Fungal Nails – Why Laser is Safer and More effective than the other treatments for nail fungus

proximal-subungual-onychomycosis-225851At Better Health, part of our mission statement is to find effective and innovative treatment options that can be used as an alternative to treatments such as medications, which can have terrible, unwanted side effects. It is important to remember that any oral medication that you ingest has to be metabolized by your liver. I have found that treating toenail fungus with laser is an effective, safe and successful way of eliminating the fungus in toenails.

Fungal infections of the toenails can be difficult to treat. The infection causes discoloured, ugly toenails that are often unsightly. Many of my patients describe it as embarrassing and ugly.

The treatment is challenging because the fungus lives in the nail bed (the part of the nail we can’t see, beneath the skin). Topical therapies are largely ineffective because they don’t penetrate into the nail bed, and the period of treatment is generally so long that poor compliance treating the nail is the norm. The standard treatment is oral anti-fungal medications. The oral medication makes it to the nail bed by traveling through the blood stream, but the down side is that medications have to be taken for long periods of time (often over 5 months). The most common prescription for nail fungus is Lamisil Tablets.  To be prescribed this medication, a positive fungal culture must be obtained prior to the GP prescribing this medication. Some treatment regimens that include Lamisil tablets require blood monitoring, as taking long-term antifungal medication can alter your liver function and elevate your liver function tests. All anti-fungal oral medications have drug interactions and side effects to consider.

So, given the option of taking a prescription medication for months (that might not work in the long run); plus the prospect of blood monitoring and potential drug interactions it’s no wonder people suffering from toenail fungus are intrigued by the idea of a laser. Also your liver will be working harder to remove the antifungal medication from your body.

Laser is approximately 80% effective. My clients have described the feeling of the laser on their toes, as similar to running hot tap water onto them. It uses heat and safe, localized radiation from the laser to kill the fungal spores. There are no known side effects from using the laser, although it is not recommended for use on anyone during pregnancy. Conventional therapy (nail lacquers) isn’t cheap ($60-$100 for a bottle), and is unlikely to be successful. As stated before, the length of time and thus compliancy required for antifungal treatment, is all too often forgotten, so it is inevitable to fail. The nail lacquer doesn’t get applied to the nail on a regular basis, and there is the fact that the lacquer cannot penetrate through the nail to treat the spores in the nail bed.

Unfortunately at present, health funds do not cover laser for nail fungus, as this procedure is seen by health insurance companies as a largely cosmetic exercise. You need a minimum of 3 treatments with laser to ensure that all fungal spores are eradicated and re-infection does not occur. Each treatment is $150, and you are able to claim the consultation associated with laser treatment from your health fund.

Please call reception on 9518 0722 if you would like to make an appointment.