Posts Tagged ‘Nail Fungus Topical Treatment’
Are There Any Over the Counter Nail Fungus
Treatments That Actually Prove Effective?
As microorganisms go, fungi seem to be one of the strongest strains. It is much harder to kill them than bacteria and viruses. Dermatophyte, molds and yeasts can invade your nails and burrow deep into the nail itself, creating quite the armor of keratin for this marauding nail fungus. This makes treating onychomycoses much more difficult as even powerful antimycotic medications are not always entirely effective. So this begs the question of whether any of the available over-the-counter nail fungus treatments are effective and worth your time and money.
It is an unfortunate but true fact that very few topical treatments, whether prescription or over-the-counter, effectively treat and cure nail fungus infections.
A very popular over-the-counter topical onychomycosis drug that has been proven to be effective in clinical trials is amorolfine. This topical drug is available without a prescription in a handful of countries such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand. It’s marketing name is Loceryl. Amorolfine comes as a nail lacquer and is painted on the nail like a polish. This leaves the medicine free to penetrate the nail after it has dried and allows it to work over time, just as the nail fungus does. It is active up to a week, then may need to be re-applied.
Amorolfine works by inhibiting the cell membrane of the fungus. It is only effective on distal (or lateral) subungual onychomycosis. This leaves out proximal subungual onychomycosis and superficial white onychomycosis. Knowing which type of onychomycosis you have contracted is important if you wish to choose this over-the-counter method.
Amorolfine is not available in the United States as an over-the-counter remedy, which is inconsistent with other countries’ policies. There are a few side effects but they are mild and rarely occur with proper usage. A burning sensation while applying the lacquer for the first time has been reported, but it goes away quickly. As online pharmacies become more popular, it may be possible to obtain amorolfine in the U.S. via these services who sell it over-the-counter. However cost may be an issue as Loceryl (the commercial name for amorolfine) can cost around $100.00 – $150.00 for a single 5 ml tube.
There are several over-the-counter anti-fungals that are very successful at treating skin fungus problems but are not successful nail fungus treatments.
Lamisil is a decent oral onychomycosis treatment when it is prescribed in tablet form. However it also has an over-the-counter form of a topical cream, which has not proven effective at treating nail fungus.
Lotrimin (also known as clotrimazole) is very effective at treating athelete’s foot and jock itch but has not tested or been shown as a good nail fungus treatment.
Tolnaftate (or Tinactin) is the third over-the-counter product that although it is an excellent skin fungus treatment, does little or nothing for nail fungus.
A more promising solution in terms of over-the-counter medications is an anti-fungal nail liquid of undecylenic acid. Two different papers, one published in 1965 and the other published in 2008 examined the use of undecylenic acid in treating onychomycosis. The 2008 study shows a positive effect, however in these tests the undecylenic acid was combined with cyanoacylate and hydroquinone. There is no definite proof of undecylenic acid being effective on its own.
In the realm of alternative medicine, Tea Tree Oil, (Melaleuca alternifolia) has been shown to have some positive effect on nail fungus. As it is a naturally occurring fungicide and insect repellant, applying a 100% concentration of the oil to the infected area has been reported by small studies to be able to cure 20% of the cases followed. In two-thirds of the patients followed, using Tea Tree Oil caused an improvement in the appearance of the nail fungus infection. Another study compared the twice daily application of 100% Tea Tree Oil and a 1% solution of clotrimazole. The Tea Tree Oil appeared to be slightly more effective at clearing up the nail fungus problem.
Topical products or removing the nail
All of these topical products are applied and have been tested in cases where there has not been surgery to remove the nail before applying the product. It is possible that removing the nail before treatment, via surgical, mechanical or chemical method, may improve the chances of an over-the-counter nail treatment clearing up a nail fungus as this allows the medicine to get directly to the source of the infection. If you are considering surgery or any other form of nail removal as part of your onychomycosis treatment, please ask your surgeon or doctor for information about follow up nail fungus treatments.
If you do not wish to go the surgery route to solve your onychomycosis issues but do wish to cure your nail fungus, the best chance of success still lies with taking oral antifungal agents, which are currently only available with a doctor’s prescription.
Topical Medications to Treat Nail Fungus
There are a wide variety of treatments available to cure nail fungus. Some of these treatments are oral and some are topical. Topical treatments are available as prescription, over-the-counter and natural or alternative. Most people prefer using a topical treatment to an oral medication because the topical medication has far fewer risks associated with its use.
The topical prescription medication Penlac (otherwise known as Ciclopirox) is a relative newcomer to the U.S. market. Approved by the FDA in 1999 and in Canada in 2004, this was a wonderful improvement in the treatment of nail fungus as up until then, prescription treatments were all systemic, the regimens were long, and ran the risk of damaging the internal organs.
