Skip to content
in this discussion +71 following
jonathan21989 jonathan21989

Terbinafine Loss of taste

I had taken terbinafine for about six weeks for a toenail infection when my sense of taste pretty much completely disappeared over the course of 3-4 days.  I have a vague salty/bitter taste in my mouth, but nothing tastes of anything....sweet, salt, bitter...all gone.  I can put pure sugar on my tongue and not taste a thing.  That refreshing zing you get from toothpaste?  Gone.  Everything tastes grey at best, or just nasty at worst.

The infection responded well to terbinafine - I have about 4mm clear nail now, but I've decided to stop taking it as nothing is worth this cost.  I've switched to Loceryl lacquer but I don't even care about the nail anymore.  I just desperately want to be able to taste things normally again.  I can completely understand how this can cause weight loss and depression.  My advice would be to avoide terbinafine.

231 Replies

  • mirving mirving jonathan21989

    Hi Jonathan, you may see some of my own comments and running diary when I took terbanifine, awful drug....I'm sorry you have lost your taste, its very upsetting and distressing and as you I tried the usual, salt, vinegar, grapfruit, only to be dissapointed. I took approx 7-8 weeks for my taste to return and it was a total waiting game but luckily it does eventually come back. I used to eat strong curry which I could just taste, my sweet sense was the final bit to come back. I'm sorry I cant be more helpful but it is just a waiting game, I think GP's should realliy hammer home this apparent rare side efffect as when you lose taste you have no idea how important it is unless of course its you or I who have/ are suffering from it. take care, hope its speedy and less than 8 weeks for you. smile

    • jonathan21989 jonathan21989 mirving

      Hi Mirving -

      Yes, I'd seen your other posts.  I think I just had to get it off my chest - this really is miserable.  Funny thing is that it sounds sort of minor...I don't think I would have appreciated how awful it is if a friend were to try to describe it to me.

      I'm glad I stopped taking it within a few days of the taste thing arising... Perhaps it will clear up more quickly than it would have done if I had tried to bear with it.  You're absolutely right that GPs should discuss this, however rare it is.  The much more common GI upset isn't nice for the people it happens to, but this really is god-awful and I probably woulnd't have started if I'd known this was a possibility.

      Anyway, fingers crossed it returns.  Thanks for your supportive reply.

    • debbytaylor22 debbytaylor22 mirving

      I took Terbanifine for 5 weeks...stopped as soon as I realized my loss of taste. It is now 4 weeks later...going crazy...besides my loss of taste which hopefully will come mouth constantly has the taste of you or anyone have any ideas on how to get rid of this awful taste in my mouth?....

  • andrew1672 andrew1672 jonathan21989

    Jonathan,  my loss of taste was from Terbinafine as well. It has been about 7 weeks since onset of symptoms & stopped taking the drug. I was wondering if you ever regained your full sense of taste. Your response would be greatly appreciated.  BTW I haven't seen it in any of the postings but from my research I have found that your chances of losing taste are much higher on this drug the older you are and or if you have a low BMI, which were two strikes against me.

    • jonathan21989 jonathan21989 andrew1672

      Hi Andrew

      I think my sense of taste is nearly back to normal.  I'd say 90%?  I stopped taking it only a few days after the symptoms appeared, which was I think around the middle/end of May.  It was dreadful, really.  But like others on here have said, each main 'flavour'...salty, bitter, sweet, came back slowly, one after the other.  Sweet was the last to reappear.  That was probably about 3-4 weeks ago.  It seems like I can taste pretty much everything now, and discriminate between subtle flavours, but not quite back to normal yet.  It's like the intensity is all just turned down a bit.  The really horrible persistent tastes in my mouth - salt, even though I couldn't taste salty things, etc, lasted about a month, and then over the following month things started getting back to normal.  Like I said, not all the way back to normal yet, but nearly.  It doesn't help at all, but hang in really will get better.

      Interesting about age and BMI as factors.  I'm 44 and my BMI is about 21....I wonder how that compares to you?

    • dee93947 dee93947 andrew1672

      Andrew --

      How old are you?  I'm going through the same awful situation in May of 2017.  I'm 56 years old.  I think my BMI is probably 26. I weighed 152 lbs. before this happen and now I'm 145. Quit the Lamsil medication after 5 weeks, exactly. And it's been three weeks with only some improvement.  Overall, I still have a terrible taste in my mouth most of the time and can mostly only taste very hot or very cold food/liquids.  I can eat cereal, fried chicken and a chargrilled burger. But no bread, crackers, cheese or anything sweet.  How long did it take you to get your taste back?, assuming you can remember from three years ago.

