Nail Infection Treatment: Oral Medication Risks & Side Effects

Oral medication is seen as one of the first lines of defense to cure toenail fungus fast… but does it really work? And what potential side effects or risks are associated with taking pills for nail infection treatment? We explore the issue in today’s blog to help you choose a treatment that is right and effective for you…

toenail fungus infection

Nail Infection Treatment: Does Oral Medication For Foot Fungus Really Work?

A 2002 study by Scottish researchers at the University of Dundee found that 250 milligrams of terbinafine per day for three months was the most effective oral method of treating fungal infections on nails. To this day, this is still the preferred oral treatment and dosage recommended by WebMD.

However, scientists also concluded: “Consensus among researchers evaluating oral antifungal drugs for onychomycosis is needed to establish meaningful definitions of clinical cure. Most trials were funded by the pharmaceutical industry; we found little independent research, and this may have introduced bias to the review.”

A 2009 study (D. De Berker) published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that Lamisil cured the infection in 55 percent of the patients and Sporanox cured infection in 26 percent of the patients after 16 weeks. So, oral medication for toenail fungus is only half effective? This is not the fungal nail solution people need.

What Risks & Side Effects Are Associated With Oral Medication For Toenail Fungus?

According to Dr. John Sigle, a podiatrist from the Foot & Ankle Center in Illinois, minor side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Skin rashes
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Mild itching
  • Joint pain or weakness
  • Runny nose or other cold symptoms

He adds, “Major side effects can include drug interactions, allergic reactions, liver damage or failure, and heart failure.” Oral medications should be used with caution, Dr. Sigle concludes.

nail infection treatment

The literature given out by manufacturer Novartis states the risk in no uncertain terms. “Cases of liver failure, some leading to liver transplant or death, have occurred with the use of Lamisil Tablets in individuals with and without pre-existing liver disease,” they say. For this reasons, patients who are prescribed oral medication are often asked by their doctors to return for ongoing blood tests to monitor the liver during the course of treatment.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take this home remedy for toenail infection. Furthermore, this drug inhibits the CYP4502D6 isozyme, which decreases the efficiency of other drugs, including: desipramine, cimetidine, fluconazole, cyclosporine, rifampin, and caffeine.

A Better Nail Fungus Solution

Not only are oral medications risky and not very effective to begin with, but 15 to 20 percent of patients taking it will develop another infection within the next year.

“To improve treatment outcomes and prevent recurrence, patients should be counseled about proper foot hygiene,” says Phillip Rogers MD and Mary Bassler MD from the University of Michigan Medical School. They explain that patients should be counseled to do the following:

  • Wear breathable footwear and 100 percent cotton socks to keep their feet dry
  • Wear foot protection in high-risk areas like communal bathing facilities

Here at SteriShoe®, we hear about many patients treating toenail fungus infection with lasers. This therapy costs anywhere from $600 to $1,000, and health care companies do not cover it. It seems silly to us that they would invest in a more substantial cure for nail fungus, but then put their feet right back into fungus-laden shoes again — which increases their risk of re-infection.

toenail infection treatment

There is currently no nail fungus solution on the market that can prevent re-infection. Proper foot hygiene and limiting exposure to fungi is the best a person can do. That’s why we created our UV shoe sanitizer — to aid people in keeping their environment as sanitary as possible. If you have any questions about shoe sterilization, please contact us.

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