Kerydin (Tavaborole) – Topical

What Is Kerydin?

Kerydin (tavaborole) is a liquid prescription solution used to treat fungal infections of the toenails, also called onychomycosis. Kerydin is a topical medication, which means you apply it directly to the affected toenail(s).

Kerydin contains the active ingredient tavaborole. It is classified as an oxaborole antifungal drug. It blocks the fungus from making the proteins it needs to grow and survive. 

Kerydin is available in one strength of 5%. It is a clear liquid solution that comes in glass bottles of 4 milliliters and 10 milliliters. Kerydin includes a pointed-tip dropper that you use to apply the medication. 

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Tavaborole  

Brand Name: Kerydin

Drug Availability: Prescription

Administration Route: Topical

Therapeutic Classification: Antifungal

Available Generically: No

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Tavaborole

Dosage Form: Solution

What Is Kerydin Used For?

Kerydin is prescribed to treat toenail fungus. The medical term for fungal infection of the toenail is "onychomycosis." 

Kerydin is effective against the common strains of toenail fungus: Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Trichophyton rubrum. People over 65 years of age and people with weakened immune systems or circulation problems may have an increased risk of onychomycosis.

With toenail fungus, the nails often become thick, brittle, misshapen, and discolored. The nails may look yellow, brown, or have white spots.

An illustration about kerydin (tavabrole) drug information

Verywell / Dennis Madamba

How to Use Kerydin

Kerydin is applied to the infected toenail(s) usually once a day. Be sure to follow your prescriber’s directions and the instructions included in the product packaging.

Here is an overview of how to apply Kerydin:

  • Before you apply Kerydin, make sure your toenails are clean and dry.
  • Using the supplied dropper, apply enough solution to cover the surface of the affected toenails completely. Then, use the pointed tip of the dropper to spread the solution across the entire nail, including under the tip of the toenail. 
  • Wash your hands after applying Kerydin.
  • Allow the solution to dry for a couple of minutes before putting on socks or footwear. Do not wash off or wipe off the solution.

Be careful not to get Kerydin in the mouth, eyes, or vagina. If the drug comes in contact with your skin (other than the skin surrounding your infected toenails), wipe it off with a tissue.

Storage

Kerydin comes in a glass bottle. Store the bottle at room temperature (68 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). The bottle may be temporarily stored between 59 degrees and 86 degrees when necessary, such as when you’re traveling. The product is flammable, so keep it away from heat or open flame.

Be sure to close the bottle tightly after each use. Discard any unused product three months after first use.

How Long Does Kerydin Take to Work?

It may take close to a year for Kerydin to treat the infection. Toenail fungus can be stubborn. The fungus lives inside the toenail, which is difficult for the medication to penetrate. 

In clinical trials, about 6.5%–9.1% of participants were completely cured of their toenail fungus after 48 weeks of treatment with Kerydin. About 15.3%–17.9% of participants saw an “almost complete” cure after 48 weeks of treatment.

What Are the Side Effects of Kerydin?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of using Kerydin may include:

  • Redness, swelling, and itching of the nail or surrounding skin
  • Skin peeling
  • Irritation at the site of application
  • Ingrown toenail

Severe Side Effects

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. If your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or seek immediate medical care.

Allergic reactions can occur. The signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction can include severe irritation, itching, or swelling at or near the application site.

Report Side Effects

Kerydin may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Kerydin Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For topical dosage form (solution):
    • For treatment of fungal infection of the toenails:
      • Adults and children 6 years of age and older—Apply to the affected toenail(s) once a day for 48 weeks.
      • Children younger than 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

Toenail fungus can be a complicated infection to treat. So, it’s essential to use Kerydin every day for the best results. Missing doses can make the medication less effective.

Use Kerydin once a day at about the same time each day. If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as you remember. You shouldn’t apply extra amounts of Kerydin solution to make up for a missed dose.

Overdose: What Happens If I Use Too Much Kerydin?

An overdose of Kerydin is unlikely. There have been no reports of overdosage using this medication. However, you should be aware that the Kerydin solution contains alcohol. Be careful not to store your Kerydin bottle somewhere that pets or young children could get ahold of it.

