Share |

Treatments for toenail fungus:
Toenail Fungus Treatment Overview

There are a variety of treatments of nail fungus. No one method of treatment of nail fungus infections cures 100% of the cases. Even when a treatment is successful in curing a current infection, toenail fungus is persistent and recurs in a significant percentage of sufferers. No toenail fungus treatment available today is guaranteed to rid you of the fungal infections forever.

The treatments for toenail fungus infections fall into several broad categories: oral medications, antifungal lacquer, over-the-counter topical creams and ointments, surgery, laser treatments and home remedies. The choice of treatment depends on a variety of factors. Some of the treatments have risk factors for certain patients that make the treatment not recommended for a particular infection.

To determine the best course of treatment requires an accurate diagnosis of the fungus involved, as well as knowledge of the patient's health history and other medications the patient may be taking.

Oral Medications for Treating Toenail Fungus

Your physician may prescribe an oral antifungal drug. Clinical studies have shown that oral medications are the most effective way to treat toenail fungus infections. Among the antifungal drugs are terbinafine (Lamisil), itraconazole (Sporanox) and an older drug, griseofulvin.

Your doctor may recommend oral treatment for your fungus if you have diabetes, if you have cellulitis or risk factors for cellulitis or are suffering pain or physical discomfort from your toenail fungus infection.

In rare cases, antifungal drugs have been found to cause side effects ranging from skin rashes to liver damage. Oral treatments may not be appropriate for people with liver disease or congestive heart failure or for those taking certain medications.

Your doctor will probably want to runs tests to determine the health of your liver before beginning a course of oral antifungal drugs. This, of course, adds to the cost of this choice of treatment.

Antifungal Lacquer Treatment of Nail Fungus

A second type of prescription treatment is an antifungal nail polish called ciclopirox (Penlac). You paint your infected nails and surrounding skin with the ciclopirox once a day, usually before bedtime. Once a week, you remove the built-up layers of the lacquer with alcohol. Daily use of the antifungal nail polish for a year or more has been shown to help clear some nail fungal infections. Ciclopirox treatment is also sometimes recommended in conjunction with oral medication.

Clinical studies have shown ciclopirox to be an effective treatment in some cases of toenail infections, but much less so than oral medications.

Topical Medications to Treat Toenail Fungus

There are also a variety of over-the-counter topical treatments for toenail fungus. Topical treatments usually don't provide a cure, but may be used in conjunction with oral medications. Using these creams with an over-the-counter lotion containing urea may help speed up absorption. Trimming the nail and filing the surface to reduce the amount of infected nail to treat may make the topical medications more effective.

Surgery to Treat Fungal Toenails

When a nail infection is severe or extremely painful, surgically removing the nail plate entirely may be necessary. A new nail plate will usually grow out. Surgery is sometimes used in combination with ciclopirox to treat the nail bed.

Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus

A very new option, using a laser to irradiate the nail after it's been treated with an acid, may also be successful.

Home Remedies for Treating Toenail Fungus

Medical treatments of toenail fungus can be lengthy and at times costly or pose certain risks that people are unable or unwilling to take. As a result, people often turn to home remedies for toenail fungus. Among the home remedies purported to be effective against toenail fungus are vinegar, Vicks VapoRub®, Listerine®, tea tree oil and hydrogen peroxide.


If you are suffering from an unsightly or painful toenail fungus infection, there are many treatments to choose from. Continue reading this site for more information to help learn about what the alternatives mean to you.