Nail Fungus Medication
Fungal nail infections (onychomycosis) affect many people, and they can sometimes be difficult to eradicate. The infections are caused by fungi which burrow under the nails causing them to be brittle, discolored and distorted, often causing embarrassment to the sufferer. If left untreated, the infection could spread to other nails, making the hands and feet look unsightly.
If the infection is severe, antifungal pills are the most effective, though they require close monitoring and follow up. Any related fungal skin infection will also be cleared by the medication. The doctor will prescribe the medicine depending on the type of fungus that has caused the nail infection. The most popular oral medications that are known to be effective include Terbinafine and Itraconazole.
Terbinafine tablets are usually taken daily for a period of between 6-12 weeks for fingernails, and 12-24 weeks for toenails. The drug is safe, with few side effects associated with it. Fungal nail infections can be stubborn, and patients should therefore take the tablets for the whole prescribed period.
Itraconazole is administered as pulsed treatment. The tablets are taken twice daily for a week, and the course is repeated after three weeks. Two pulsed courses are usually sufficient for fingernail infections while toenail infections will require 3 pulsed courses or more. Common side effects associated with antifungal tablets include headaches, nausea, itching, poor sense of taste and diarrhea. In 50% of the patients, the infected nail is fully restored to its former appearance, but in a further 20% of patients, the nail may not look as normal as before, even though the fungus has been cleared.
Antifungal nail paint
It is prescribed for those patients who prefer not to take the antifungal tablets. Also known as nail lacquer, it may not be as effective as the oral pills because the application is done onto the infected nail. The nail paint has to reach the infection for it to be effective which can take time. Amorolfine nail lacquer can be bought over the counter or obtained as a prescription. Normally, the doctor will look at the infection first and advise appropriately. The antifungal nail paint may not be very effective if the infection is close to, or involves the skin which is around the nail. Topical medications tend to be work better when used together with oral pills.
Vinegar has been touted as an effective home remedy for fighting nail fungus, though sufficient anecdotal evidence is not available. One part vinegar should be mixed with two parts of warm water and the infected foot soaked in for about twenty minutes daily. Whatever nail fungus medication is chosen, foot hygiene is of utmost importance. The feet should always be kept clean and dry, and socks should be changed daily. Nails should be clipped short, while very tight shoes should be avoided to prevent excessive sweating. Waterproof sandals should be worn while walking at swimming pools or other public areas such as gyms to avoid picking up fungal infections.
If the infection worsens and becomes painful, the nail could be removed surgically. This may be recommended if other medications fail to work. A new nail will eventually grow, though it could take 12 months or more for it to grow back fully.