Tavaborole (Topical)

Tavaborole is a topical medicine which is prescribed for cases of fungal toenail infection.


Tavaborole is distributed and prescribed under the brand name Kerydin in the US. It is a topical solution which can only be obtained through a doctor's prescription. The medicine is used almost exclusively to treat Onychomycosis, a stubborn fungal toenail infection which affects both the nail and the nail bed. It is often prescribed for a duration of several weeks and it's important that patients continue use of the medicine to the end of this time frame, even when symptoms appear to have healed. In rarer cases, Onychomycosis can affect the fingernails and Tavaborole may be also prescribed. Sufferers of fungal toenail infection may experience brittle, hard and/or yellowing toenails.

Tavaborole is an intercellular antifungal medicine. It is made with Boron-based molecules which penetrate individual cells and kills the fungal bacteria whilst inhibiting the growth of new fungal bacteria. The affected part of the toenail needs to grow out naturally in order to allow a healthy nail to appear. Toenails tend to grow at a rate of around 1 mm per month. The medicine is therefore prescribed for a period of several weeks, in many cases up to 48 weeks.

Great care should be taken when applying this medicine. The medicine is flammable and should be applied carefully with clean hands. Hands should also be washed after application.

Condition/s treated

  • Tavaborole is used in the treatment of Onychomycosis, a fungal toenail infection that affects the nail and the skin of the nail underbed.

Type of medicine

  • Intracellular Antifungal

Side Effects

In addition to the desired effects of any medicine, it may also cause one or more unwanted effects. Not all side effects may occur, but if one or more do, it's important to inform a healthcare professional.

Consult with your doctor immediately should any of the following side effects occur:

  • Any blistering, itching, pain, stinging, burning or redness at the site of application
  • Signs of an ingrown toenail

There's a chance that further side effects which are not listed here can also occur in some patients. If you notice any additional or different side effects, don't hesitate to consult with your healthcare professional.

Always speak to your doctor for medical advice regarding side effects. Side effects can also be reported to the FDA on 1-800-FDA-1088.


The dose of Tavaborole which is prescribed will differ for different patients. Always follow your doctor's orders first and also the directions found on the label. The following information refers to the standard or average doses of this medicine. Should your dose be different, do not alter it unless instructed by your doctor.

The amount of medicine you take will depend on the strength. Furthermore, the number of daily doses, the time between doses and the duration that you take the medicine all depend on the medical problem for which you have been prescribed this medicine.

Kerydin solution is made with 5% Tavaborole.

Average dosage (topical application of solution form) in the treatment of fungal infection of toenails:

  • Adults: To apply to affected toenail(s) one time daily for 48 weeks.
  • Children: The dose and use must be determined by a doctor.

If you miss your dose, try to apply it as soon as possible. In the case that it is almost time for the following dose, then skip the missed dose and return to the regular dosing schedule.

It's essential to use this medicine as directed by your doctor. Never use more of this medicine than you were prescribed and never use it more often than directed. Furthermore, never use Tavaborole for a longer duration than your doctor prescribed.

Your prescription should be accompanied by a patient information leaflet. Always read and follow these instructions. Direct any queries or questions to your doctor.

This medicine is intended for use on the toenails and the surrounding skin only. It should never be used in the eyes, mouth, or vagina.

To use:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before AND after use of Tavaborole.
  • Apply solution to the affected toenail/s using the dropper tip and let it gently spread to the entire surface of the toenail and to the surrounding skin. The medicine should also be applied under the tip of the toenail.
  • Toenails must be both clean and dry when medicine is applied. You should wipe away excess solution from surrounding skin. Allow the medicine to dry completely after application.

In order to allow the infection to clear up completely, it is essential that you continue to use the medicine for the full term of treatment, even in the case that your symptoms begin to clear up after a just few days or weeks. Patients should note that fungal or yeast infections can be slow to completely clear up - this means that you may need to continue use of this medicine over a course of several weeks or even months. If you cease use of this medicine too early then your symptoms can return. This is also why it's so important not to miss any doses.


Drug Interactions

Sometimes certain medicines cannot be used together at all as their interactions may affect the desired results. In some cases, two different medicines can be used together even in the case that an interaction might occur. In either of these cases, your doctor may want to alter the dose of one or both your medications or may advise you of other precautions. It's important to tell your doctor or healthcare provider about any other prescription or non-prescription (over-the-counter) medicines that you are currently taking.

Other Interactions

In the case of some medicines, food, tobacco, and alcohol can interact and affect the results of the medicine. It's important to discuss tobacco, alcohol and dietary habits with your doctor before taking any medicine, including Tavaborole.


Pregnant or breastfeeding patients should discuss this before using the medicine.

It is imperative that your doctor checks your progress during regular visits. This allows the doctor to check whether the medicine is working properly and to assess the appearance of any further problems or unwanted effects that could potentially be caused by the medicine.

Should your toenail problem worsen, or simply not improve over time, then always consult with your doctor or your health professional.

Consult your doctor immediately should you experience any swelling, itching, redness or any type of irritation at the site of application.

Check with your doctor before you use nail products such as nail varnish during the course of this treatment.

Tavaborole is a flammable medicine. Never use near sources of heat such as an open flame or whilst you are smoking.


Store your Tavaborole prescription in an airtight container and at room temperature. Keep the medicine away from sources of heat, moisture and away from direct light. Prevent the medicine from freezing.

As with all medicines, it's essential that you keep Tavaborole out of the reach of children.

Do not retain out-of-date medicine or any medicine that is no longer needed, even when it still has shelf life.

Always consult your healthcare professional of how best to dispose of any medicine that you don't use.

Dispose of any unused topical Tavaborole after three months from the date you first inserted the dropper. Your doctor may need to prescribe more Tavaborole in this case.


Topical application Tavaborole (5%) comes in solution form in a small bottle. It is a prescription-only medicine that is prescribed by doctors for patients with the fungal toenail infection, Onychomycosis. This fungal infection affects the toenail by causing it to go hard, brittle and yellow and also affects the skin of the nail underbed. In some cases, fungal infections can affect the fingernails.

Tavaborole is an intercellular antifungal medicine with boron-based molecules, which penetrates individual cells and kills the bacteria whilst inhibiting the growth of new fungal bacteria. The affected part of the toenail has to grow out naturally to allow a healthy nail to appear. Toenails usually grow at a rate of 1 mm per month, which is why this medicine is often prescribed for around 48 weeks.

It is usually applied daily for several weeks and use should often continue beyond the time that symptoms have appeared to clear, to ensure that the infection has cleared up. Patients should always use this medicine for the length of time the doctor has instructed them too. All bottles of Tavaborole should be disposed of after the treatment has finished, when the use by date has passed or when the dropper has been inserted more than three months ago.

Care when applying this medicine should be taken. Hands should be washed ahead and after use. Because the medicine is flammable, care should be taken to avoid smoking or being near sources of heat or fire whilst applying.

Last Reviewed:
December 24, 2017
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
Content Source: