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Is Toenail Fungus Medicine Dangerous

Toenail Fungus Prescription Medications

Are Pills For Nail Fungus Dangerous?

Sometimes prescription medications are needed to treat a toenail infection that just wont go away with natural remedies or over-the-counter medication in a few months. In this case, prescription-strength antifungal medication can eradicate stubborn onychomycosis.

Topical medications often are effective in treating mild to moderate toenail fungus. Topical solutions may include medicated nail polishes or liquid medications. Loprox , Penlac , Kerydin , and Jublia are among the top prescription drugs for toenail fungus.

Oral medications can come in capsules, tablets, or liquid. Some common prescriptions are Diflucan , Lamisil , Onmel , and Sporanox .

How To Spot Toenail Fungus

You will know you have toenail fungus if you identify the following signs:

  • Distorted toenail that is somewhat detached from the nail bed
  • Thickened toenail
  • Foul odor coming off from the infected nail
  • Scaling nails
  • Yellow or white streaks on the nail bed
  • Yellow spots on the nail, especially at the bottom
  • Loss of nail

Some other infections might mimic these symptoms, but they might not be an actual fungal infection. To make sure if its a fungal infection or some other infection portraying similar symptoms, your doctor might scrape off a bit of your nail surface with a file or trim it and send the sample to the lab for further analysis.

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Other Options For Toenail Fungus Infections

Removal of the toenail is only used when just one nail is infected, but it does work. Light therapy and lasers are also being studied as possible toenail fungus treatments. Laser therapy has shown promise when combined with oral or topical antifungals. A multicenter trial investigating the efficacy of a device, the Pinpointe FootLaser, is currently underway, so stay tuned to that.

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Verywell Health / Sabrina Jiang

Toenail fungus is a common fungal condition that often starts after a rash on the foot spreads to the nails. When mild, it looks like white and yellow spots growing under the nail beds. But if left untreated, the fungus can grow severely by hardening the nails and spreading to other toes.

The fungus often begins in the form of athlete’s foot between the toes or on the soles of the feet. At this stage, the fungal infection is easier to treat with over-the-counter medication. But Shari Lipner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine, told Verywell Health toenail fungus can be difficult to treat because of how slow the nails grow. The more severe the toenail fungus, the thicker the nail, and the more nails involved makes it that much harder to treat the nails even with effective therapies, she says.

Diagnosing the fungal infection early is key to make treatments effective. Dr. Lipner recommends visiting a board-certified dermatologist to properly treat the infection if it grows to be too severe.

Here are a few of the best over-the-counter toenail fungus treatments on the market.

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Is There Any Real Proof That It Works

Let’s get right to the point here… is there any proof that this stuff actually works? Because I’m sure a lot of people reading this have wasted a lot of time, patience and money trying things that simply turn out to be complete duds.

Does it really work?

Well… when it comes to the effectiveness of VICK’s specifically dealing with nail fungus, there unfortunately isn’t much research out there. That said, there is some…

A study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine in 2011 took a look at the effects of VICKS on 18 patients who were suffering from onychomycosis over a period of 48 weeks .

The results were measured in 3 ways. They measured its effectiveness as a cure both mycologically and clinically, as well as on a personal assessment by the patients themselves.

The results: 15 of the 18 patients, or a whopping 83%, showed positive effects. And… 5 of the patients, or 27.8%, had been cured based on mycological and clinical results after the 48 weeks were up. 10 patients, or 55.6%, had infections that cleared up partially and only 3 had no change.

All in all… pretty good results.

Lack of proof?

As stated, there really isn’t much information and research out there specifically on VICKS VapoRub’s effectiveness when it comes to this.

The study mentioned above definitely proves some effectiveness and has some positives, however there has been some criticism as to the way this study was conducted, which might make it carry a little less weight.

How Can A Podiatrist Help With Toenail Fungus

Your podiatrist will suggest temporary removal of the affected nail so that anti-fungal drugs can be applied directly to the nail bed where the infection lies under the nail.