  • andrew1672 andrew1672 jonathan21989

    Hi Johnathan, thank you for taking time to reply to my post. It sounds like my recovery is on par with the timing of yours.  I' stoped taking the medication June 30 and am now mildly tasting some foods.  Finding this forum and your post was certainly encouraging to me.  I now believe that I will make a full recovery which sure feels better than the total freak out that one first experiences with this side effect. I am very much looking forward to the sweet sense returning since it is apart of so many foods. 

    My BMI is 23 and I am almost 66 years old so my risk factor was quite high. Although this is a miserable thing to go through I believe that I will certainly appreciate the pleasure of tasting, never again take prescribed medications without researching them first and I sure am more thankful for the recuperative processes that God built into our bodies. Thanks again for sharing your encouraging experience. 

    • jonathan21989 jonathan21989 andrew1672

      Hi Andrew -

      Not at all.  I'm glad it helped because I *really* freaked out as well.  It is a horrid horrid experience that I think you have to experience yourself to understand how awful it is.

      It's funny you mentioned sweet - that's the one I missed the most as well.  Not because I have a huge sweet tooth, but it's really part of the, I don't know, freshness and enjoyment of things like fruit juices.  You're right about appreciating things.  I can't believe how much more attention I pay to the taste of things now....really savouring things.  Maybe it did take losing it to realise how important and pleasurable it is.

      Glad you're making a good recovery.  I hope it continues.  All the best.


    • mirving mirving jonathan21989

      Its nice to see everyone helping on here. I am amazed at how much of a problem this so called potential small side effect causes so many of us. The pain, suffering, depression is awful. Hang in there everyone, taste does return, it was the worst 7 wks of my life, 😊

  • laura05231 laura05231 jonathan21989

    Hi Jonathan,

    Have your taste buds returned?

    • jonathan21989 jonathan21989 laura05231

      Hi Laura!

      Yes, I think everything is back to normal.  It's a bit difficult to say whether I'm back to 100% as having everything completely disappear makes it difficult to benchmark, but yes, I think everything is back to normal.

      If it's happening to you, hang in there, your taste WILL come back.  I know how distressing it is, but given time, it'll come back.

      Good luck


    • laura05231 laura05231 jonathan21989

      Thanks Jonathan! I have received more info on this forum than my doctor. I am starting my fourth week without taste buds and I know I have a long road ahead of me. However, I ate a piece of toast yesterday and I could

      taste the butter! Very mild, but it's something! Thanks again!

    • dee93947 dee93947 laura05231


      Could you tell me how long it took you to regain your sense of taste?  And how long did you take the Lamasil before you quit it?  I've contacted several physicians and not been able to find anyone in the city where I live who has gone through this.  I noticed this happened to you 3 years ago. But it's happening to me in May of 2017. And I'm starting to feel like I'm going crazy! I'm headed into my fourth week without much sense of taste. I can taste a few things such as hot/cold tea, green (vege/fruit) smoothies from the Juice Bar, hamburger, chicken and flavorful soups such as ham/white bean with veges and strong chicken broth.  But I can't taste chocolate or any sweets. Nor can I taste things like bread, cheese, peanut butter or crackers.  On top of the loss of flavors (sugar, salt), I also constantly have a sour taste in my mouth as though I have been sucking on citrus candy.  I've been trying to combat the taste with Biotene and hard candy.  But it only helps a little.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.  I'm very frightening by this medical predicament.

    • allison96463 allison96463 dee93947

      Hi dee

      I went through this around Christmas time 2016 I took lamisil for 5 weeks with no issues then literally overnight my taste completely disappeared. It started to come back gradually after about 7 weeks of being off lamisil, was around 10 weeks before I got my total taste back. I had all the things you have described, a very worrying time but your taste will come back. If I can help in any way just let me know, Allison

    • dee93947 dee93947 allison96463

      What would help me more anything (I think) is to be able to talk to a real person about all of this!  Unfortunately, we are not able to do that through this media outlet.  I have not been able to find anyone (in my age group-57, BMI, 19-24) where I live who has experienced this. How old are you? Do you know your BMI? (that seems to be a factor) and is it safe to assume that you quit the lamasil as soon as you noticed the taste change? I stopped it the day I noticed the taste change.  My internist said she had a 70 year old patient who has gone through this.  It took him two months to rebound but he was also on the Lamisil for about two or three months. I was only on it for five weeks.   He also complained of a metallic mouth like you get with chemo treatment.  Mine is not metallic.  Was yours? I would describe my taste issue as virtually no taste of sugar, a slight taste of salt and slightly more sour taste. And nothing tastes normal.  I also often have a salty or sour/hot taste in my mouth which is extremely annoying.  Did you experience that? I've been using Biotene and sucking on hard candy to help.  But it offers little relief.  Thank you so much for responding.  Thank God for websites like this that provide opportunities for people to learn about the ill effects of some drugs.  Look forward to hearing back. 

