Update on the Latest Information on Fungal Nails

Thick, yellow, crumbly toenails are so common that we either all have them, or know someone who does. Based on the most recent studies, the numbers are somewhere between 2-20% of the population that is affected by nail fungus. We do know that genetics has a lot to do with whether or not you will have nail fungus. We also know that diabetics have a higher rate of nail fungus than those without diabetes. Increasing age and trauma to the nails also raises your risk for exposure to nail fungus. There are 3 options for treating nail fungus. The first option is to use topical antifungal medications that are applied to the nail like nail polish, daily. Until very recently topical medications have been only mildly affective. We at Sarasota Foot Care Center are proud to announce the arrival of a new topical medication that is said to be a revolution in topical treatments for nail fungus. The medication is called FFN. It is a combination of some of the most potent antifungal medications available in a perfectly safe, clear liquid formulation. There is no smell, no thick residue and a small bottle will last about 4 months. The cost for this small bottle is $36. In most cases 2-3 bottles will be needed for the entire treatment. It takes about a year for nails to fully grow out and that is how long the nail must be treated topically. FFN is available without prescription in medical practitioners’ offices. The manufacturer of FFN is so confident that it will work that there is a 100% money back guarantee! Yes, you read that right. If for whatever reason you are unhappy with the product or the results you simply contact the company and tell them the date you purchased the medication, the doctor you purchased it from, how much you paid and your shipping address. A refund will be mailed to you in 45 days. We at Sarasota Foot Care Center have never seen a guarantee like this and we are very excited to provide such a superior product to our patients. Now you have nothing to lose…except for those ugly toenails. The second option to treat nail fungus is an oral pill called Lamisil. This pill is now available in a generic form, called Terbinifine. In the generic form the cost of the medication drops from about $1000 to $15. Terbinifine is available at Wal-mart for $15 with or without insurance. The treatment consists of taking one pill a day for 90 days. Prior to taking the prescribed medication you will need to have a blood test to check your liver enzymes. Terbinifine is flushed through your liver, just like almost every other medication. If you take several medications already or you have a history of liver disease, you may not be allowed to take this pill. Your doctor will be able to tell you if you are a good candidate for this treatment. The good news about Terbinifine is that it is inexpensive, very easy to take and has a reported 85% effectiveness. The down side is that many people are not able to take the medication. Understand that if you do take the medication it is only for 90 days but the nail will still have to grow out for about a year. This treatment is not faster in any way than the topical treatment. All treatments take about a year because the growth rate of the nail is what dictates the time it takes for the nail to appear normal again. The third option to treat nail fungus is the nail laser. Laser is really a fancy term that means light. Essentially a laser is a specific form of focused light. In this case, some brilliant scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used light to kill nail fungus while not harming nail or skin tissue. The nail laser is perfectly safe for anyone regardless of medications, age or overall health. The laser treatments are done in the comfort of our Waldemere office. The treatments take between 15 and 60 minutes depending on the number of nails involved. Based on the severity of your nail fungus you will receive 3 or 4 treatments spread out over a few months. The laser has a reported success rate of 85% without any of the risk factors of the oral medication. The only reason the laser therapy has not completely replaced the other therapies is cost. If you can afford the nail laser it is without a doubt the best, safest, most effective treatment for nail fungus. The cost of the nail laser depends on the number of nails involved and ranges from $600-$1400. Unfortunately this cost is not covered by any health insurances. After taking in all of this information you have to discuss with your doctor what the best approach for you would be. One size does not fit all. If the cost of the laser is not an impediment, the laser treatment is the best option. If cost is a factor, you have to decide if you are eligible to take the oral medication and if you want to take a pill even if you are allowed to take it. If you can’t take the pill or just don’t want to, the topical medication is your best option. Regardless of which option you chose it is critical that you treat this fungal infection. If left untreated nail fungus will get worse, it will spread and it can cause fungal infection of the skin. Remember that all treatments are just that, treatments not cures. There is no cure for this infection just as there is no cure for any infection. You may have a re-infection if you don’t take steps to prevent it. These steps consist of use of topical antifungal creams to the skin and antifungal sprays to the shoes once the fungus is cleared from the nails. Treating nail fungus is a challenge but with the tools that are available to us today we can free you of this uncomfortable and often embarrassing condition. The treatments take a while to work so you had better get started today! Committed to your health, Dr. Craig Conti Sarasota Foot Care Center www.sarasotafootcarecenter.com

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