Should I Use an OTC or Prescription Topical Toenail Fungus Treatment?
It can be difficult to determine whether you should take a prescription antifungal medication or apply an over-the-counter toenail fungus treatment, but we aim to make that decision easier for you. The need for a solution that really works has never been greater.
According to PubMed Health, as much as 12% of the population suffers from foot and nail fungus. If you have it, you’re not alone. When it comes to treatment, it’s crucial to understand which medications are most effective and have no harmful side effects.
This article will explore the top OTC toenail fungus treatments. We’ll look closely at how these ‘safer’ over-the-counter options measure up against ‘stronger’ prescription meds. These medications can be highly effective, but they can sometimes have implications for your health.
Lastly, it is crucial to understand that while there are many toenail treatment products out there, some don’t work or cause allergic reactions. Just as some prescriptions have undesirable side effects, OTC meds vary concerning the level of effectiveness, as well.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Mild Fungal Infections / Early
- 2 Moderate Toenail Fungus / Intermediate
- 3 Severe Toenail Fungus / Advanced
- 4 Main Things to Remember When Choosing a Treatment
Mild Fungal Infections / Early
A mild toenail infection can appear to be harmless, which is why so many people ignore it. But ignoring it is a huge mistake, especially when the fix can take just a month, and there are so many options available. Aside from the fact that it’s going to get worse, not better, on its own, having an infection like this is contagious.
Yes, that’s the truth – toenail fungus is contagious. That means if you’re touching toes with a loved one under the covers late at night thinking of sharing your lives together, you’re also sharing your toe fungus.
But it doesn’t have to be. Step 1 is knowing the signs.
Do I Have a Mild Toe Fungus Infection?
Spotting a mild infection is easy, but often missed. We spend all day covering our feet, and then we just want to be off of them so we can relax.
If you have a mild discoloration, including black dots under the toenails, then you likely have a mild infection. It is growing under the nail, and if left unattended will turn those pretty nails you once had from clear, thin, little shields into yellow, thick, crumbling messes. Not only will an unattended infection be unattractive and embarrassing, but also painful and stressful.
Best OTC Treatment for Milder Fungus
Among the most popular simple treatments are anti-fungal nail polishes and creams. Not only are they convenient and affordable, but they do have an effect on the issue at hand. However, they should be used as a complement to an OTC treatment, not as the main form of medicating.
For treatment, we have found that Xenna NonyX Nail Gel is a simple, effective treatment specifically because it is reliable and it works.
Xenna NonyX is a simple gel you apply over the nails twice a day. Shortly after applying, it is okay to wear socks or get into bed. The key to success is consistent application twice a day. Initial results will take about two weeks, but it does work.
What’s also great about Xenna NonyX Nail Gel is that it is affordable, and is even reliable for moderate infections that have been left to linger.
Moderate Toenail Fungus / Intermediate
As noted, mild infections look harmless – little dots of discoloration that are easy to ignore. That is not the case with moderate infections. At this stage, your feet will be a real turn off.
You have yellowing and thickening of the nails. You’re embarrassed and do not want other people to see your feet, much less touch them. Also, and this cannot be stressed enough, you can infect others, so understanding the signs and knowing how to treat the problem is crucial.
Best OTC Treatment for Moderate Fungal Infections
The extra-strength treatment that will knock out toenail fungus is the Purely Northwest toenail fungus system. Not only do pharmacists recommend this product, but its multi-prong approach kills fungus while also helping your skin look nice.
Purely Northwest contains:
- 16 oz Tea tree oil foot soak
- 9 oz Antifungal wash
- 1 oz ReNew Nail Solution
It is great for travel because it’s compact. The application is simple and can be done during regular activities, such as soaking while reading content online or watching TV, washing in the shower, and applying the nail solution as part of getting dressed in the morning.
How Fast Does the Purely Northwest Work?
The key thing to remember is that while mild infections caught and treated quickly will be cured in a short period, such as a month, the stronger infections are harder to knock out. Moderate cases can take 3 months to cure, but the important thing to remember is that they can be taken care of with consistent treatment using the right products.
Lastly, it cannot be stressed enough that the Purely Northwest toenail fungus system is:
- Widely Available
- Easy to travel with
- Extremely affordable and effective
It can even be used for severe nail infections, but this is also where we will discuss more extreme measures that include intense treatments, and you should talk to your doctor about prescriptions.
Severe Toenail Fungus / Advanced
The odds are that when someone asks this question, they likely do. The nails have gone from a discomforting yellow to a harrowing black or brown.
At this stage, the previously noted remedies may have a positive effect and can solve the problem in 6 months or more.
Which Is the Right Medicine?
At this point, many want to consider a prescription from a doctor, which can be effective and should be considered in the worst cases, but it is not without risk. According to WebMD, taking an oral prescription for foot fungus can greatly harm your liver, kidneys, and heart.
These medications are effective and will likely cure your toenail fungus, but with the safe, slower options available, they may be best avoided. That’s why doctors usually recommend terbinafine (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox).
The main thing to remember is that this infection has been able to grow over a long time, so it will take some time to get rid of it. Thinking you can take a pill and everything will be perfect is not realistic.
Lastly, there are laser treatments that work. They have been found to be safe, but very expensive at over $1,000 per session.
How Long Does It Take to Work?
The period of cure is dependent on several factors:
- Length of infection period
- Severity of infection
- Seriousness of treatment
If your toes have been infected for a year, consider that if it takes a few months to cure, and stay cured, then that is pretty good.
If your toenails are black, thick, and growing at twice the rate they flake apart, then you may be in for a long haul when it comes to treatment, but all hope is not lost. You can be cured, and you can reclaim your life again so long as you are consistent and diligent.
This is something you need to resolve. You need to treat your toenail fungus infection diligently. And the treatments can be incorporated into your normal routine. If you’re chilling out in front of Netflix, then soak your feet. When you shower, use the wash. It really can be that simple. Afterwards, wear a pair of antifungal socks or antifungal nail polish (if you want to hide the visible signs of infection).
Can Serious Fungus Be Cured Faster?
As noted, prescriptions are effective for most people, but putting a pill that strong into your whole body as a means of making your toes better may be dangerous, particularly when there are localized treatments that have been proven to be effective and affordable. Laser treatments fall into the former category of being effective, but not the latter due to their cost.
We are not against prescription cures by any means, but if you can use a safer treatment, it is worth considering.
Main Things to Remember When Choosing a Treatment
The main things to Remember are as follows:
- Signs of mild, moderate, and severe infections
- The products for each stage of the infection
- The risks of prescriptions, and the need to talk to a doctor
It is easiest to solve this problem in the beginning stage when you have slight discoloration speckled across the nail bed, but this is very easy to miss or ignore, as well. This is because it’s often confused with other medical problems or ignored because it doesn’t affect your lifestyle.
Milder ailments require mild treatment, which includes a topical cream, a soothing soak, or even an all-day polish. Moderate treatments include extra strength OTC applications. At this stage, ignoring the problem can be painful. And severe treatments include, but are not limited to, soaks, topical creams and ointments. Regardless of the stage, Purely Northwest toenail fungus system is a good option.