  • If your toenails are extremely painful or have severe fungal infections, permanent nail removal may be done by your podiatrist.
  • Do your toenails give a foul smell or an unsightly appearance? Then it would be best if you visited the right doctor for complete treatment that is, a podiatrist. Your podiatrist will create a treatment plan that fits your needs and your lifestyle best.
  • Isnt it frustrating and often difficult to tackle a toenail fungus on your own? Perhaps you have tried many treatment options before. Your podiatrist will offer modern professional treatment methods to clear up your toenail fungus, which is much more effective than home remedies and over-the-counter medications.
  • A podiatrist is a doctor qualified to deal with your foot and ankle problems, including toenail fungus, and they are dedicated to making you feel comfortable throughout the treatment process.
  • Your podiatrist may even use modern therapies like LASER to eliminate the infection.

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If You Arent Sure Of The Diagnosis

If a podiatrist has never diagnosed you with nail fungus before, you may be incorrectly self-diagnosing your condition. There are many foot and nail conditions that can mimic the abnormalities associated with nail fungus, such as onycholysis, a hematoma under the nail, psoriasis, and paronychia. By scheduling an appointment with a foot and ankle specialist, you can be sure that youre getting the right treatment for your specific condition.

Dangers Of Using Bleach For Toenail Fungus

The Dangers of Ignoring Toenail Fungus Infections

Bleach may actually cause toenail fungus to worsen and increase the likelihood of a toenail infection.

According to an article in the Asian Journal of Research in Dermatological Science, use of topical bleach can increase the risks for fungal infections because it can damage the skin and nails. This allows opportunistic fungus to come in through the damaged skin or nail and cause an infection.

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Symptoms To Look Out For

There are several symptoms to look out for if you believe that you are developing fungal infection in your toenails. Some of the more easily distinguished symptoms include discoloration, brittle appearance of the toenail and dulled surface. The toenail can also develop a misshapen form that allows debris to easily enter within the nail and get lodged which further complicates the infection.

Worst case scenario comes when the toenail itself becomes detached and feels as if it will fall off.

It is important that you take the proper steps in treating toenail fungal infections the moment you see any type of symptoms as once fully developed the infection can be quite hard to eliminate permanently. Consult your doctor immediately to get the right prescription medications.

Do Oral Medications Help

Taking a course of oral antifungal medication is likely your best treatment option. Like topical treatments, oral medication can require the patient to commit to a lengthy treatment time. Dr. Wagenseller explained, Oral medication is most effective, but it requires at least three months of treatment. Unfortunately, the most effective pill has possible systemic side effects. Its important for patients to work closely with the dermatologist and/or a general physician throughout the treatment process to ensure safety and avoid long-term damage from the potential side effects of antifungal medications.

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Know Not To Be Afraid

Surgery can be nerve-wracking and scary. Nobody likes pain, hospitals, scalpels, cuts, and anesthesia. The whole idea can be very unpleasanteven reading about it can turn the stomach!

But, it is very important to remember that thousands of people have experienced nail removal and have lived to tell about it! While there may be some discomfort and pain following the procedure, if a qualified doctor or other medical professional has concluded this is the best treatment for your specific problem, let that give all the comfort it should. We are very blessed to live in a world where so many health problems can be easily corrected!

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A second topical medication, tavaborole has similar effectiveness but is even more expensive.

Oral medications, such as terbinafine and itraconazole , are more effective than any topical treatment, with cure rates ranging from 60% to over 80%. However, they do have the rare potential to cause liver damage, sometimes permanently, even fatally.

Many readers have written over the years with over-the-counter and home remedies. These include Vicks VapoRub, tea tree oil, Norway spruce resin, acetic acid , oregano oil, Listerine and many others. However, data showing effectiveness is minimal or none. Newer treatments being studied include laser and other light therapies.

Even if a treatment is effective, recurrence is common, and many people will use creams indefinitely to prevent reinfection despite absence of evidence that it helps.

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Treatment Options For Nail Fungus


Dr. Hull:


Dr. Hull:

Most of my conversation is usually discussing medical therapy, so things that are available by prescription only. And those come in two main forms, which are topical antifungal medications, and then oral antifungal medications. There are other surgical or procedural options, so you can remove nails as well. And then there’s starting to be more interest in technologies like lasers for nail fungus.


