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Fungal nail infection - What treatments work for fungal nail infections?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

With the right treatment you should be able to get rid of a nail infection caused by a fungus, even if you've had it for years. But you may have to be patient. It could take months to clear up.

Key points about treating fungal nail infections

  • To get rid of a fungal nail infection you will probably have to take tablets, sometimes for six months or longer.

  • Fingernail infections tend to clear up quicker than toenail infections. You may need to take tablets for only six weeks for a fingernail infection.

  • You'll probably need to have a sample of nail sent to the laboratory for tests to make sure you have a fungal infection.

  • There's a small chance the tablets will damage your liver, so you may have a test to check your liver is healthy before starting treatment.

  • There are also varnishes for infected nails. Normally doctors recommend tablets for this condition. But if the problem is mild, you may be given a nail varnish that kills the fungal infection.

  • If your infection is severe or keeps coming back, your doctor may recommend removing part or all of your nail. But this treatment is rarely used.

  • If your nail infection doesn't bother you, you may wish to leave it alone.

  • There are some things you can do to protect your nails from infections after they're been treated. To learn more, see How to avoid getting a fungal nail infection.

Which treatments work best? We've looked at the research and given a rating for each treatment according to how well it works.

For more help in deciding which treatment is best for you, see How to use research to support your treatment decisions.

Treatment of fungal nail infections

Treatments that work Treatments that are likely to work
  • Fluconazole tablets (brand name Diflucan): These are antifungal tablets. They treat infections caused by a fungus. But fluconazole isn't usually given to people with nail infections. More...

Treatments that need further study

Glossary

liver

Your liver is on the right side of your body, just below your ribcage. Your liver does several things in your body, including processing and storing nutrients from food, and breaking down chemicals, such as alcohol.

For more terms related to Fungal nail infection

Citations

For references related to Fungal nail infection click here.
Last Updated: December 05, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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