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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 months.
Terbinafine cream or gel is applied to the skin and nail. To kill a fungal skin infection, terbinafine is applied twice a day for at least 2 weeks, or once a day for 2 to 4 weeks. To control a fungal nail infection, longer-term use is needed.
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 fungi.
Topical medicines are also used to prevent reinfection, to prevent 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.
Last Revised: June 27, 2012
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