Comparing Fungal Nail Treatments – Which is the Best?

Comparing Fungal Nail Treatments

Fungal nail infections have been a serious problem for people worldwide, with up to 25% of people affected at any one time. This high prevalence is contributed to by the easy spread of foot fungus through shared floors and surfaces, as well as the low efficacy and success rate of many available antifungal treatments.

As podiatrists, we often hear our patients frustrated with stubborn fungal nail infections that don’t clear despite spending lots of time and money on pharmacy creams and lacquers. Before discovering our solution for fungal nail infections, we were at a bit of a loss as to which products we felt confident recommending to our patients, given such variable outcomes. 

In light of this, we thought we’d break down currently available treatment options for fungal nail infections into three groups and give you the low-down on them so you can be fully informed before deciding on which treatment is best for you.

1. Topical Treatments

Topical treatments cover any ointment, cream, lacquer or serum that you paint or apply to your feet and nails. There’s usually a shelf of them available at your pharmacy, and cost of some can creep close to the $80 mark – and that’s just for 5ml or around a months’ worth when applied daily.

The truth is that these products, when trialled in independent studies and not studies sponsored by the company itself, have shown success rates of as little as 3.5% to 8.5%. It’s not all too surprising given that the creams are applied only to the outside of the nail and often don’t get down deep enough to target nearly all of the fungus. The remaining fungus spreads and voila, your infection keeps going. These products also do nothing to address your environment where spores and fungus linger, keeping the risk of re-infection relatively high.

2. Oral Medications

Oral medications cover any prescribed (not herbal) pills you get from your doctor. These are often the next step for those who have had no success for topical treatments. These have a higher efficacy, with studies showing clearance in up to 55% of nails, though that’s still only one in two people.

The catch with oral medications is the risk they carry for side effects, including serious side effects related to liver toxicity. This is why these are GP-regulated medications as they are not suitable or indicated for everyone, especially if you have problems with your liver or certain other health issues. Again, oral medications also fail to address the fungus still present in your home environment and in your socks and shoes, creating a significant risk of future re-infection for those who are successful in their treatment.

3. Laser Treatment

Laser treatment for fungal nail infections is the newest treatment option, though it has now been available for many years. It has shown significantly higher success rates and has been the delight of many patients. It should be noted that there are two variations of laser available, hot and cold laser, and it’s important to know the difference.

HOT laser uses heat to destroy nail fungus by heating up the affected nail plate. Because people have different tolerances to heat, this treatment must be carried out by a practitioner who regularly starts and stops depending on what the patient can tolerate. Because of this, the procedure often takes 45 – 60 minutes, and carries with it the risk of burns and discomfort. It also means that the outcome may be influenced by the experience of the practitioner conducting the treatment.

COLD laser (particularly the LUNULA laser that we use here) uses two cold laser beams to damage and destroy nail fungus, as well as improve your immune response and boost your circulation to clear the fungus. Studies on the particular machine we use showed clearance rates of up to 93%. 

Unlike other treatments, with cold laser you’re not left on your own when it comes to the risk of re-infection but you receive a take-home antifungal pack with hygiene instructions to minimise your risk of re-infection. Better yet, cold laser is completely painless, has no side effects, has no risk of burns, takes only 12 minutes per foot, and is dependant on the machine and not a practitioner for the same reliable results every time. 

This is why we LOVE Lunula laser and invested in this fantastic equipment – to get you the best results every time and put your safety first. 

Now our team may be a bit biased towards our Lunula laser, but it’s simply because we’re seeing the best results with it that we ever have in our decades of clinical practice. As practitioners and as a clinic, it gives us immense pleasure to be able to offer the best and most effective treatments for our patients – and the Lunula laser is just that!

For more information about cold laser treatment or to book in, give our team a call on 07 4638 3022, or you can Book Online.

For more information on the Lunula laser and how it works, check out this video: 

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