Nail Fungus Treatments: Side Effects, Effectiveness

Healthy looking toenails on the beach!
Healthy looking toenails on the beach! | Source

Will you be avoiding the beach or pool this year because of embarrassing toenail fungus? Yes ladies, you can dab on a dark nail polish for a quick fix and get by, but guys probably don't want to wear dark red polish on their toenails. Women would much rather know they had the option of showing off bare buffed pink nails. Nails that look healthy do so because they are healthy. Nail fungus is difficult to get rid of. OTC topical treatments are often disappointing,and oral medication can have serious side effects. But with time, patience, persistence and money toenail and nail fungus can be eliminated.


Toe Nail Fungus

Toe nail fungus (Onychomycosis) is quite common. It causes embarrassment and is often uncomfortable or even painful. The nail will be thick, heavy and sore. Trimming nails will be a challenge.

Nail fungus can occur in all nails, but it is more common in toe nails than finger nails.That's because shoes provide a dark and damp environment for the microorganisms to grow .Less blood flows into the toenails than the fingernails making it more difficult for the immune system to detect and attack. Infection begins most commonly in the big toe. It may stay in the big toenail or spread to the other toenails. It is especially hard to get rid of.

Toenail fungus is a condition that may affect your overall health. It can be a serious threat to anyone who has diabetes or any other condition that suppresses the immune system such as HIV.

Nail polish is a quick cover up for nail fungus but bare buffed nails are wanted underneath.
Nail polish is a quick cover up for nail fungus but bare buffed nails are wanted underneath. | Source

O-T-C Nail Fungus Treatments

There have been several over-the-counter topical treatments introduced and marketed. Currently the general consensus is that they really don't seem to be very effective. All over-the-counter nail fungus treatments are topical. Currently topical nail fungus treatments only have an eight percent rate of effectiveness.

The two most common OTC treatments for nail fungus are undeneclemic acid and tolnaftate.

undeneclemic acid: Undecenoic acid 10 is a common name. It is an organic unsaturated fatty acid. It is FDA approved for OTC sales.

tolnafate: This anti-fungal agent is available as a cream, powder,spray or liquid.

Both of these anti-fungal agents are effective for skin infections such as athletics feet, jock itch, ringworm and psoriasis. Topically applied agents of this nature currently have only an eight percent effectiveness rate for getting rid of nail fungus.

Side effects: The side effects for both of these topical agents include the risk of allergic reaction. Those who are pregnant, planning pregnancy or breast feeding can not use these products.


Avoid Diflucan If Allergic To These Drugs

Lotrimin

Spectazole

Nizoral

Monistat

Exelderm

Terazol

Oravig

Ertaczo

Vagistat-1

Vfend

Oral Nail Fungus Treatments

The most common oral treatment for nail fungus is terbinafine, commonly sold under the brand name Lamisil and can only be prescribed by a doctor. It is quite expensive and can present mild to serious side effects. It can be taxing to the liver. A liver test will be required before the doctor prescribes terbinafine.

Depending on the severity of the nail fungus, terbinafine will need to be taken over a period of weeks. This oral method is much more effective than topical treatments with currently an 85 percent effectiveness rate.

Diflucan is less commonly prescribed for nail fungus. It is used to treat fungal infections in any part of the body. Patients taking diflucan for other reasons that happen to have nail fungus report it as being effective in clearing nail fungus. Diflucan has side effects for people that are allergic to the drugs listed above

Turbafine And Drug Interactions

The drug interaction list is quite extensive for terbenafine. All prescribed and OTC medicines, herbs and vitamins will need to be listed for the doctor to evaluate.

Drugs To Avoid When Using Lamosil

Drug
Risk Of Side Effects Increased
May Decrease Lamosil's Effectiveness
amiodarone
x
 
cimetidine
x
 
fluconazole (flonase)
x
 
ketoconazole
x
 
rifampin
 
x
fiecainide
x
 
propafenone
x
 
beta blockers
x
 
selective serotonic reuptake inhibitors
x
 
anticoagulants, (warfarin)
x
x
cyclsporine or tamoxifen
 
x
This table may not be complete. Always check with your physician.

Serious Side Effects Of Turbinafine

  • persistent upset stomach
  • loss of appetite
  • extreme tiredness
  • vomiting
  • dark urine
  • pale stool
  • pain, upper right stomach
  • skin rash that worsens
  • fever,sore throat

Mild Side Effects Of Terbinafine

  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • rash
  • itching
  • hives

Laser Nail Fungus Treatment

Just as laser surgery has been revolutionary for vision and other problems, so is there laser treatment for nail fungus. It is highly desirable over oral medication for safety and topical applications for effectiveness. Specially designed laser beams go through the toenail to safely reduce infection in the nail bed. Totally safe and with no discomfort the procedure is done in the podiatry office with no anesthesia.

It is the most expensive treatment, between $200-$500. The higher price is what causes nail fungus sufferers to seek other remedies and treatments.

Alternative Nail Fungus Treatments

There are nail fungus treatments on line that claim to be safe and have a money back guarantee. These may be worth trying if laser treatment is not an option. Most importantly, heed the warnings of the drugs to avoid if taking an oral nail fungus treatment.

