Skip to content

Oral treatments for fungal infections of the skin of the foot.

  • Bell-Syer S
  • Hart R
  • Crawford F
  • et al.
Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
Get full text


BACKGROUND About 15% of the population have fungal infections of the feet (tinea pedis or athlete's foot). Whilst there are many clinical presentations of tinea pedis the most common are between the toes (interdigital) and on the soles, heels and sides of the foot (plantar) which is known as moccasin foot. Once acquired the infection can spread to other sites including the nails, which can be a source of reinfection. Oral therapy is usually used for chronic conditions or when topical treatment has failed. OBJECTIVES To assess the effects and costs of oral treatments for fungal infections of the skin of the foot (tinea pedis). SEARCH STRATEGY Randomised controlled trials were identified from MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL from the beginning of these databases to January 2000. We also searched the Cochrane Controlled trials Register (Cochrane Library issue 1, 2000) the Science Citation Index, BIOSIS, CAB-Health, Health star and Economic databases. Bibliographies were searched, podiatry journals hand searched and the pharmaceutical industry and schools of podiatry contacted. SELECTION CRITERIA Randomised controlled trials including participants who have a clinically diagnosed tinea pedis, confirmed by microscopy and growth of dermatophytes in culture. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS Study selection was done by two independent reviewers. Methodological quality assessment and data collection was also assessed by two independent reviewers. MAIN RESULTS Twelve trials, involving 700 participants, were included. The two trials comparing terbinafine and griseofulvin produced a pooled risk difference of 52% (95% confidence intervals 33% to 71%) in favour of terbinafine's ability to cure infection. No significant difference was detected between terbinafine and itraconazole; fluconazole and either itraconazole and ketoconazole; or between griseofulvin and ketoconazole, although the trials were generally small. Two trials showed that terbinafine and itraconazole were effective compared with placebo. Adverse effects were reported for all drugs, with gastrointestinal effects most commonly reported. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS The evidence suggests that terbinafine is more effective than griseofulvin and that terbinafine and itraconazole are more effective than no treatment.




Bell-Syer, S. E., Hart, R., Crawford, F., Torgerson, D. J., Tyrrell, W., & Russell, I. (2002). Oral treatments for fungal infections of the skin of the foot. In Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free