data to determine whether use of Griseofulvin can be passed on to their children in their breast milk. Consult your doctor with regard to using Griseofulvin during breastfeeding.

Some medications shouldn't be used together due to the increased risks of adverse health effects or diminished effectiveness of one or both drugs. The following drugs should not be taken with Griseofulvin, so if you are taking these, alert your physician to that fact:

  • Desogestrel
  • Drospirenone
  • Dienogest
  • Estradiol Valerate
  • Estradiol Cypionate
  • Ethynodiol Diacetate
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Etonogestrel
  • Mestranol
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
  • Norethindrone
  • Norelgestromin
  • Norgestrel
  • Norgestimate
  • Warfarin
  • Phenobarbital

Use of tobacco products and consumption of alcoholic beverages should be discussed with your health care provider prior to taking Griseofulvin. This medication has been known to exacerbate certain unwanted effects when used with Ethanol. Discuss this with your physician prior to taking Griseofulvin.

Patients who have been diagnosed with the following conditions should not take Griseofulvin as they may increase their symptoms or even make the condition worsen. Let your physician know if you have:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Gilchrist's disease
  • Yeast infection
  • Darling's disease
  • Other infections
  • Rose gardener's disease
  • Tinea versicolor or flava
  • Liver failure
  • Enzyme issues
  • Lupus or diseases closely related


Your physician will want to schedule regular examination of your condition during your treatment period with Griseofulvin. Be sure to keep all appointments and communicate any health issues you have been having. Should your condition not improve or worsen, you must contact your doctor right away. Griseofulvin treatment may need to continue for several weeks or even months.

If you are pregnant or if you may become pregnant, you may risk the health of your unborn child with use of Griseofulvin. Inform your physician immediately if you think you may be pregnant if you are taking Griseofulvin. It is recommended that you use an effective form of birth control while being medicated with Griseofulvin.

Discontinue the use of this medication if your skin appears loose, if it blisters or peels, as this could be the sign of a serious reaction to Griseofulvin involving the skin. Red skin with lesions or sores and rashes or acne and ulcers are all signs of skin reactions that should be reported to your physician. Be alert for signs of chills or elevated body temperature as well.

Pain in the upper stomach area, stools that are pale in color, urine that is dark, appetite loss, nausea or unusual fatigue or muscle weakness should be reported to your health care professional immediately, especially if they are accompanied by a yellow tinge to your skin or eyes. These could be signs of serious liver issues in reaction to medication with Griseofulvin.

Griseofulvin may cause tumors in the thyroid or liver, as it did in some laboratory tests on animals. Discuss this elevated tumor risk with your physician.

If you are taking birth control pills, they may not be effective while you are being treated with Griseofulvin. An alternative form of birth control is recommended during treatment and for a month post-treatment.

Griseofulvin may exacerbate the effects that alcoholic beverages have on your body including elevation of your heart rhythm, flushing skin, more sweat production or red face. If you experience these effects, stop drinking alcohol completely while you are taking Griseofulvin and consult your physician.

Some patients have reported dizziness or drowsiness or that they were less alert when they were taking Griseofulvin. Until you are sure how this medication affects your alertness, it is best to avoid driving, operating power tools or heavy machinery in case you are impaired. Consult your doctor with any questions on this condition.

Your skin may be hypersensitive to the sun while you are taking Griseofulvin. For this reason, it is recommended that your exposure to the sun be limited or completely stopped. Even brief sun exposure can cause redness, rashes or itching or even severe com/health/burns/">sunburns. While being treated with Griseofulvin, follow the following recommendations for sun exposure:

  • Stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Wear a hat and other protective clothing
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Apply SPF at least 15 sunblock; a higher SPF should be used on fair skin
  • Apply sunblock to lips of at least 15 SPF
  • Avoid tanning booths or beds and sunlamps

Some medications work in conjunction with others to provide an overall health regimen for patients with multiple symptoms. Other medications should never be taken together for any reasons. While you are taking a prescription of Griseofulvin, it is important to disclose any other medications you are taking and to include over the counter, herbal, holistic and even vitamin supplements as well to avoid any adverse reactions between the medications.

Patients with liver disease or blood disorders should not take Griseofulvin to cure their fungal infection. Likewise patients diagnosed with lupus or similar conditions should avoid this medication. Check with your physician if you have any of these conditions.

The effect of Griseofulvin on the male sperm is not known at this time, but in animal studies, the data has led to the recommendation that men avoid getting their partners pregnant for a certain period of time after treatment with Griseofulvin. The risks this medication poses to unborn children should be discussed with your physician.

Do not miss doses of this medication and do not stop taking it without consulting your physician unless you have symptoms of one of the severe adverse health effects known to be associated with Griseofulvin. This medication needs to be in your body on a consistent basis in order to work properly. Stopping the use of the medication may make your symptoms flare up as your infection returns.


Retain the original packaging that your Griseofulvin arrived in and use it to store this medication properly. Keep this medicine at room temperature, away from exposure to excessive light, heat or moisture. Do not allow Griseofulvin to freeze and do not use it if it has become frozen. This medication, as well as others, should be kept out of sight and reach of children and pets.

Expired or unused Griseofulvin dosages should be disposed of properly according to your physician's instructions for safety. If this is not provided to you by your physician, consult with your pharmacist on safe disposal practices.


Griseofulvin is an antifungal or fungistatic medication that is taken orally only by doctor's prescription to fight fungal infections in the body. Such infections are more commonly known as jock itch, athlete's foot, yeast infection, thrush, ring worm and nail fungus. Griseofulvin has been prescribed for decades for the effective, safe treatment of fungal infections with minimal side effects in patients who are not responding to topical treatments alone.

Patients are typically prescribed dosage amounts that are based on their age, body mass and their condition. Adults can be prescribed as much as 500 milligrams divided into several doses throughout the day, with teenage patients at around the same dose level. Children have their dosage based on their body weight, which can range from 5 to 10 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, depending on other factors. This medication is not approved for use in children under 2 years old.

Oral contraceptives are less effective when you are taking Griseofulvin, so other forms of birth control are recommended during treatment. Additionally, there are known risks to unborn children if mothers are treated with this medication so avoid becoming pregnant or avoid being treated with Griseofulvin if you are pregnant. Men being treated with Griseofulvin should practice effective forms of birth control to keep their partners from becoming pregnant, as this drug could be passed along via sperm cells.

Griseofulvin has been known to increase the effects felt with the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Avoid drinking alcohol during your treatment for this reason. Other common effects may include being less alert than normal or drowsy or sleepy. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you known how Griseofulvin affects your alertness. Other adverse symptoms could include diarrhea, headache and skin reactions. Alert your physician if you have any of these symptoms.

Griseofulvin has been known to interact with several medications as well as exacerbate the symptoms of certain diseases. For this reason it is critical to communicate your medical history including the drugs you are taking to your physician before being prescribed Griseofulvin. Include any non-prescription, holistic, herbal or vitamin supplements with this information as well. Read all information supplied to you by your physician or pharmacist and ask any questions required for clarity.