Medical Toenail Fungus Cures

If you go to a doctor for your toenail fungus, you can expect your doctor to remove as much of the fungus as possible by trimming the nail with clippers, filing the nail down, or dissolving the nail with a special paste containing urea and bifonazole.

Topical Medications for Onychomycosis

If the infection is still mild and it is limited to a small area of the nail, your doctor may prescribe a medicated topical treatment. Topical treatment can come as a medicated nail polish containing amorolfine (Loceryl), ciclopirox (Loprox, Penlac), which you generally apply twice a week until the fungus is gone. It can also come as a cream normally containing bifonazole/urea, propylene glycol-urea-lactic acid, imidazoles (such as ketoconazole - Nizoral Cream), or allylamines (such as terbinafine - Lamisil Cream).

Topical treatments are limited because they can only penetrate the nail deep enough to kill more superficial fungus. For more severe toenail fungus problems, the doctor may prescribe oral medications to kill the onychomycosis. Topical medication may still be used in conjunction.

Oral Medications for Onychomycosis
If the fungal infection takes up more of the nail or is on several nails, your doctor will prescribe an oral medication like itraconazole (Sporanox) or terbinafine (Lamisil). These medication are generally taken over a 3-month period, and work by moving through the bloodstream to penetrate the fungus from the nail bed. Oral medications meant to treat onychomycosis, like all drugs, do come with side effects. Itraconazole in particular has the potential to produce serious drug interactions, while none of the antifungal oral medications should be taken by patients with liver disease or heart failure. Before prescribing oral medications to treat toenail fungus, your doctor will probably order a blood test to make sure your liver is functioning properly. Common side effects of these drugs include nausea and stomach pain.

Another popular oral antifungal medication is Fluconazole (Diflucan). It is not, however, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of onychomycosis, however it may act as an alternative oral treatment.

Toenail Fungus Surgery
To decrease the side effects and duration of oral therapy, topical and surgical treatments may be combined with oral antifungal management.

Sometimes surgical removal of the nail is necessary to rid a patient of toenail fungus. Surgery is a last resort and is only thought of when the fungus has been resistant to other treatment. This is generally only for very severe cases where the toenail fungus has not been treated promptly.

Options for nail removal include surgery (nail avulsion) or chemical removal (matrixectomy). The nail will not grow back and the body will make a hard cover for the nail bed. The procedure takes under and hour, there is little pain involved (everything is done under local anesthetic) and recovery time is two to three weeks. However removal of the nail plate should not be considered sufficient treatment on its own, and should be supplemented with oral and topical therapy.

Remember, if you don't want to have to go through the long and annoying process of treating toenail fungus, the best step is to prevent it before it happens to lower your risk of infection.