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Br J Dermatol. 2001 Feb;144(2):321-7.

A randomized comparison of 4 weeks of terbinafine vs. 8 weeks of griseofulvin for the treatment of tinea capitis.

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Department of Dermatology, King's College Hospital, London SE5 9RS, UK.



Tinea capitis is a common childhood infection that has recently become more frequent in urban areas in Europe and the U.S.A. The current licensed treatment in children is griseofulvin 10 mg kg(-1) daily, which is usually given for 6--8 weeks.


To compare this treatment with a 4-week course of oral terbinafine.


Terbinafine was given at the following doses: in children weighing < 20 kg, 62.5 mg daily; 20--40 kg, 125 mg daily; > 40 kg, 250 mg daily. Two hundred and ten children aged 2--16 years, with mycologically confirmed tinea capitis, were randomized to 4 weeks treatment with terbinafine or 8 weeks with griseofulvin, and followed for a total of 24 weeks to determine the difference between treatments with respect to short- and long-term efficacy and tolerability.


One hundred and forty-seven patients were evaluable (terbinafine 77, griseofulvin 70). Although the 4-week course of terbinafine resulted in a trend to more rapid clearance of tinea capitis, there were no statistically significant differences between the two drugs in terms of overall outcome or tolerability, apart from in a subgroup of patients with Trichophyton infections, and weighing > 20 kg, who responded better to terbinafine than to griseofulvin at 4 weeks. By contrast, there was a better response to griseofulvin than to terbinafine in patients with Microsporum audouinii infections.


Overall, the study showed that 4 weeks of treatment with oral terbinafine has similar efficacy to 8 weeks of treatment with griseofulvin for the management of tinea capitis in children.

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