Since nail fungus is so rampant nowadays, proper treatment is a must. One conventional treatment is by taking oral anti-fungals. It’s the most effective way of killing the fungi. The medicine is taken for several months until the sign of infection disappears. It’s a long course of treatment. But the question is, is it safe?
Drug of Choice
The doctor first assesses whether the condition of toenail fungus can benefit a lot from oral anti-fungal agents. There are quite many drugs in the market now. Each has its own risks. When choosing the drug, the therapeutic effect should outweigh the side effects. The drugs used to treat fungal infections include itraconazole, ketoconazole, fluconazole, terbanifine and griseofulvin. Each has its own use, action and efficacy. Age and ongoing health conditions are considered. Anti-fungal can react with other medications being taken and can aggravate other underlying diseases.
Effect of Oral Anti-fungals and Side Effects
Generally, anti-fungal agents work by inhibiting the cell wall of the fungus. Their mechanism works by stopping the way fungi grow leading to their death. As the medication is taken by the body, the body metabolizes the drug until it reaches the nail plate. Some drugs take 7-10 days to reach the plate. And some reaches a month. The duration may be 2 weeks and the longest is over a year.
The risks of anti-fungal agents range from simple to potentially life threatening. Mild ones are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, headache and skin rash. Serious ones include liver and kidney damage, dysrhythmia and heart failure. Before taking the drug, the doctor should take your blood test to check the blood count and liver enzymes. These should be normal. The drug causes these to elevate. During the course of therapy and after completion, blood counts and liver enzymes are monitored and evaluated to prevent added infection and organ damage.
Benefits versus Risks
Is taking medications worth the risk? Knowing the side effects of anti-fungal agents can be scary. Once the heart, kidneys and liver are hit, it would be hard to reverse the effects. Many have taken anti-fungal and were required to undergo dialysis and organ transplantation. There are several alternative treatments for toenail fungus. Creams work just the same as the oral ones and duration may be longer. However, side effects are minimized. There are even natural anti-fungal treatments that work well which are safer. For normal and young individuals, they might be able to tolerate oral forms of anti-fungal. For the immunocompromised, old and with co-morbids, the risk is higher. When cases that the fungal infection has become widespread and serious, this would definitely be a candidate for the oral ones.
Before you take your first pill of anti-fungal agent, you might want to try other means. For toenail fungus that is not severe, many remedies can be done to help improve the nail’s condition. Talk with your doctor about your concern and tackle each option that can be done.