In recent years, the first effective topical prescription treatment for nail fungus infections – nail fungus polish – has become available. Penlac, a commercial tradename for the drug ciclopirox is a nail laquer, a preparation that comes in a little bottle like a bottle of nail polish, and that is applied to the infected nail with a small brush. Ciclopirox is only recommended in cases where the infection does not affect the lunula (the cresent shaped white area at the base of the nail). In an advanced infection where fungus has invaded the lunula, Penlac is not recommended.
Ciclopirox copies the method of the average natural cure for nail fungus: an antifungal substance is applied to an infected nail in the hopes that it will penetrate the nail to reach the fungus and kill it. This approach has obvious advantages over systemic antifungal drugs. A nail fungus polish specifically treats the affected area and does not expose the rest of the body to antifungal agents. The possibility of adverse side effects of a systemic drug are eliminated and periodic blood tests to measure the drug’s effects on body functions are also avoided. Penlac is not perfect however.
Like every topical natural cure for nail fungus, ciclopirox takes a long time to work, frequently doesn’t result in a perfectly clear nail, doesn’t work on every species of fungus that may infect a nail, and should be used with caution in certain circumstances (such as immunosuppression, diabetes, epilepsy, pregnancy etc.: consult your doctor). Another marked disadvantage of this prescription drug is that Penlac nail fungus polish is expensive, putting it out of reach of many people without drug plans to Fungus Clear cover the expense.
When ciclopirox nail fungus polish cannot be used for health or financial reasons, or if the patient prefers not to use a prescription drug, a natural cure for nail fungus is an obvious choice. Relatively new products on the market, especially those that contain the antiseptic tea tree oil, are backed up by some scientific study but derived from natural sources and not controlled by pharmaceutical companies. Like ciclopirox, tea tree oil appears to be capable of penetrating the nail to reach the fungus, and it’s clear that tea tree oil has antifungal activity. It works well for many people.
Before prescribing ciclopirox nail fungus polish, your doctor should take a sample of your affected nail for laboratory testing. At this time, only microscopic examination and fungal culture can confirm that the problem with your nail is truly fungal growth. Other nail abnormalities can look a lot like fungal growth empirically, but are caused by something that will not be cured with antifungal agents. Likewise, before spending time and money on a natural cure for nail fungus, it’s a good idea to have the tests done to confirm fungal infection. Studies have estimated that as many as one third of patients treated with antifungals based on nail appearance alone, do not have nail fungus infection