Dr. Hull:


Dr. Hull:


Dr. Hull:

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Scientists are not exactly sure how many varieties of fungus are on the planet, but Microbiology Society divides them into three categories: multicellular filamentous molds, macroscopic filamentous fungi and single-celled, microscopic yeasts. That last grouping is what causes fungal infections in humans. There are different ways to eliminate this problem, including prescription medications, antifungal creams and oral medications.

Nail Fungus May Spread To The Skin And Other Nails

Worst Toenail Fungus Treatment (Ugly Feet)

Nail fungal infections are highly contagious, and it is possible that they may spread to other healthy nails surrounding it. Fungus does not only infect nails. It may also result to the contamination of the foots skin. This condition is more commonly known as athletes foot and it makes the skin on your feet red, itchy, and cracked. People who wear heavy footwear and sweaty socks all day are more susceptible to the spread of nail fungal infections to the other areas of the feet.

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How Fungi Infect The Nail

Onchomycosis, or toenail fungal infection, is an invasion by a microscopic organism that thrives in warm, damp environments. Fungal spores are in the air, and they will grow if they land on a receptive surface like your toenail. They feed off the nail tissues, burrowing into the skin under the nail. Over time the nail thickens and may lift off the nail bed as fungal debris accumulates. Once your nail is raised off the nail bed, it won’t reattach, and a new nail won’t grow from that part of the nail bed. However, your nail will continue to grow from the root at the base.

How Effective Are Topical Treatments

So far, only a few studies have looked into topical nail fungus treatments with nail polishes or creams. Because these studies had weaknesses, the results should be interpreted with caution. Amorolfine has not yet been well studied. Ciclopirox polish and treatment sets with urea and bifonazole cream were tested in a few studies.

Research on the effectiveness of nail polish containing ciclopirox showed that, after one year:

  • About 10 out of 100 people who did not use ciclopirox no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.
  • About 32 out of 100 people who used ciclopirox no longer had a detectable fungal nail infection.

In other words, treatment with ciclopirox got rid of the fungal infection in about 22 out of 100 people. But even if the fungus had gone away, the cosmetic result wasnt always satisfying. The nails only looked healthy after treatment in 7 out of 100 people.

Treatment with sets containing urea and bifonazole cream was tested in one study. It was compared with a treatment in which only urea cream was applied and the nail was removed, but without applying bifonazole cream afterwards. Three months after treatment was completed, it was found that:

  • No fungus was visible or detectable in about 41 out of 100 people who only used urea cream.
  • No fungus was visible or detectable in about 51 out of 100 people who used both urea and bifonazole cream.

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How To Use Terbinafine Solution

The solution comes in a tube with a nozzle. It is a single treatment that you only use once.

Use the solution on both feet even if one of them looks fine. If one foot looks less infected than the other, put the solution on the less infected foot first.

  • Use the solution after a shower or bath. Before using the solution, make sure your feet are dry, including between your toes.
  • Remove the cap.
  • Put the solution on the sole, top and sides of your foot and all over your toes, including between each toe. This should use about half the tube. Finish treating this foot before treating the other.
  • Leave the solution to dry on your feet for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Replace the cap and throw the tube away.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Put on your normal shoes and socks.
  • Do not wash or splash your feet with any water for 24 hours after using the solution.

    After 24 hours, wash your feet with warm, soapy water in the bath or shower and gently pat them dry.

    What Causes Toenail Fungus

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    Fungus of any kind grow and thrive in moist and warm environments. Toenail fungus gets this particular environment in plenty as the feet are generally covered in socks and shoes throughout the day, making it difficult for them to breathe and thus stay clean of sweat. Toenail fungus is essentially, an overgrowth of fungus on toenails where the fungus feeds off the proteins in the nails, keratin.

    They breed and grow in dark, damp places and their presence render the distinct foul smell in the feet, that people suffering from toenail fungus often experience. As mentioned earlier, toenail fungus is contagious, but that is if you come into direct contact with the infection, such as sharing the socks or shoes of the affected person or using infected tools at the salon where you might have gone for a mani-pedi. It is also advisable to use slippers near pool areas and public showers as you might unknowingly come into contact with areas which might have been infected by the person using them earlier.

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