There are a wide range of opinions regarding what is the absolute best toenail fungus treatment options. Many claim that the simplicity of the topical solution is the most effective treatment when the infection is in either a mild or medium stage. Others believe that oral medications are the only way to eliminate nail fungus conditions once the infection has taken hold. Home remedies still are talked about and have proven effective in treating very mild cases. And now laser treatment has gained in popularity with many supporters saying the solution is quick and effective. So, how do you go about deciding what type of treatment is best for your specific fungal infection?
The truth is that there is no one perfect toenail fungus treatment that will work effectively on each and every nail fungal infection. There are a couple of thoughts that have been circulating around the medical community for years now that you should all be made aware of:
- Topical solutions are the most popular form of treatment by far but are less effective at treating very severe cases of nail fungus than their more “powerful” counterparts. There are a bunch of topical treatments available so be sure to find a product with FDA-approved anti-fungal ingredients like undecylenic acid or tolnaftate.
- Oral medications often very effective but can be very dangerous depending on the patient’s medical history. It is absolutely essential for you to consult a physician or podiatrist if you are thinking of taking an oral medication for nail fungus.
- Home remedies (the most common of which is tea-tree oil) are still used by some and are certainly the least expensive route to travel. How effective these treatments are is very much in question.
- Laser treatment is still quite new and has proven to be effective in the short-term. However, this procedure is often quite expensive and there are still some questions about whether or not a few “sessions” is enough to fully eliminate an infection.
So, here is our analysis of the three types of toenail fungus treatments and what we found to be the best product for each kind of treatment.
Through our experiences with personal stories and discussions with medical professionals, we have found that topical solutions are the safest and easiest way to cure toenail fungus infections of mild to medium strength. Although these treatments are sometimes not powerful enough to treat a very severe nail fungus infection, the good brands represent an economical way to apply quality treatment to a nail fungus infection without any assistance from a medical professional.
The reputable solutions will always have an active ingredient that is an FDA-approved anti-fungal. When using topical treatments it is essential to get the solution underneath the nail bed and deep into the cuticle in order to fight the fungus where it lives. One of the common errors that people make is simply painting a topical solution on to the nail like a nail polish. This is not only going to make the treatment time much, much longer but it also ensures that you will be wasting your money. The solution must be placed generously all around the skin of the infected nail and along the line of both the cuticle and the tip of the nail to increase the chances for really good absorption.
Another enormous plus for topical solutions is that to the best of our knowledge, they all have nearly zero potential side effects. The topical solutions are very easily applied generally with a supplied brush or by using a cotton swab or even the tip of a finger. It’s important to apply the solution with a bit of force so that if gets into the surrounding skin and doesn’t simply drip down the toe or finger it is being applied to.
Funginix has been sold exclusively online for over 6 years now and is the most well-rounded and effective topical toenail fungus treatment that we have reviewed. Although there are other FDA-approved anti-fungal elements, for some reason, we’ve found undecylenic acid in the most effective topicals. In addition, the blend of organic and homeopathic ingredients in Funginix is what probably sets it apart from other treatments in it’s class. Tea tree oil, jasmine oil, camphor and menthol are just a few of the elements that work in conjunction with the undecylenic acid to deliver a very gentle-feeling yet powerful and effective treatment. Funginix.com is one of the finest topical nail fungus treatments available.
Medical prescription treatments for onychomycosis (any kind of nail fungus infection) are often given orally. The decision on which form of treatment to use to battle nail fungus infections is dependent on several factors. Sometimes, if the fungal agents are heavily entrenched or has been in place for many years, it may be that an oral medication is the only way to fully eliminate the infection. Patient preference factors into the decision, too. In some cases, a combination of oral and topical treatments is prescribed because this can lead to a more rapid clearance of the infection and full eradication of the onychomycosis.
Because of the potential psychological and physical discomforts, patients must be very cautious when considering oral prescriptions as a toenail fungus treatment. All oral antimycotic (antifungal) treatments used for onychomycosis have the potential to damage the liver. In fact, if the patient has any history of liver disease whatsoever, oral medications for nail fungus should not be used and will not be allowed by a physician. Even without a history of liver disease, it is usually recommended that the treating physician check liver enzymes before starting oral antifungal onychomycosis treatment. For some treatments, liver function should be checked again after four weeks. Also, any sign of liver disease such as jaundice (yellow skin or whites of the eyes), dark urine, pale colored stools, upper abdominal pain, fatigue or malaise should be reported to the doctor immediately.
There are three main medications in use today and they are listed from top to bottom by popularity below:
Has become the most popular of the oral treatments. Terbinafine is given as a 250 mg pill once a day for six weeks if treating fingernails and twelve weeks if treating toenails. Pulse therapy has been effective in some cases. Pulse therapy delivers a higher overall dose but is separated by times when no drug is administered. A complete blood count and liver function tests should be performed before treatment is started and after four weeks of therapy.
Usually administered in pulse dosing. The most common treatment schedule is 200 mg orally, once a day for one week per month over three months. Itraconazole can interact with a number of other medications so you must tell your doctor about all other medications you are currently taking. Liver function tests should be performed before treatment is started and after four weeks of therapy.
Administered once per week (150 or 300 mg) until the symptoms resolve. Treatment times may be six to nine months long before results are seen. This antifungal may interact with several other medications and must be used judiciously. Fortunately no blood tests are required when using fluconazole (though they may be performed anyway).
The newest form of treatment for toenail fungus infections is laser therapy. The treatment involves actually what one would guess from the title. The infected areas are penetrated with a laser beam that allegedly makes the environment completely inhospitable for the fungal agents that cause nail fungus (dermatophytes). Since the treatment has only been around for a few years, there isn’t a clear belief among podiatrists as to whether or not this is an effective form of treatment.
Most studies have reported no adverse effects to laser treatment, but the system zaps the nail fungus with very high heat, which in theory could damage healthy tissue around the toenail. In addition, many treatments can often cost up to or over $1,000 and most medical insurances do not cover these costs.
Perhaps most disappointing is the fact that the majority of patients who tested and saw positive results from laser treatment had to return for additional treatments within 4-6 months. The idea of the “one-stop-shop” solution is evidently not the case.
However, there are some definite positives. Laser toenail fungus treatment is completely pain free. The laser toenail fungus procedure takes about 20 minutes and patients generally need between one to eight treatments in a multiple week period to significantly improve the infection. It is recommended that each patient returns to the clinic after a month or two to allow the doctor to check on the progress of the infected nail or nails. In addition, the risk of developing any infection is extremely minimal although there are few potential side effects (discussed above). When compared with powerful oral treatments that all have the potential side effects, this is certainly a big bonus.
Until more evidence is available, medical professionals and podiatrists have come to no agreement but generally suggest to sticking with more-established treatments. But it can’t be said that there haven’t been cases where laser therapy has worked wonderfully for certain clients. So unfortunately, we don’t have any rock solid advice to give as to whether or not to try laser treatment for a nail fungus infection.