\ Treating Toenail Fungus

The longer you ignore toenail fungus,

the harder it is to treat

Understand how each treatment works and prepare for what you can expect while your toenail regrows.

Treatment options

Depending on the severity of your toenail fungus, you and your doctor may decide on a treatment plan with only one medication or a combination of them.

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Topicals deliver medicine directly to the nail

Topical treatments are usually used for mild to moderate cases of toenail fungus infection.

What to expect

  • Some topical options have been specially formulated to pass through the nail
  • You may need to apply the topical once a day for a year, which is the amount of time it could take a toenail to fully regrow itself


  • A topical only impacts the area to which you apply it
  • Topicals do not require laboratory blood monitoring
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Orals deliver medicine through the bloodstream

Oral treatments, which are also called systemic treatments, are typically prescribed for more serious cases of toenail fungus.

What to expect

  • Orals can remain active in the nail for up to 90 days
  • Treatment may last from 6 weeks to 4 months


  • Orals work through the bloodstream, which can cause side effects that may impact the whole body
  • Regular laboratory monitoring is required with oral treatment
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Laser therapy works with heat and light

Laser-based treatments are used for cosmetic reasons and have not been properly studied for the treatment of toenail fungus.

What to expect

  • Multiple sessions may be needed before you see results
  • It may take six to 18 months of consistent treatment for laser therapy to be effective for toenail fungus


  • Patients have reported mild side effects but generally not to a level requiring them to stop treatment
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Over-the-counter drugs do not require a prescription

With these options, you should monitor the condition of your toenail fungus closely and contact your doctor if it worsens.

What to expect from treatment

It will take a while before you see results

This is because it can take a normal toenail up to one year to fully regrow itself, while a fingernail will take about six months to regrow itself. If you are in the middle of treatment and aren’t seeing the results you had expected, do not stop. Talk to your doctor and give the medicine time to work.

Complete and visible improvement is not always possible

Certain conditions, like a compromised immune system or diabetes, can make it difficult to completely improve your toenail fungus, even when it looks like it is gone.

In other cases, treatment may eradicate all traces of fungus, but the nail can still grow back with permanent discoloration or disfigurement. This can be due to a history of nail injury or repeated nail infection. As disappointing as this might be, you can at least rest easier knowing you won’t spread it to your other digits or to anyone else.

Interested in learning more about a topical treatment for toenail fungus?

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