Medically reviewed: May 27, 2016
What is ciclopirox topical?
Ciclopirox is an antifungal medicine that prevents fungus from growing on your skin.
Ciclopirox shampoo is used to treat seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition of the scalp.
Ciclopirox nail lacquer is used to treat fungal infections of the toenails and fingernails.
Ciclopirox topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use ciclopirox if you are allergic to it.
To make sure ciclopirox topical is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicines); or
a condition for which you use steroid medication (including skin conditions or breathing disorders).
Ciclopirox topical is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether ciclopirox topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not use this medicine on a child without medical advice. Ciclopirox shampoo and gel are not approved for use by anyone younger than 16 years old. Ciclopirox nail laquer is not approved for use by anyone younger than 12 years old. Ciclopirox cream and lotion are not approved for use by anyone younger than 10 years old.
How should I use ciclopirox topical?
Use exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Wash your hands before and after using this medication, unless you are using ciclopirox to treat a hand condition.
To apply the cream, gel, or lotion:
Clean and dry the affected area. Apply a small amount of the cream (usually twice daily) for 2 to 4 weeks. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Do not use bandages or dressings that do not allow air to circulate (occlusive dressings) on areas treated with ciclopirox cream or lotion, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Wear loose-fitting clothing (preferably cotton).
If the infection does not clear up in 4 weeks, or if it appears to get worse, see your doctor.
To use ciclopirox shampoo:
Wet the hair and apply approximately 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of the shampoo to the scalp. Up to 2 teaspoons (10 mL) may be used for long hair. Lather and leave on the hair and scalp for 3 minutes. A timer may be used.
Treatment should be repeated twice per week for 4 weeks, with a minimum of 3 days between applications. If no improvement is seen after 4 weeks of treatment, contact your doctor.
It may take up to 4 weeks before your symptoms improve after using ciclopirox topical cream, gel, lotion, or shampoo. Keep using the medicine as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse.
To use ciclopirox nail lacquer:
Use on the nails and immediately surrounding skin only. Avoid contact with other areas. Remove any loose nail or nail material using nail clippers or a nail file.
Apply ciclopirox nail lacquer once daily (preferably at bedtime) to all affected nails with the applicator brush provided. Apply the lacquer evenly over the entire nail. Where possible, apply the nail lacquer to the underside of the nail and to the skin beneath it. Allow the lacquer to dry (approximately 30 seconds) before putting on socks or stockings. After applying the medication, wait 8 hours before taking a bath or shower.
Apply ciclopirox nail lacquer daily over the previous coat. Once a week, remove the nail lacquer with alcohol. Remove as much as possible of the damaged nail using nail clippers or nail a file.
To prevent the screw cap from sticking to the bottle, do not allow the solution to get into the bottle treads. To prevent the solution from drying out, close the bottle tightly after every use.
Treatment with ciclopirox nail lacquer may require several months before initial improvement of symptoms is noticed. Up to 48 weeks of daily application of the nail lacquer, monthly removal of the unattached infected nail by a health care professional, and weekly trimming by the patient may be required for complete treatment.
Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antifungal medicine.
Store all forms of this medicine at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Once a bottle of ciclopirox shampoo is opened, it should be used within 8 weeks.
Ciclopirox nail lacquer is flammable. Avoid using near open flame, and do not smoke until the gel has completely dried on your skin.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
An overdose of ciclopirox topical is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.
What should I avoid while using ciclopirox topical?
Avoid contact with the eyes, nose, and inside of the mouth. If this does happen, rinse with water.
Avoid using other medications on the areas you treat with ciclopirox topical unless your doctor tells you to.
Do not use nail polish, artificial nails, or other cosmetic nail products on the nails treated with ciclopirox nail lacquer.
Avoid wearing tight-fitting, synthetic clothing that doesn't allow air circulation. Wear loose-fitting clothing made of cotton and other natural fibers until the infection is healed.
Ciclopirox topical side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:
unusual or severe itching, redness, burning, dryness, or irritation of treated skin; or
discoloration or other changes in the nails.
Common side effects may include:
mild burning, itching, or redness.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect ciclopirox topical?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
an inhaled or topical steroid medicine; or
It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied ciclopirox. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 6.01.
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