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December 30, 2019

Suffering from foot infections, open sores, diabetic ulcers or other painful conditions? Don’t get soaked by the latest therapy scheme.

Medicare recently warned against using prescription antibiotics or antifungal drugs in foot baths. It says these treatments are ineffective. In some cases, a prescription foot bath may even harm you. For example, if you have a diabetic ulcer on your foot, soaking it may delay or prevent healing. Also, absorbing drugs through an open wound could cause you to become resistant to the drugs.

Prescription foot soak programs are usually sold by companies that supply the drugs. They typically use telemarking campaigns to find customers. Your doctor is not involved.

These companies claim prescription foot baths can be used for preventive care. Some claim these prescription foot baths support other medical treatments. Soaking your feet in prescription medications is not worth the possible risks, though. 

Doctors often do prescribe antibiotics and antifungals for foot ailments. A person can inject, swallow or rub the drug onto their skin. But using these drugs dissolved in water as a foot soak is not approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Also, pharmacists don't normally dispense these drugs for use in a foot bath. So, it’s possible the directions from the pharmacy printout could be confusing. That might lead to an accidental misuse and even overdose of the drugs.

Medicare says these prescription foot soaks are “investigative and experimental” at best. As such, Medicare Part D doesn't cover these drugs when used in foot baths. That means you’ll pay the full cost for these treatments.

Here's a list of drugs found in questionable foot soak treatments:

• Budesonide

• Ciclopirox Olamine

• Ciprofloxacin HCI

• Clindamycin HCI

• Clindamycin Phosphate (Topical)

• Clobetasol Propionate

• Clotrimazole

• Daptomycin

• Doxycycline Hyclate

• Econazole Nitrate

• Erythromycin (Acne Aid)

• Fluocinonide

• Gentamicin Sulfate (Ophth)

• Gentamicin Sulfate (Topical)

• Iitraconazole

• Ketoconazole

• Ketoconazole (Topical)

• Linezolid

• Meropenem

• Mupirocin

• Nystatin (topical) Oxiconazole Nitrate

• Streptomycin Sulfate

• Sulfacetamide Sodium

• Terbinafine HCI

• Tetracycline HCI

• Tobramycin

• Tobramycin Sulfate

• Vancomycin HCI

• Voriconazole


Don’t get caught paying out-of-pocket for a therapy that may not help and could harm you. Avoid the prescription foot soak remedies.