Nail fungus can be hard to treat because the infection may recur. There are several different treatment options available. These include over-the-counter antifungal nail creams and ointments such as ZetaClear. However, if you have athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) along with toenail fungus you should consult your doctor for complex treatment as the athlete’s foot is treated with topical medication while nail fungus alone can be treated with both topical and oral medications.
Treatment with oral medications
The doctor may recommend an antifungal drug to treat toe nail fungus. Lamisil (terbinafine) and Sporanox (itraconazole) have shown to be the most effective oral treatments in clinical studies trials.
You will be likely prescribed oral medication if you have:
- Diabetes or other risk factors related to cellulitis;
- History of cellulitis;
- Pain or experience discomfort;
- Unsightly infection.
Such medications allow for the growth of a new nail without infection, which will slowly replace the affected nail. Normally you are advised to take medications for 1 to 3 months, but don’t expect an immediate result. You will see the final result of the treatment when the nail grows back. This may take up to six months before the infection gets eliminated completely. Repeated infections are possible if you continue to expose your toes to warm and moist environments.
Antifungal medications may have side effects which include skin rashes and even a liver damage. Patients with liver disease or heat failure are normally recommended different toenail fungus treatment.
Other fungus treatments
The dermatologist may suggest the following toe nail fungus treatments which depend on severity of your infection:
Antifungal lacquer. Mild to moderate nail fungal infections can be treated with an antifungal nail polish Penlac (ciclopirox). You apply it onto an infected nail or nails and surrounding skin daily just like normal polish. The substance gets absorbed into the nail killing the fungi bacteria. After a week, wipe the nails clean with alcohol and repeat the process. Regular use of Penlac has demonstrated great results in treatment of toe nail fungus infections.
Topical medications. Your doctor may prefer to prescribe topical medications in combination with oral medications. He may advise you to use over-the-counter creams with lotion based on urea that speeds up absorption. The doctor may also cut the surface of your nail to decrease the infected area which requires treatment and increase the effectiveness of topical medications.
Surgery. In severe cases of fungal infections which become painful, you may be suggested to remove the nail. Once the nail is removed, a new nail free of infection begins to grow in its place. Although, it will come in very slowly and may take up to 12 months to replace the original nail. Surgery can be used in conjunction with ciclopirox polish for the nail bed treatment.
The latest nail fungus treatment available today, that proved to be successful, is laser therapy (photodynamic therapy). During the therapy the infected nail is treated with an acid and then irradiated with intense light. The new treatment may not be available in your area…