ZocdocAnswersWhat is the best cure for nail fungus?

Question

What is the best cure for nail fungus?

I'm a man in my mid 60s, and I'd never had nail fungus until this year. It's getting pretty bad, and I know I should treat it, but there are so many options. What is the best way to cure nail fungus?

Answer

The medical term for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis, and it is generally one of the more difficult infections to treat because of the long duration necessary to clear the infection. The infection is more likely to occur in the toenails than the fingernails. The most common signs of fungal infection are brittleness, flaking, discoloration, and thickening. Infections become much more common as we age. Unlike other fungal infections topical treatments such as creams and powders do not work, and it is usually necessary to take oral medications for months to completely eradicate it. The most common fungus causing nail infection is called Trichophyton rubrum, though many other fungi can be the cause. Older treatments for nail infections including the medications griseofulvin and ketoconazole require long treatment times and have low success rates. Newer treatments such as fluconazole, itraconazole, or terbinafine have both higher success rates and shorter treatment times. However, even with improved treatments, cure rates are only slightly above 50%, and unfortunately infections in the toenails are likely to recur. Consequently, one of the most important steps in caring for nail infections is preventing future occurrences. Keeping your skin dry and clean and avoiding sharing nail grooming equipment with others are two key steps. Your primary care physician can best evaluate your symptoms and help find solutions that will work for you. Good luck!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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