Nail fungus infections are among the more stubborn types of infections a human being can run into. There are many types of treatments suggested but some are more effective than others depending on a large variety of factors. The severity of the infection, how long you’ve had the infection without treating it and what kind of fungal infection you have are all variables to consider when seeking a cure for toenail fungus.
Nail fungus is scientifically known as onychomycosis. It is caused by a type of fungus known as dermatophyte which invades the nails through a break in the skin. The fungus feeds on keratin, the main component of the hard shell or the nail plate.
Fungal infections are often tough to treat because the nail plate inadvertently harbors and protects the infecting agent. For this reason, it is sometimes recommended to treat the disease from within using oral prescription medication. As with most prescription drugs, doctors order lab tests on the diseased nail either through fungal culture, KOH preparation or nail biopsy in order to determine the type of infection. From there, the doctors will determine the appropriate course of treatment. It is often suggested that for heavy infections, the best course of action to take is consult a podiatrist about a prescription oral medication. But are these type of treatments safe? Let’s examine the three most popular treatments…
1. Sporanox (Itraconazole)
Sporanox is a capsule administered to patients suffering from different fungal infections including onychomychosis of the toenails and fingernails. It is usually taken by patients for at least 3 months although the effect may be seen in as much as 9 months up to a whole year.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a pubic advisory on the potential danger of Sporanox to overall health. It has been found to have contraindications on people with congestive heart failure or CHF as well as with liver malfunction. Thus, physicians order several laboratory tests and conduct research on a person’s medical history prior to prescribing the drug.
2. Lamisil (Terbinafine)
Lamisil is the most doctor prescribed medication for nail fungal infection. It is in tablet form and Lamisil has about the same success rate as that of Sporanox although costs relatively less. It is usually taken for 6 weeks by patients with fingernail infections or for 3 months for patients with toenail infections.
The FDA issued an advisory on the potential danger of Lamisil tablets on liver health. Thus, prior to issuing prescriptions and 6 weeks into the course of treatment, administering physicians require their patients to take liver functions tests to ensure safety.
There is also a topical variety of Lamisil which can be used in conjunction with the oral treatment for faster result. Lamisil topical treatment is excluded from the FDA’s advisory concerning Lamisil’s adverse effect on liver health.
3. Diflucan (Fluconazole)
Diflucan is an antifungal drug primarily prescribed for treatment of infections due to candida such as vaginal, esophageal and oropharyngeal, as well as for cryptococcal meningitis. The FDA has not yet approved its use for nail fungus treatment although a study shows that it performed significantly more effective compared to placebo treatment of the disease. It is administered in mild to moderate infections for duration of 3 to 6 months, and in moderate to severe infections for duration of 6 to 9 months.
Diflucan is also potentially harmful to liver health. Thus patients are advised by their doctors to take a liver functions test prior to taking the medication. There have also been reported rare cases of anaphylaxis and skin rashes in patients who have taken the drug.
The conclusion here is to be very thorough and discuss ALL of the possible side effects with your physician before choosing an oral treatment. Be sure that your immune system is in solid health and we suggest that you exhaust all of you other toenail fungus treatment options before going the oral mediation route.