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Tinea pedis is the most common dermatophytosis requiring topical antifungals for at least 1–4 weeks. To determine the effectiveness of a novel topical single dose formulation of terbinafine (film forming solution-FFS) in the treatment of tinea pedis, 344 outpatients from 43 dermatological centres in France and Bulgaria suffering from tinea pedis with possible extension to soles confirmed by mycological examination (direct and culture) were evaluated for efficacy of terbinafine 1%, 5%, 10% FFS in a randomised double blind vehicle controlled parallel group dose finding study. Evaluations were carried out at baseline, 1 and 6 weeks after a single application of FFS. Effective treatment rate based on negative mycology (direct and culture) and minimal signs and symptoms (two or less with only mild recorded) was measured at week 6. Effective treatment rates at week 6 with terbinafine 1%, 5% and 10% FFS were 66%, 70%, 61% compared with 18% with placebo. All three active preparations were shown to be significantly superior to placebo (P < 0.001). Terbinafine 1% and 5% FFS were shown to be non-inferior to terbinafine 10% FFS. Terbinafine 1% FFS is an effective, safe dose for the treatment of tinea pedis. This novel product represents a significant advance with the enhanced compliance and convenience that it offers.