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All about: Penlac

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Generic name: Ciclopirox
Brand names: Penlac

Why is Penlac prescribed?

Penlac is a nail lacquer used in the treatment of nail infections caused by the fungus Trichophyton rubrum (ringworm of the nails). It is prescribed only if the pale semicircle at the base of the nail is free of infection. It is part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes professional removal of the unattached infected nails as frequently as monthly.

Most important fact about Penlac

Patience is the watchword with Penlac therapy. It can take 6 months of daily Penlac application and periodic nail removal before symptoms begin to abate. Treatment typically lasts up to 48 weeks, and the infected nails may not be completely clear when treatment is finished.

How should you take Penlac?

Before starting treatment, remove any loose nail material with clippers or a file. Brush Penlac evenly over the entire surface of all affected nails once daily, preferably at bedtime. Where possible, also apply the lacquer to the underside of the nail and the skin beneath. Allow the lacquer to dry for 30 seconds before putting on socks or stockings. Wait 8 hours before taking a bath or shower. Once a week, remove the lacquer with alcohol and trim away as much of the damaged nail as possible before applying a new coat. Do not apply Penlac near an open flame.

--If you miss a dose...

Apply the forgotten dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular schedule.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature. After each use, close the bottle tightly and replace it in its carton to protect the medication from light.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. Be sure to tell the doctor immediately if the area of application shows any signs of increased irritation, such as redness, itching, burning, blistering, swelling, or oozing. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe to continue using Penlac.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Rash or redness around the nail

Why should Penlac not be prescribed?

If you find that you're allergic to Penlac, you won't be able to use it.

Special warnings about Penlac

Keep Penlac away from the eyes and mucous membranes. Avoid contact with any skin outside the immediate area of the nail. For external use only.

If you have foot problems due to diabetes, trimming and removal of infected nails should be undertaken with caution.

Do not use nail polish or other cosmetic nail products on the treated nails.

Let the doctor know if your immune system has been weakened by HIV infection, transplant treatments, therapy with steroids, or any other cause, or if you take epilepsy medication. Penlac has not been tested in patients with these problems.

Possible food and drug interactions when using Penlac

The manufacturer does not recommend use of Penlac in conjunction with oral antifungal medications such as griseofulvin (GrisPEG), terbinafine (Lamisil Tablets), and itraconazole (Sporanox).

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

The possibility of harm to a developing baby has not been entirely ruled out. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, let the doctor know immediately.

It is not known whether Penlac appears in breast milk. Use it with caution when nursing.

Recommended dosage


Apply once daily at bedtime to the entire surface of all infected nails.


There is no information on overdosage. If the lacquer is accidentally swallowed, seek medical attention immediately.

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