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Medications for Toenail Fungus

author image Lisabetta DiVita
Lisabetta Divita is a physician whose love for writing flourished while she was exposed to all facets of the medical field during her training. Her writings are currently featured in prominent medical magazines and various online publications. She holds a doctorate in medicine, a master's in biomedicine, and a Bachelor of Science in biology from Boston College.
Medications for Toenail Fungus
A woman is receiving treatment for her toenails. Photo Credit: danr13/iStock/Getty Images

Nail fungus occurs when fungi infect one or more of the nails. A nail fungal infection may begin as a white or yellow spot under the tip of the fingernail or toenail, states the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms of toenail fungus include a thickened or crumbly nail or a nail that is lacking shine. Fortunately, medications for toenail fungus exist to decrease these symptoms.

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Terbinafine is a tablet medication that belongs to a class of drugs called antifungal medications. says that this medication is specifically used to treat fungal infections of the foot, groin, scalp, toenails and fingernails. Some of terbinafine's common side effects include stomach pain, muscle aches and stuffy nose. Some of its less common side effects include joint pain, headache, sneezing, sore throat and diarrhea. It is important to tell a physician whenever terbinafine leads to these effects. Suffering from kidney or liver disease, blood problems and skin disorders may require a decrease in terbinafine dosage. A patient should take terbinafine daily as a doctor prescribes.


Itraconazole is another antifungal medication, in either tablet or capsule form, that destroys fungus of the lungs, toenails, fingernails, throat and mouth. says itraconazole's less serious side effects include skin rash, headache, diarrhea, stomach pain and runny nose. Sometimes, itraconazole can lead to such serious side effects as shortness of breath, pain with urination, fever, weight gain and yellowing of the skin or eyes. It is important to call a doctor when itraconazole leads to these effects. Having cystic fibrosis, heart disease, liver or kidney disease and a history of stroke may require a decrease in itraconazole dosage. A patient should take itraconazole daily as a doctor prescribes.


Ciclopirox is an antifungal topical solution medication that stops nail fungus growth. MedlinePlus says that ciclopirox's less concerning side effects include redness at the application site. Some of ciclopirox's serious side effects include pain at the affected nail site, ingrown nails, and itching, blistering or oozing at the application site. It is important to call a physician when ciclopirox leads to these effects. Taking such medications as budesonide, flunisolide, ketoconazole or fluticasone may require a decrease in ciclopirox dosage. A patient should apply ciclopirox daily to the affected area, as a doctor prescribes.

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