If you’re suffering from a fungal infection of the nails, technically known as onychomycosis, you are probably wondering if you need a nail fungus prescription medication or is there an effective nail fungus medication available over the counter? If you’re dealing with onychomycosis, no doubt you want to cure it as quickly and easily as possible. You’d probably like to avoid a trip to the doctor and the need to buy an expensive medication, too, if you can.
We’ll answer the question of whether or not you should try an over-the-counter medication before asking your doc for a prescription and we’ll also tell you about the different kinds of medications available to treat nail fungus. Remember, though, we can only provide general information. If you need medical advice, please see your doctor.
Prescription medications for nail fungus come in two forms, topical treatments to be applied to the nail and oral medications to be taken by mouth. Which one is prescribed generally depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the fungal infection and whether or not you have any other medical problems.
Oral antifungal drugs like fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox) and terbinafine (Lamisil) are very effective but can have serious side effects, including liver damage. They are less effective in people over the age of 65. In addition, they may not be safe for people with heart or liver problems and cannot be taken with certain other medications. If prescribed, your doctor may order regular blood tests to monitor your liver function.
Topical antifungal medications like ketoconazole (Nizoral), terbinafine (Lamisil) and ciclopirox (Penlac) are safer but may be less effective in severe cases and may need to be used for much longer periods of time. For instance, while oral medications are usually prescribed for three months, topical treatments may need to be used for six months or longer. To learn more about topical treatments for nail fungus, check out our Nail Fungus Topical Treatment Guide.
Sometimes doctors prescribe both oral and topical medications at the same time, but some doctors feel that increases the risk of harmful side effects. Discuss the risks and benefits of any nail fungus prescription medication or any other treatment with your physician before deciding what is right for you. Make sure you let your doctor know about any medications you take, including over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies, and any health problems you have.
Over-the-counter medications for nail fungus are all topical treatments. They are similar to prescription topical medications and are probably equally effective in many cases. Like prescription topical medications, they must be used for at least six months, sometimes longer. Make sure you use the medication as long as directed on the package, usually for at least two weeks after all symptoms of nail fungus have disappeared, in order to avoid a recurrence. Ask your pharmacist if you need assistance selecting an over-the-counter medication for nail fungus or if you have questions about how to use it properly.
If your nail infection is causing you a lot of pain (if, for instance, you have toenail fungus that causes pain and difficulty walking), if multiple nails are involved, or if you try over-the-counter remedies but don’t see much improvement, ask your doctor if a nail fungus prescription medication might be better for you.
If you are looking for an over-the-counter medication for nail fungus, we recommend Funginix. Like other treatments available without a prescription, it’s a topical treatment that you apply to your infected nails twice a day. What’s special about Funginix, though, is that it contains a unique combination of antifungal ingredients, including many natural ingredients like tea tree oil and lavender essential oil, that work together to kill nail fungus and restore nails to health. To learn more and see if Funginix is right for you, just follow the link.