Tolnaftate (Topical)

Tolnaftate, also called Tinactin, is also available in other forms, such as topical solution, topical powder, topical cream, topical gel, and spray.


Tolnaftate (Tinactin) is an antifungal drug that treats fungal infections.

Tolnaftate topical is used for treating infections like athlete's foot, ringworm, and jock itch. It's also combined with other antifungal medications to treat nail, scalp, palm, and sole infections.

Tolnaftate may also have other uses not discussed in this article.

Before using Tolnaftate, follow all the instructions on the package and medicine label. Let all your healthcare givers know about all your allergies, medical conditions, and medicines you take.

Like all medicines, Tolnaftate does cause some side effects but very few people experience them. Make sure to get emergency medical assistance if you have the following signs of an allergy: difficult breathing, hives, swelling of your tongue, throat, or face.

Stop taking Tolnaftate and contact your doctor immediately if you experience skin irritation after using this medication. Some common side Tolnaftate side effects may include peeling or dryness of treated skin, and mild itching.

Before using Tolnaftate:

Ask your doctor/pharmacist if it's safe to use Tolnaftate if you have certain medical conditions.

If you're allergic to Tolnaftate, don't use it.

It's unclear whether Tolnaftate topical will affect an unborn child. If you're pregnant, seek your doctor's advice before you use this medication.

It's unclear too whether Tolnaftate passes into a mother's milk or if it may affect a nursing baby. If you're breastfeeding, don't take Tolnaftate without advice from your doctor.

Don't give Tolnaftate to a kid without medical advice.

Conditions treated

Type of medicine

  • Antifungal

Side effects

There may be irritation of treated skin. If this effect worsens or persists, notify your pharmacist or doctor as soon as possible.

If your doctor has instructed you to take Tolnaftate, remember that he/she has determined that the medication's benefits outweigh the potential for side effects. The majority of people who use Tolnaftate don't experience serious side effects.

An acute allergic reaction to Tolnaftate is unlikely, but make sure to seek medical attention immediately in case it happens. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include rash, swelling or itching (especially of the tongue, face, or throat), trouble breathing, and severe dizziness.

This isn't a full list of potential Tolnaftate side effects. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice other side effects not listed below.

Common side effects:

  • Itching (less severe)
  • Skin inflammation (less severe)
  • Skin irritation (less severe)

Rare side effects:

  • Life-threatening allergic reaction (severe)
  • Giant hives (severe)
  • Abnormal hair texture (less severe)
  • Hair loss (less severe)
  • Hair discoloration (less severe)
  • Skin inflammation due to topical application of medication (less severe)
  • Rash (less severe)
  • Dry skin (less severe)

If you're in the US, seek medical advice about these side effects from your doctor. You can notify the FDA about the side effects at or 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada, get medical advice about the above side effects from your physician. You may notify Health Canada about the side effects at 1-866-234-2345.


This medication is to be used only on the skin. Clean and dry the affected area thoroughly. Apply Tolnaftate to the affected area, usually twice each day or as per the instructions on the product pack or by your physician. The dosage and treatment duration will depend on the infection being treated.

Use the medication exactly as instructed on the product label, or as directed by your physician. Don't take smaller or larger Tolnaftate amounts or for longer periods than advised.

Don't take Tolnaftate orally (by mouth). This medication is to be applied to the skin only. Don't apply this medicine to open wounds or to wind-burned, sunburned, dry, irritated, or chapped skin. If Tolnaftate gets in your nose, mouth, eyes, vagina, or rectum, rinse with water.

Some varieties of Tolnaftate (for example, powder) must be shaken before application. Check your medication's pack to see if you need to shake your form of Tolnaftate. Apply enough medicine to cover the area affected and part of the skin surrounding it. After applying Tolnaftate, wash your hands. Don't cover, wrap, or bandage the treated area unless your physician tells you to.

Don't use Tolnaftate on your eyes, mouth, nose, or vagina.

Use Tolnaftate regularly to maximize its benefit. Remember to apply it at similar intervals each day.

