Griseofulvin for Ringworm of the Scalp or Beard


Generic Name Brand Name
griseofulvin Grifulvin V

You take griseofulvin as a pill (orally). It is available in liquid form for children.

Depending on how severe the infection is, you may take griseofulvin once or twice a day for as few as 4 weeks or as long as 12 weeks.

How It Works

Griseofulvin stops the growth of fungi.

Why It Is Used

You use griseofulvin to treat ringworm of the scalp or beard.

You are likely to use griseofulvin together with antifungal shampoos.

How Well It Works

Griseofulvin is an effective treatment for ringworm of the scalp or beard. It is the treatment of choice for children, because it is well tolerated and has a long history of safe use.1

Side Effects

  • Stomach upset
  • Headaches
  • Increased sensitivity of skin to sunlight (photosensitivity)

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

  • You should not take griseofulvin with certain other medicines, such as birth control pills or blood thinners. Let your doctor or pharmacist know what other medicines you are taking.
  • Griseofulvin should not be taken by pregnant women, people with certain diseases (such as lupus), or people who are allergic to penicillin.
  • People who are taking antifungal pills will have their blood counts and liver and kidney functions monitored during treatment to watch for any adverse side effects.
  • You should take griseofulvin with fatty foods, such as whole milk or ice cream, for better absorption in the body.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Habif TP (2010). Superficial fungal infections. In Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy, 5th ed., pp. 491–540. Edinburgh: Mosby Elsevier.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Last Revised December 21, 2012

Last Revised: December 21, 2012

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