If tinea versicolor is severe or doesn't respond to over-the-counter antifungal medicine, you may need a prescription-strength medication. Some of these medications are topical preparations that you rub on your skin. Others are drugs that you swallow. Examples include:
- Ciclopirox (Loprox, Penlac) cream, gel or shampoo
- Fluconazole (Diflucan) tablets or oral solution
- Itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox) tablets, capsules or oral solution
- Ketoconazole (Ketoconazole, Nizoral, others) cream, gel or shampoo
- Selenium sulfide (Selsun) 2.5 percent lotion or shampoo
Even after successful treatment, your skin color may remain uneven for several weeks, or even months. Also, the infection may return in hot, humid weather. In persistent cases, you may need to take a medication once or twice a month to prevent the infection from recurring.
April 22, 2015
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- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Yeast infections: Candidiasis, tinea (pityriasis) versicolor and malassezia (pityrosporum) folliculitis. In: Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed March 9, 2015.
- Bamford J, et al. Interventions for the treatment of pityriasis versicolor. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com/sp-3.14.0b/ovidweb.cgi. Accessed March 9, 2015.
- AskMayoExpert. Superficial fungal infections. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Tinea versicolor. American Academy of Dermatology. www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/q---t/tinea-versicolor. Accessed March 9, 2015.
- Tinea versicolor. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic_disorders/fungal_skin_infections/tinea_versicolor.html. Accessed March 9, 2015.