Don't cover the treated area with an airtight bandage. You can cover with a light cotton-gauze bandage to protect your clothes over treated areas of skin.

Wash your hands prior to and after using Tolnaftate, unless you're treating a skin problem on your hands.

Contact your physician if your symptoms stay the same or get worse.

Continue to use Tolnaftate until you clear the whole prescribed amount, even if symptoms ease after starting to use the medication. Stopping the medicine too soon may let the fungus grow, which could cause a recurrence of the infection.

Inform your physician if your condition continues after two weeks of jock itch treatment, after four weeks of ringworm or athlete's foot treatment, or if your problem gets worse at any time.

If you've missed a dose, apply it when you remember. If it's nearly time for the next Tolnaftate dose, skip your missed dose. Don't take extra medication to cover the missed dose.

A Tolnaftate overdose is usually not dangerous. If you suspect an overdose or someone has accidentally ingested the medicine, seek emergency treatment or call your nearest poison control authority at 1-800-222-1222.


It's unlikely that other medications you inject or take orally will affect topically applied Tolnaftate. However, many drugs do interact when used together. Inform all your healthcare providers about all drugs you take, such as over-the-counter and prescription drugs, herbal products, and vitamins.

Your healthcare providers (e.g. pharmacist or physician) probably already know of any potential Tolnaftate interactions and could be examining you for it.

Don't change, start, or stop any medicine's dosage before checking with your healthcare givers.

Before using Tolnaftate, notify your healthcare providers about all the drugs you're using, such as prescription and nonprescription, vitamins, and herbal products.

Share your full list of medications with your healthcare providers.


Before using Tolnaftate, inform your pharmacist/doctor if you've got any allergies or if you're allergic to the medication. This medication may have inactive substances, which may cause allergies or other issues. For more information, speak to your pharmacist.

Before using Tolnaftate, give your healthcare providers your medical history, including diabetes, and immune system problems (e.g. HIV disease, organ transplant, etc.).

This medicine should only be taken if absolutely necessary during pregnancy. Talk about the drug's benefits and risks with your doctor.

It's unclear whether Tolnaftate gets into human milk. Talk to your physician to know if it's okay to breastfeed.

If Tolnaftate comes into contact with your eyes, rinse carefully with water.

Avoid tight-fitting synthetic attire that doesn't permit air circulation. Instead, wear loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibers like cotton and others until your condition is healed.

You should discontinue Tolnaftate topical treatment if you experience sensitization or irritation.

If symptoms don't ease after 10 consecutive days of use, you may need a different therapy.

Make sure Tolnaftate topical preparations don't come into contact with your eyes.

The efficacy and safety of Tolnaftate hasn't been established in children under the age of 2.


Keep Tolnaftate at room temperature (15-30 degrees C).

Keep Tolnaftate away from moisture and light.

Don't keep the medicine in the bathroom.

Keep the medicine away from pets and kids.

Don't pour Tolnaftate down the drain or flush it down your toilet unless directed to do so.

Properly get rid of Tolnaftate when it has expired or you don't need it anymore.

Consult your local garbage disposal firm for more information about safe disposal of Tolnaftate.


Don't share Tolnaftate with other people. This drug has been recommended for your present condition only. Don't take it for another disease unless your physician directs you to. In such cases, your doctor may prescribe a different medicine.

Tell your healthcare providers if your symptoms don't change or if they become worse. You probably have a skin condition that doesn't respond to Tolnaftate. If so, you may be prescribed a different medication.

If you're using Tolnaftate for your jock itch problem, make sure to thoroughly dry your groin after showering. Don't wear tight-fitting underwear or any that's made from synthetic materials like nylon or rayon. Instead, put on loose-fitting underwear made from natural fibers like cotton.

If you're taking Tolnaftate for athlete's foot, make sure to thoroughly dry your feet after showering, especially between toes. Avoid socks made from synthetic materials such as nylon or rayon, and wool. Wear clean socks made from cotton and change them once daily. If your feet usually sweat a lot, change your socks more than once daily. You can also try to wear well-ventilated shoes or sandals.

Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018