Ciclopirox

Sounds like 'sick-low-pir-rocks'

Easy-to-read medicine information about ciclopirox – what it is, how to use ciclopirox safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Treatment of fungal nail infections
  • Belongs to a group of medicines called antifungals
  • Apo-Ciclopirox®
  • Ciclopirox®
  • Rejuvenail® 

What is ciclopirox?

Ciclopirox is used to treat some types of fungal nail infections, mostly of the toenail or fingernail. It works by stopping the growth of the fungus. It is one of a group of medicines known as antifungals.

Ciclopirox is not effective for all fungal nail infections – it may not be effective if the infection is present in the deeper part of the nail. It's best used for superficial fungal infections (infections on the surface of the nail), that are not very severe. Ciclopirox can be bought from a pharmacy without a doctor's prescription. It is available as a liquid that is painted on to the nail.

Dose

  • Ciclopirox is available as a medicated nail paint or lacquer.
  • Apply ciclopirox to the infected nail at bedtime.
  • Apply as follows:
    • every second day for the first month
    • then twice weekly for the second month
    • then once weekly thereafter for up to 6 months.
  • Do not use for longer than 6 months, without checking with your doctor.

How to use ciclopirox

Before application

  • Before starting treatment, remove any loose nail or nail pieces using nail clippers or nail files. If you have diabetes or problems with numbness in your toes or fingers, talk to your doctor before trimming your nails or removing any nail pieces.

During application

  • Apply ciclopirox to all affected nails with the applicator brush provided. Apply the paint evenly over the entire nail and the skin right around the nail. Where possible, ciclopirox should also be put on the bottom side of the nail and the skin beneath it. This ensures that the nail is saturated with the paint.
  • Allow the paint to dry (about 30 seconds) before putting on socks, stockings or gloves.

After application

  • After applying ciclopirox, wait 8 hours before taking a bath or shower.
  • Each week remove the entire coat of ciclopirox paint from the nail, using a commercial nail polish remover, before applying a fresh coat of ciclopirox.     
  • It may take a few months after you finish treatment to see the full benefit of ciclopirox. When used to treat nail infections, it takes time for your new healthy nails to grow out and replace the infected nails.
  • Avoid the use of cosmetic nail varnish (nail polish) or artificial nails during treatment with ciclopirox.  

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, ciclopirox can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Burning feeling around the treated nail
  • Redness or itching of the skin around the nail
  • These are quite common when you first start using ciclopirox and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist if troublesome.

Learn more

The following links have more information about ciclopirox.

Medsafe Consumer Patient Information: Rejuvenail, Apo-Ciclopirox

References

  1. Ciclopirox olamine New Zealand Formulary
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 22 Jan 2019