Available Prescription Medication
for Fungal Toenail Infections
Antifungal medications are most commonly used to treat toenail fungus infections. These are normally oral prescription medications and unfortunately have a long list of potential risks and side effects. There are topical fungicides that are prescription strength and available on advice of your doctor. Both kinds of medication require a treatment regimen of 12 weeks for toenail fungus and 6 weeks for fingernail fungus. The length of treatment can vary with the severity of the infection.
Curing a toenail fungus infection can be very difficult and time consuming. Before you and your doctor agree on a treatment, it must be determined what kind of fungal infection you are suffering from. Once this is established, your doctor will prescribe a medication to eliminate the fungus. This is where you need to be educated and verbose. You need to tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking, including supplements and herbal remedies. The prescriptions available to cure fungal nail infections are very hard on the system and can cause serious drug interactions.
Lamisil (otherwise known as terbinafine) is the most popular medication used to treat fungal infections. This medicine is most effective for dermatophytic infection. Lamisil is prescribed at 250 mg per day for 6-12 weeks. Another component of this medication is numerous blood tests to ensure that your liver is healthy enough to follow this regimen and that no damage is occurring during the treatment cycle. This makes this particular treatment very expensive. An initial baseline test will be done to determine your liver health before you start treatment. During treatment, your doctor will require that you visit the office and may order blood tests throughout the treatment at random, or regular intervals. This is done because Lamisil is processed by the liver and there is the potential for several rare hepatic side effects, including hepatitis, blood dyscrasias and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Following your doctor’s recommendations can protect you from serious liver damage over the course of your treatment.
Another well known antifungal used to treat toenail infections is Diflucan (or fluconazole) Diflucan is most commonly used to treat yeast infections.
Both of these medications can be found in their generic form at pharmacies all over the country for about $4.00 Numerous pharmacies, including Target, Wal-Mart and Publix offer prescription drugs at a discounted rate. Please note, you must have a doctor’s prescription to acquire these medications. If you need to take these drugs for an extended period, it may be worth the effort to research which pharmacies offer this program.
Other medications commonly used to treat toenail fungus infections are:
- Ciclopirox (commercial name – Penlac) a topical nail lacquer used to infuse the nail with medication
- Itraconazole (commercial name – Sporanox) is a newer medication and works similarly to Lamisil
- Griseofulvin is an older drug and is no longer regularly prescribed due to its lack of efficacy
- Ketoconazole (commercial name – Nizoral) although very effective at eliminating fungus, is not prescribed often because of the high risk of hepatotoxicity.
You and your doctor can work together to find the best antifungal treatment to cure your toenail fungus. The most important part of your treatment will be discouraging the growth of fungus on your own by making sure that your feet are clean, dry and surrounded by breathable materials so that you are not offering a hospitable environment. By following this simple advice, you are much more likely to find yourself fungus free at the end of your treatment.