    • thomas99726 thomas99726 allison96463

      Be Careful of these Athletes Foot and nail fungi treatments. I, in the UK took Daktarin for both diseases and after two applications I lost most of m voice, completely lost my taste bus and three teeth. I stopped this meds and all meds and got my taste back 2 years later. Still have Athletes Foot and a squeeky strained voice. After two yeas I have applied Lamsil which reduced the inflamation on my toes but then I read that Lamsil. terbinafine and Sporanox were all guilty of our saide effects so I have given uo using these and I no longer Trust my HNS Doctors in the UK. Be careful.


    • allison96463 allison96463 dee93947

      Hi dee

      I'm 39 and bmi 22, I took lamisil for 5 weeks and stopped as soon as I lost my taste. Initially I had a salty taste constantly in my mouth for probably about a month, this eventually subsided but still no taste, savoury were the first tastes to come back, sweet stuff took the longest. I felt like it would never come back and then after around 10 weeks just suddenly started to taste fruit again. This has to be one of the worst experiences I have been through. I read somewhere that zinc supplements helped so i took those after about 8 weeks, two weeks later my taste returned however I think this was just coincidence. Your taste will return

    • dee93947 dee93947 allison96463

      Me, too - on the worse experiences I have ever been through and I've been through cancer treatments!!  But I at least knew what to expect with chemo side effects and the metallic mouth only lasted about a week after treatment. I immediately started taking zinc and another drug, alpha lipoic acid.  Both of which are recommended in medical journals and by some physicians.  They definitely can't hurt you.  And I do credit the zinc for what little bit of taste I have recouped.   Thank you for your encouragement.  I remain concerned but hopeful.

    • diannep diannep dee93947

      After 6 weeks of lamisil (terbinafine), suddenly lost all sense of taste in early May 2017. I'm 67, BMI 24. Stopped med the next day. Everything tastes horrible, even water! After 1 week, water is 50% better. Drinking lots of water (urine is clear) in the hope of getting this toxin out of my system asap. I don't have a metallic taste, it's a horribly bland after-taste that also makes my stomach feel queasy after trying to eat. I have a constant thick feeling in my mouth & the back of my throat, no matter how much I gargle or brush teeth. Lost 4# in last 8 days. Bread, cheese, butter, peanut butter, crackers, fruit, & anything sweet are the worst. One thing that's OK is plain mashed potatoes. Will try soup & broth tomorrow. I totally understand your frustration, this is a very dibilitating experience that I wouldn't wish on anyone. We really take for granted our sense of taste & never could imagine how terrible it is without it. Doctor never warned me about this & now she prescribed a topical lacquer. Only have mild toenail fungus. Should have prescribed that first! Not looking forward to 2 months of this, but hope plenty of water helps. Good luck!

    • kim86066 kim86066 dee93947

      I am currently experiencing the same no taste problems after being on Lamisil for 5 weeks. Discontinued taking it May 5, 2017. I have the "salty" taste in my mouth and nothing helps!!!!  Hard to eat when everything is like chewing cardboard. It's very depressing and so wished I had never even heard of this drug. Do you have any satisfaction from anything?

    • dee93947 dee93947 kim86066

      All of us who have been through this, FEEL YOU PAIN and disappointment, frustration and depression.  I'm headed into week seven since quitting the drug, April 23 and taking it for five weeks prior to that.  I can taste more foods and almost all liquids (shakes, smoothies, tea, italian soda, San Pellegrino flavored sodas, juices, Boost/Ensure -- coffee is okay but not as good as normal).  But I'm still dealing with weird mouth experiences.  I seem to vaccilate between a dry mouth and a sour mouth.  Sorry about the salty mouth!  I think that typically happens more in the beginning.  My best advice is to start with liquids.  Try smoothies (fruit and vege), home made milkshakes (fruit/veges with ice cream/yogurt-Kifir drink) and nutritional drinks.  At any rate, if my experience is like others, you can usually taste liquids before solid food.  I've found that the taste of a lot of bread (sandwich style, toast, biscuits) and sweet items (donuts, cookies) is still bland. And thanks to the bad tastes in my mouth (dry/sour), other foods are still somewhat altered.  This is truly a horrible experience. And my heart  and prayers go out to you.  Are you taking a zinc supplement?  You could also try an antioxidant support supplement (over the counter) called Alpha Lipoic Acid.  But FIRST go to your internist or general practictioner.  If they are not familar with this reaction to Lamasil, encourage them strongly to study up. I think it's ridiculous that so few physicians even know about this debiliating side effect.   Other solid foods to try out in the beginning include: hamburger or cheeseburger (no bun!) with mustard, fried chicken and hearty/flavorful soups.  I lived off a ham and white bean soup for a week!  It tasted so good even when nothin else had any flavor.  I think the key is to find very strong flavored foods and drinks.  By the way, soda pop typically doesn't take good so I wouldn't even bother trying.  It's also not healthy so that's another reason to avoid it.   Keep me posted!  Again, I know exactly how you feel. And I have wished desperately that I could find someone local to speak with in person about this experience.  But to no avail, so far.  Neither physicians or pharmacists have been any help.  Only this sight has provided any real encouragement or guidance.

