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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Topical Antifungal Medicine for Fungal Nail Infections
Ciclopirox comes as a cream or lotion (Loprox) or lacquer
(Penlac). The cream or lotion is applied to the skin or nail twice a day for 2
weeks. The lacquer (nail polish) is applied to the nail once a day for up to 6
The other medicines are
available as creams, lotions, solutions, or sprays and are applied directly to
the nail and surrounding skin once or twice a day for 3 to 12 months.
Topical antifungal medicines prevent the
growth of or kill
Topical antifungal medicines are
used to treat
fungal nail infections. Often, the medicine that is
used depends on the
type of infection you have.
Topical medicines are also used to prevent reinfection, to
athlete's foot from causing a fungal nail infection,
and after removal of a nail.
Topical medicines may be used to
treat fungal nail infections. But they do not work as well as oral medicines
in curing fungal nail infections.
Using a topical antifungal around the toes after an infection is
cured may prevent reinfection.1
These medicines may be used when there are concerns about
the risks of oral antifungal medicine.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full
list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
Topical antifungals rarely cause side effects. If you have a problem, stop using the medicine and talk to your doctor.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Habif TP (2010). Fungal nail infections section of Nail diseases. In Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy, 5th ed., pp. 956–961. Edinburgh: Mosby Elsevier.
May 14, 2013
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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