Sounds like 'ter-BIN-uh-feen'

Easy-to-read medicine information about terbinafine – what it is, how to take terbinafine safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Anti-fungal
  • Used to treat fungal infections
  • Terbinafine (Dr Reddy's)®
  • Terbinafine-DRLA®
  • Lamisil®

What is terbinafine?

  • Terbinafine is used to treat certain types of fungal infections, e.g., fungal infections of the toenail, fingernail, skin or scalp. Read more about fungal infections (also called tinea).
  • It works by stopping the growth of the fungus
  • It is one of a group of medicines known as antifungals.


  • The usual dose of terbinafine is 250 milligrams (1 tablet) once a day.
  • Depending on the location of the fungal infection, your doctor will prescribe a course of terbinafine that lasts from a few weeks up to a few months. 
  • Always take your terbinafine exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much terbinafine to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take terbinafine

  • Take terbinafine at the same time each day, either in the morning OR in the evening.
  • You can take terbinafine with or without food.
  • If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day.
  • But, if it is nearly time (4 hours) until your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
  • Keep taking terbinafine every day, until the course is finished; otherwise your infection may come back.
  • It may take several months after you finish treatment to see the full benefit of terbinafine. When used to treat nail infections, it takes time for your new healthy nails to grow out and replace the infected nails.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, terbinafine can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Headache
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Vomiting (throwing up)
  • Diarrhoea (loose stool)
  • These are quite common when you first start taking terbinafine and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Allergic reaction including any skin rashes, itching, blisters, peeling skin, swelling of the face, lips, mouth or have problems breathing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine.
  • Signs of problems with your liver such as yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, pain in the abdomen.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine.


Terbinafine interacts with a number of important medications (such as heart medications and antidepressants) so check with your doctor or pharmacist.


Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr J Bycroft. Health Navigator NZ