    • dee93947 dee93947 allison96463

      Hi Allison --- I'm on track with taste coming back during this week, week #6. What I'm concerned about is the wacky tastes and sensations that are still going on in my mouth.  Do you recall if you experienced dry mouth or a sour taste when you were in week 6 and/or 7?   It comes and goes. And it actually went away for a few days during week 4 or 5.  I was so hopeful that I'd never experience it again.  But this drug doesn't seem to want to let loose!  It tends to interfere with the enjoyment of the solid foods I'm now able to eat.  So I feel like I've taken two steps forward but one step back. Hope my description  of the recent issue makes sense.  I'm using Biotene and ACT mouthwash each day -- you can take Biotene up to five times a day, but it doesn't help that much no matter how much I take it. I've also tried rolaids and I'm still taking a zinc and alpha lipoic acid supplement, which are recommended by physicians and medical journals for regaining the taste buds.  I'm thinking of dropping the alpha lipoic acid to see if that helps with the dry mouth and sour taste.   Thanks!!

    • brent42485 brent42485 dee93947

      Hi Dee. I am so glad that by reading your experince this side effect still continues to this day. I am at day 45 of taking Terbinafine. I have what all of you have, taste almost gone. Today I stopped taking it. I await of when this gets better. The whole thing is a real drag. I hope this gets better for all of us who are suffering.

    • thomas99726 thomas99726 dee93947

      In the UK I was prescibed DAKTARIN  CREAM to treat Nail Fungus. After two treatments I lossed my taste buds. Everything I ate felt slimy and greasy! I immediatly stoped taking the DAKTARIN and was given DAKTARIN ORAL GEL to reduce my swollen lips, tougue and loose teeth. I Lost four teeth and the Dentice said to me not to come back for any dentistry till my mouth was heald. I regained gradually my taste buds over two years. The mouth Gel cleared my lips, then my gums and gradually from the tip of my tougue backwrds till it got to my tonsils.As it progressed backwards along my tongue i could feel a raging resistance as the el worked backwards. I stopped at the tonsils as I was afraid the gel was pushing down into my lungs I have had a croaky old throat now for three years. I talk indistinctly and high pitched and strained. When the gel seemed to threaten my lungs I went back to my Doctor with this story and he gave me a new presciption, the usual indecipherable hieroglyphics. I got the prescription from the Chemist and It was for DAKTARIN ORAL GEL! I took ie back to him and he just look blakly at me. Imagine that stuff getting into my lungs - a death sentence. In the UK we do not sue Doctors even though what was in my mind was more terminal. Seems too much like a paralel don't you think? 

      Do not come to the UK for help, I think they all have an affiliatship with their local  mortician​ an body donors.


    • donnajs donnajs brent42485

      Hi Brent I went through this 3 years ago.  Took Terbinafine and on day 10 lost my taste and instead got a horrible bitter taste in my mouth.   Stopped taking the medication immediately and called my doctor and pharmacist who had NEVER heard of it.  Thought since I stopped taking it so early my taste would come back right away.  It was 16 Long weeks before it came back.  The worst part was the constant bitterness in my mouth.  I lived on Listerine strips which gave me canker sores in my mouth.  I am going to a new doctor and was taking metformin and now have gotten the exact same problem.  I can't believe I have to go through this again!  I don't know how they relate to each other than they both have the word "hydrochloride" after them - maybe that is the part that is affecting everyone's taste?  So, I think in the future any drug that has that listed, I'm not taking!

    • npraox npraox donnajs

      hey i have a similar story to you except mine is from, peridex a mouthwash, im on week 6 and i still cant taste everything right. i can taste most things but some foods are off, its hard to say if its getting better or worse but im getting worried ill never get mine back.

      I never lost all my taste but I did notice some of my taste is muffled, this is really terrible. some people said it took them 9 months from using Peridex mouthwash, some people said years, some people said 2 weeks some people said a month. This is really driving me crazy, even though I didnt take lamisil like you guys Im suffering from peridex, a mouthwash, i guess its pretty strong. I only used it 4-5 times. Im really scared it wont come back..


Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.