Although the exact mechanism of action against fungi is not known, naftifine appears to interfere with sterol biosynthesis by inhibiting the enzyme squalene 2, 3-epoxidase. This inhibition of enzyme activity results in decreased amounts of sterols, especially ergosterol, and a corresponding accumulation of squalene in the cells.
Naftifine is a synthetic, broad spectrum, antifungal agent and allylamine derivative. The following in vitro data are available, but their clinical significance is unknown. Naftifine has been shown to exhibit fungicidal activity in vitro against a broad spectrum of organisms including Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Trichophyton tonsurans, Epidermophyton floccosum, and Microsporum canis, Microsporum audouini, and Microsporum gypseum; and fungistatic activity against Candida species including Candida albicans. However it is only used to treat the organisms listed in the indications.