These are reportedly the 5 top rated alternative treatments for nail fungus with effectiveness rates:

  1. Fungavir- 97.3%
  2. Zeta Clear-77.3%
  3. Nail-Rx- 73.2%
  4. H-Nail Fungus- 75.1%
  5. Dermisil- 62.2%

More by this Author


Comments 38 comments

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

This is information that is good to have handy in case you experience this. Your charts are helpful and the warnings are good to note.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks for stopping by to comment teaches12345.Get the laser treatment if you do. I was trying to play that up as the best method!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

Very useful hub as a close friend of mine has been plagued with nail fungus for a while now, but refuses to take oral medication - and I can't say I blame her. I'll pass on your hub as I'm sure there is some advice here that she has not tried.

Very interesting and useful + voted up!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Right! a lot of people use flonase for allergies, and I notice that it is on the list of meds to avoid when taking Lamisil. Thanks for stopping by to comment, Seeker7!


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

Great info! I knew a girl years ago that had to have her big toenails taken off and now she has to keep her toes painted as it they were there....that don't sound like a bad idea really...lol.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Well, I guess it's a good thing she's not a guy! (: Thanks for the comment Pollyannalana!


ChaplinSpeaks profile image

ChaplinSpeaks 4 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

Wow, I didn't realize nail fungus was so hard to treat. You have given some really great information on options and side effects. Thanks for sharing.


Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

great hub Rebecca. it seems so hard to get rid rid of, I am so glad I am not afflicted with this. you have presented a number of options available along with risks and potential effectiveness. I'll know where to turn if the need arises! voted up.


Doc Sonic profile image

Doc Sonic 4 years ago from Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Very good information. This is a more serious problem than I thought. Your list of drug interactions is helpful - a good reminder of how important it is that your doctor know all the drugs you are taking, even OTC drugs and natural supplements.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

THanks, Doc Sonic. Nail fungus is especially serious for those with diabetes! a


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Great info for a problem that causes me much discomfort and embarrassment. Thanks.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Glad to be of help with nail fungus. Good luck, and thanks for stopping to read.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

I've heard it's very difficult to get rid of nail fungus. A friend of mine used white vinegar, but it sounds like a time consuming process. I like the idea of undeneclemic acid. Voted up and helpful!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

The best way to treat nail fungus is the new laser treatment. But of course it is most expensive.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Yes, expensive can be a problem! But it does sound fast and easy.


Taz 4 years ago

Hi Rebecca

I am on trebinafine for fungus toenail and since I've been taking it I feel so down all the time and I think I've got depression,is that normal please comment


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Yes, trebinafine can cause a multitude of side effects, one of which is depression. Try to get the new laser treatment if you can.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

Wow! I sure learned a lot from this Hub about nail fungus. I never knew lazer was being used now. Thanks for all the good info. I voted this UP, etc.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks, Mary. I didn't know either until I heard an ad on the radio. In fact, it gave me the idea for the Hub. What an inspiration, right?


wilderness profile image

wilderness 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

Useful information for me as this is something I've had for years but am unwilling to take oral medications for.

I may look into laser treatment and see what the cost is around my area and into homeopathic treatment as well - I had no idea there were any out there.

Thanks for the information.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

I just recently learned about the laser treatment. It's around $200. Glad to be of help!


Midnight Lights profile image

Midnight Lights 4 years ago from USA

I didn't know they had laser treatment now, seems safer and possibly cheaper. My father took some of these medicines for many years for athletes feet he got in his hands and feet while serving in Vietnam, he died of liver failure at 60. He did also drink so it's hard to say which caused it though. Interesting article, of which I knew most but the laser treatment, and wanted to mention you listed the last paragraph twice.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

I had toenail fungus about 15 years ago and saw a dermatologist for treatment. He prescribed the oral medication, Lamisil, which he had me on for about three months, I think. I was taking a beta blocker for hypertension and had periodic liver function tests. After taking the medication for three months, I experienced no side effects or damage to the liver. My toenail fungus was also all cleared up after 3-4 months. Needless to say, the Lamisil worked very well. Voted up, sharing, and pinning.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

My husband took the oral medication and it cleared up the toenail fungus, but now...years later it is back just as bad as ever. Good to know about the laser treatments. He had pretty well decided to just ignore the problem since the medication is expensive and can also cause liver damage. Since he rarely goes around barefoot, it is not much of a problem. Will tell him about the laser treatments. Up, useful and interesting votes.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

That is very interesting, the fact that the toe mail fungus came back after oral meds! Laser treatment appears to be the best route!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Interesting and useful info, Rebecca. Luckiliy, I've never suffered from this. Thanks for sharing.


selu 3 years ago

Hello, am 21 years old suffering from toenil fungus on my left and right toenails,it is so dark black with some yellow colour,my dermtologiest said to take just the oral med teretment and it had been a month am taking it but am afraid of liver damage.and i am thinking about removing both the toenail. What do you think bout this guys.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

I am not sure about removing the toenail. I would ask your doctor about that.


VictoriaSheffield profile image

VictoriaSheffield 3 years ago from Georgia

This is a well written HUB!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks, Victoria!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Needed to revisit this as I needed some info on treatments for toe nail fungus for a family member.

Voted up and shared.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

I'm glad it was useful for you!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

Going to pin this. I was not on Pinterest when I first read this...so passing it on!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks, Peggy!


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Hi Rebecca I have a toenail fungus and have tried a topical liquid med that does not work. Poor circulation in my toes caused the problem. My podiatrist cuts my toenails but never mentioned laser treatment. Thank you for sharing your information on toenail fungus, and I will ask about laser treatment. It sure won't hurt to ask Blessings, Audrey


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Ah--good to know!! I wish our insurance covered the cost of laser treatment---


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

That's good. I hope it works out for you!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Me too!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working