Poor Antifungal Coverage for Onychomycosis in a Cross-Sectional Analysis of Medicaid Formularies

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  • 1 Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY.
  • | 2 Weill Cornell Medicine, Department of Dermatology, New York, NY.


Background: Onychomycosis is the most common nail disease seen in clinical practice. Medication safety, severity of disease, co-morbidities, concomitant medications, patient age, and cost are all important considerations when treating onychomycosis. Since cost may affect treatment decisions, we sought to analyze Medicaid formulary coverage of onychomycosis antifungals.

Methods: Public state Medicaid formularies were searched for coverage of FDA approved onychomycosis medications and off-label oral fluconazole. Total drug cost for a single great toenail was calculated using National Average Drug Acquisition Cost. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to compare coverage and cost, mycological cure rate, and complete cure rate.

Results: Oral terbinafine and off-label fluconazole were widely covered for onychomycosis treatment. There was poor coverage of oral itraconazole and topical ciclopirox, and no coverage of topical efinaconazole and tavaborole without step-edits or prior authorization. There was a significant negative correlation between medication coverage and cost (r = −0.758, p= 0.040). There was no correlation between medication coverage and mycologic (r = 0.548, p = 0.339) and complete (r = 0.768, p = 0.130) cure rates.

Conclusions: There is poor Medicaid coverage of antifungals for the treatment of onychomycosis, with step-edits and prior authorization based on cost rather than treatment safety and efficacy. We recommend involving podiatrists and dermatologists in developing criteria for insurance approval of onychomycosis treatments.

Corresponding author: Shari R. Lipner MD, PhD, 1305 York Avenue, NY, NY 10021. (E-mail: shl9032@med.cornell.edu)