Oral or topical prescription anti-fungal medications are some of the more common forms of fungal nail treatment available to patients with onychomycosis. Oral anti-fungal medications come in various forms such as tablets, capsules, or liquid solutions. Most treatments are applied directly to the affected nail and taken orally once or twice daily. Oral prescription drugs work to treat fungal infections by affecting the fungal cells that produce nail matrix.
It is important to note that fungal nail treatment should be considered as a treatment option only after your physician has recommended that your nails have had no prior treatment with topical or oral anti-fungal medications. If you choose to pursue this course of action prior to consulting with your doctor, be sure to take a complete picture of all areas affected by the fungal infection, including any changes in color or softness of the nail. After six months of treatment, most fungi resolve and produce normal looking nails again. In some cases, additional treatment may be required in order to prevent recurrence. Onychomycotic organisms are more difficult to treat than infectious types. For this reason, you should consult with your physician for a second opinion regarding your onychomycotic infections and treatment options.
A variety of factors, including nail length, type of footwear worn, immune system status, and personal hygiene can contribute to the development of fungal nail infections. Fungi that typically cause these conditions to grow on the edges or at the tips of the nail and feed on keratin, dead human skin cells, and hair strands. They form a tough network under the nail surface that is resistant to common disinfection methods. Nail fungus grows rapidly, causing thickening and distortion of the nail and an itchy and gritty feeling on the tip and side of the nail.
To understand how a nail fungus infection is treated, it is important to know the symptoms associated with it. Common symptoms include a white or yellowish spot on the nail, usually near the cuticle. Infected toenails may have crumbly or flaky appearance. Infected toenails may also thicken and become discolored, while blemishes tend to be white, raised, and swollen.
Once you notice the first symptoms, act quickly to begin an onychomycotic regime to cure the infection before it becomes systemic. This begins with a thorough examination of your nails to determine if you have a fungal nail treatment problem or not. A health care practitioner may take a sample of your healthy nail for laboratory testing. The health practitioner will perform a series of tests, including microscopic examination under a microscope, to determine if you have an infection. Once lab tests confirm fungal nail infections, you can start your onychomycotic regime.
Your doctor may prescribe an oral or topical medication for the treatment of your fungal infection. Your doctor may also recommend an oral or topical prescription strength antifungal cream for you to use once you start your onychomycotic regime. If you are considering using an antifungal cream to treat your infection, you need to make sure that it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA. Although products labeled “prescription strength” may be effective in treating some patients, there is no evidence that these products are effective against onychomycosis. If you choose to use a prescription strength antifungal cream, you must follow the instructions carefully. If you are pregnant or nursing, you cannot take antifungal medications.