Penlac delivers its antifungal medication in nail polish form. The main ingredient in Penlac is Ciclopirox, a broad spectrum antifungal. This medication works via its delivery method. Because the medication is painted directly onto the affected area, it has time to penetrate the nail and deliver the necessary antifungal boost to the nail bed, which is where the fungus grows. The concept of Penlac is to kill the fungus where it lives, underneath the nail, so that the infection is permanently eliminated. This avoids the necessity of taking oral antifungal medications, which work systemically (throughout the body) and have more side effects, including possible organ damage. Application of Penlac is suggested daily to the infected nail and surrounding tissue for up to 12 weeks.
In today’s modern world, you can choose from allopathic, or prescription remedies, and natural, or homeopathic remedies. The natural remedies are frequently available at your pharmacy or online. Many products are available to cure nail fungus but one of the most effective is ClearFungus. ClearFungus is available on line and comes with a money back guarantee. The website has many testimonials available for you to read. ClearFungus is a natural fungicide and its main ingredient, combined with other natural products, work together to promote healthy recovery for your skin and nails.
The natural health market has several topical products and they usually include the same basic ingredients. The difference ends up being in the price. When looking for a natural remedy, make sure you have access to the list of ingredients, whether on the product packaging or on a website. A natural remedy should include an active fungicide and preferably ingredients that encourage healthy nail re-growth and conditioning for the surrounding skin. An excellent option for a topical nail fungicide is Tea Tree Oil, which can be purchased at any health food store and many pharmacies. If you have the option, research has shown that a spray, lacquer, or heavy ointment, are all more effective than a cream.
How you choose to treat your nail fungus infection is something that you and your doctor need to decide. If you choose to go with a non-prescription product, make sure that you do your research so that you find a product that will work best for you. Remember that natural medicine is strong and can fix many problems (as it has been doing for centuries) but that prescriptive medicine is a derivative of natural medicine as many prescription cures come from a similar chemical make-up. There are times when a prescription medicine may be necessary, especially in the case of a severe infection. However you choose to treat your nail fungus, research all possible medication interactions and side effects and keep track of anything that may occur. Because no one understands your body better than you.
What Are The Most Effective Treatments
for Nail Fungus Infections?
Figuring out which treatment will work best for you is part of the process of curing your nail fungus infection. There are many options out there and whether this is a long term infection or a very bad infection, it can be eliminated. However this will require patience. It can take months to clear up a nail fungus infection.
Good things to know about treating nail fungus infections
- Getting rid of a nail fungus infection requires a lengthy treatment, no matter which option you choose.
- Fingernails tend to clear up faster than toenails. If you have an infected fingernail it is likely that your treatment course will be faster.
- With some medications, there is a risk of liver damage although this is not common. Your doctor may recommend a blood test to see if your liver is healthy enough to support your treatment
- The most common method of prescription treatment is an oral medication (pills). Other options include topical treatments that you apply directly to the nail. A more mild case of nail fungus infection may be treated with a nail varnish or Tea Tree Oil.
- With a severe or reoccurring infection, your doctor may recommend removing part, or the entire nail. This is usually left as a last resort.
- If your nail fungus infection is mild and doesn’t bother you, it may be best to leave it alone.
Many things can be done to keep a nail fungus infection from reoccurring. To learn more, read “How To Keep From Getting a Fungal Nail Infection”
Available Treatments for Fungal Nail Infections
How to find the best treatment? Here is a list of the currently available treatments for nail fungus infections, divided into three categories to help you determine what might work best for you.
It is always best to consult with your health care provider to determine the best course of action. You can also use current medical research to learn about treatment options.
Most likely to be effective and least harmful:
Itraconazole Pills (commercial name, Sporanox): This is an antifungal oral medication. It treats nail infections caused by fungus.
Terbinafine Pills (commercial name Lamisil): This is an antifungal oral medication. It treats nail infections caused by fungus
Likely to be effective but possibly more harmful:
Fluconazole Pills (commercial name Diflucan): This is an antifungal oral medication. It is used to treat infections caused by fungus but fluconazole is not commonly given for nail infections.
Ciclopirox lacquer: An excellent choice if you wish to avoid taking pills to clear up your nail fungus infection, especially if your case is mild. This antifungal nail polish is applied directly to the affected area. The commercial name for ciclopirox is Penlac Nail Lacquer.
Needs further research:
Griseofulvin Pills (commercial name Grifulvin V): Griesofulvin is actually an antibiotic. It isn’t as effective as other medications in clearing up a nail fungus infection.
Ketoconazole Pills (commercial name Nizoral): Ketoconazole is an antifungal oral medication that is rarely used because it can cause damage to the liver.
Terbinafine Cream or Spray: Terbinafine also comes as a topical cream and a topical spray. Its commercial name is Lamisil
Removing a portion of or all of your nail: This is usually done for very severe nail fungus infections or when people experience reoccurring symptoms. This is a treatment that doctors tend to suggest when all else has failed.