Not all Toenail Fungus Treatments are Equal

Not all Toenail Fungus Treatments are Equal

With the onset of warmer weather, you will no doubt be checking your feet to see if they are in good enough shape to wear sandals or flip-flops. Fungal nails may be forgotten about while tucked away in winter footwear, but you may cringe at the thought of exposing your unsightly nails for everyone to see. Unfortunately, the longer you ignore this, the greater the risk of further spread or a more serious bacterial infection.

Nails infected with fungus (Onychomycosis) may appear thickened and discoloured or friable. Men are more commonly affected than women and people with suppressed immune systems or who are diabetic are more prone to fungal nails. Around 6.5 percent of the general Canadian population have fungal nails. Current treatment options include topical ointments or creams, prescription medication, removal of the nail and laser light therapy.

A visit to a foot care specialist like Toronto-based, Sheldon H. Nadal, D.P.M. is recommended to determine the best treatment option for your nails. Other topical nail ointments have been available from Pharmacies for a while; however, just last year the FDA approved two new topical prescription drugs: Jublia and Kerydin. Unfortunately, not only is the treatment expensive over the course of a year, success rates are low—15-18 percent cure rate for Jublia and 6.5-9 percent for Kerydin. Other topical ointments have previously resulted in success rates of approximately 30 percent. So, what about the other options?

Two well-known prescription oral anti-fungal medication: Lamisil and Sporanox have been shown to be effective in about 50 percent of cases, but the drawback is the potential risk of liver toxicity over time. Removal of the affected nails eradicates the fungus but the nail bed needs to be destroyed to prevent regrowth. The final treatment option is laser therapy, which uses infra-red light to inactivate the fungus. The benefits are that it is a safe, quick treatment that doesn’t require anaesthesia and causes little or no pain.

A word of advice: prevent toenail fungus by washing feet daily, drying between toes, changing socks regularly and wearing flip-flops around pools and public dressing rooms.

 

Resources:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/11/ask-well-leaving-nail-fungus-untreated/?_r=0

http://www.webmd.com/news/20140611/nail-fungus-treatment

http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2014/07/17/fda-approves-new-topical-options-for-fighting-nail-fungus/

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2013/01/treating-toenail-fungus/index.htm

http://www.podiatrytoday.com/laser-care-for-onychomycosis-can-it-be-effective

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24050286