Lamisil Vs. Lotrimin: What Is The Difference?
In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the difference between Lamisil and Lotrimin.
What is the difference between Lamisil and Lotrimin?
- Lamisil (terbinafine) and Lotrimin (clotrimazole) are both topical antifungals but contain different active ingredients.
- Lamisil (terbinafine) works by actively killing fungus, and generally has shorter treatment times than Lotrimin (clotrimazole), around 1 to 2 weeks.
- Lotrimin (clotrimazole) works by inhibiting the growth of fungus and has longer treatment times than Lamisil (terbinafine), around 2 to 4 weeks.
- Lamisil (terbinafine) and associated generic products are generally more expensive than Lotrimin (clotrimazole).
- There are several other Lotrimin products on the market that contain antifungals other than clotrimazole. The most similar to Lamisil in terms of how quickly it works, is Lotrimin Ultra, containing butenafine.
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The simple answer is that while both Lotrimin and Lamisil are antifungals, they contain different active ingredients.
- The active ingredient in Lamisil is terbinafine.
- The active ingredient in most Lotrimin products is clotrimazole
It is important to point out here that while all Lamisil products contain terbinafine, Lotrimin has several different products on the market, and some contain different active ingredients.
The most popular Lotrimin product, Lotrimin AF Athlete's Foot Antifungal Cream, contains clotrimazole, but other Lotrimin products contain:
- Miconazole (e.g. Lotrimin® AF Athlete's Foot Antifungal Powder)
- Tolnaftate (e.g. Lotrimin® AF Athlete's Foot Daily Prevention Medicated Foot Powder)
- Butenafine (e.g. Lotrimin Ultra® Athlete’s Foot Cream)
I will mostly be referring to Lotrimin products that contain clotrimazole in this answer, as that is what is most commonly referred to when people ask about Lotrimin, but I'll touch on the other products too.
Lamisil & Lotrimin Uses
As mentioned, both Lamisil and Lotrimin are topical anti-fungal medications. They are used for the treatment of a variety of fungal infections including:
- Ringworm (Tinea corporis)
- Athlete's foot (Tinea pedis)
- Jock itch (Tinea cruris)
Although similar and both available over the counter without a prescription, they are in different classes of medication and work via different mechanisms.
In the next sections, I'll discuss these differences.
Lamisil (terbinafine) is classified as an "allylamine" anti-fungal and is fungicidal, meaning that it directly kills parasitic fungus.
Allylamine anti-fungal medications are generally considered the most effective topical medications with the shortest treatment times (for over-the-counter antifungals at least).
Depending on the type of infection being treated, treatment time is generally only one to two weeks of continuous use.
Lamisil, in most cases, is more expensive than other topical anti-fungal medications but is still affordable.
Lamisil products are available in a variety of dosage forms including:
Lotrimin (clotrimazole) is classified as an "imidazole" antifungal and is fungistatic, meaning that it inhibits the growth of parasitic fungus but does not directly kill it, unlike Lamisil.
Since Lotrimin is fungistatic, treatment times tend to be longer than other treatments. Depending on the type of infection being treated, it generally takes two to four weeks of continuous treatment to eliminate the fungus.
Lotrimin is generally less expensive than other topical anti-fungal medications. Lotrimin products are available in a variety of dosage forms including:
As mentioned at the beginning of this answer, there are several Lotrimin products containing other antifungals on the market.
The most similar to Lamisil would be Lotrimin Ultra, which contains butenafine. Butenafine, like Lamisil (terbinafine), kills fungus rather than just inhibiting growth. Therefore, it tends to work just as quickly as Lamisil.
Applying Lotrimin Or Lamisil
Proper application of topical anti-fungal products is important.
- Apply the anti-fungal product to the affected area as well as one to two inches around the visible infection area.
- Anti-fungal products should be continued for at least one week after the affected area looks clear to prevent a recurrence.
- To treat itching, refrain from using steroid (e.g. hydrocortisone) products as these can prolong healing time. Non-steroid products such as Sarna work well.
- Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD
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