Terbinafine is an antifungal drug (a drug that kills fungi). It’s used to treat infections that are caused by fungi, including those that affect fingernails and toenails. It doesn’t change the way that damaged nails look. But, by stopping the fungus, it allows new nails to grow normally. The brand name for terbinafine pills is Lamisil.
You’ll need to take terbinafine pills every day for at least three months.
Studies show that terbinafine is safe to take for most people. This includes people who have diabetes or HIV, and people who’ve had a transplant. If you take terbinafine pills every day for 12 weeks, there’s a 6 in 10 chance you’ll get rid of your fungal nail infection. If you take the drug for 24 weeks, you’re even more likely to get rid of your fungal nail infection. Nearly 9 in 10 people who take terbinafine for 24 weeks got rid of their fungal nail infection.Terbinafine pills appear to work better than itraconazole pills and griseofulvin pills.
All antifungal pills can cause diarrhea, a rash or breathing problems. But not many people get these problems. They are usually mild and go away when you stop taking the pills.
Terbinafine can also cause taste, smell or vision problems. These effects are often mild and not many people get them. They should go away when you stop taking the pills.
You may be slightly more likely to get side effects if you’re older (over 60). One study found that among 30 people over 60 years old, 18 had side effects from the drug. These side effects were classed as mild or moderate. And no one in the study stopped their treatment because of these reactions.
Sometimes people get more serious side effects. These are rare but it is important to know about them. Terbinafine can cause liver problems and heart problems. Terbinafine can cause liver problems, so you’ll need to have regular tests to make sure your liver is working normally. Also Terbinafine may cause heart failure.