Kerydin is a topical solution that you apply directly to the infected toenail. Be careful not to get Kerydin in the mouth, eyes, or vagina. If the drug comes in contact with your skin (besides the skin surrounding your infected toenails), wipe it off with a tissue.

What Happens If I Overdose on Kerydin?

If you think you or someone else may have swallowed or overdosed on Kerydin, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or stops breathing after using Kerydin, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly and to check for any unwanted effects.

If your toenail problem does not improve or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor.

Check with your doctor right away if you have itching, swelling, redness, or irritation at the application site.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Use Kerydin?

You should not use Kerydin if you’ve had an allergic reaction to it or any of its ingredients in the past.

If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider before using Kerydin. It isn’t known if Kerydin may cause harm to a fetus.

Kerydin is not recommended for use in people who are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed. It’s unknown if the medication passes into breast milk.

What Other Medications Interact With Kerydin?

No drug interactions are known to occur with Kerydin. However, it is essential to avoid using nail polish or other nail cosmetics on the toenails treated with Kerydin. It isn't known if these products may affect how well Kerydin works.

What Medications are Similar to Kerydin?

Kerydin is an antifungal solution that you apply to toenail fungus. Other antifungal medications similar to Kerydin include:

  • Topical Jublia (efinaconazole 10% solution)
  • Topical Penlac (ciclopirox 8% nail lacquer): Penlac is a prescription-only antifungal solution that is also available in a generic version. 
  • Topical over-the-counter antifungals, such as Fungi-Nail and Kerasal: These products may take several months to see improvement and may not be effective for everyone.

The medications on the list above are similar to Kerydin in that they are topical treatments. This means you apply them directly to the infected nails. Like Kerydin, they may take up to a year of consistent use to treat the infection. These treatments are not meant to be used in combination with Kerydin. If you have questions about trying an alternative to Kerydin, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Kerydin the best treatment for toenail fungus?

    Individual results may vary with antifungal treatments, including Kerydin, which can take nearly a year to work. And in many cases, the infection still doesn't completely go away. In Kerydin's clinical trials, 6.5%–9.1% of participants were completely cured of their toenail fungus after 48 weeks of treatment, and 15.3%–17.9% of participants saw an “almost complete” cure after 48 weeks of treatment.

  • Can I use nail polish after applying Kerydin?

    While using Kerydin, you should not use nail polish or other nail products. These products may affect how well Kerydin works.

  • What should I do if Kerydin doesn’t work for me?

    If Kerydin does not work for you, ask your healthcare provider about other options, including other topical products or oral antifungal medications. Keep in mind that you’ll likely need to use Kerydin for about a year for it to work.

  • Do the side effects of Kerydin go away?

    Side effects from Kerydin are usually mild and temporary. If you and your healthcare provider decide that the side effects are too bothersome or severe to continue treatment, the drug’s side effects should go away once you stop using it.

  • Is there a lower-cost generic for Kerydin?

    Currently, there is no generic version of Kerydin available. Some insurance plans may not cover Kerydin if they consider it a cosmetic therapy. If you are looking for ways to save money, ask your healthcare provider about a free sample or check the drug manufacturer’s website to see if you’re eligible for a coupon. You may also consider asking about an oral antifungal drug like Lamisil (terbinafine).

How Can I Stay Healthy While Using Kerydin?

Toenail fungus can make you feel self-conscious or embarrassed. Keep in mind that nail infections are common and notoriously difficult to treat. For best results, try to create a routine to remember to use Kerydin around the same time each day. If you miss doses, you may not get the full benefit from the medication. Ask your healthcare provider about other treatment options if you aren't seeing improvement in your toenails within a year.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Kerydin (tavaborole) topical solution.

  2. Scher RK, Rich P, Pariser D, Elewski B. The epidemiology, etiology, and pathophysiology of onychomycosis. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2013;32(2 Suppl 1):S2-S4. doi:10.12788/j.sder.0014

By Patricia Weiser, PharmD
Patricia Weiser, PharmD, is a licensed pharmacist and freelance medical writer. She has more than 14 years of professional experience.