Do I Need a Prescription to Treat Toenail Fungus, and How Much Will it Cost?
Posted by Jenn F.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that crumbly, yellow, thick nails spell toenail fungus. Of course, if you want an official diagnosis, the average cost of visiting a podiatrist generally ranges from $50 to $100. Plus you’ll need to find a podiatrist who is accepting new patients and finagle your work schedule to make an appointment. It’s true – going to a doctor can be a pain! But what can you do? Do you need a prescription, or are there over-the-counter medications for toenail fungus? We’ve got the answer, and we weigh the costs.
What Is The Best Toenail Fungus Treatment?
Prescription toenail fungus medication (like terbinafine or itraconazole) is the standard treatment. Even though cure rates can be as low as 50%, it’s cheaper and better studied than laser toenail fungus removal, and it’s much more effective than nail lacquers or topical creams that aren’t worth the containers they sit in. A full course of treatment with Lamisil could cost $5,000 with several months’ use. However, with generic terbinafine on the market now, there is no reason to pay so much for treatment. A doctor will require you to come in for regular liver screenings at $50 – $80 a pop. Side effects may include liver damage and permanent taste loss, so it’s understandable why you would need to consult a doctor before embarking upon oral antifungal treatment.
Are There Any OTC Toenail Fungus Medications?
If you don’t want to visit a doctor, there are a few medications you could use without a prescription. Purnail, Funginix, Lamisil Athlete’s Foot cream, and Dr. Scholl’s Fungal Nail Treatment are a few types of OTC solutions available. However, these medications have not been tested in clinical studies for efficiency against toenail fungus, so there is no guarantee it won’t be money wasted. Searching the internet, you’ll find a number of people claiming that everything from white vinegar to Vicks Vaporub can help eliminate toenail fungus, but evidence is scant.
The Truth About Toenail Fungus
Yes, folks: Toenail fungus is a huge pain! It takes quite some time to heal, no matter which type of treatment you choose. You will need to wait until the fungus nail grows out, which will probably take six months to a year. Milder cases may be filed down to improve the appearance temporarily while you heal. If you don’t feel you can stick to a daily treatment schedule for months on end, it may be worth splurging the $1,500 or so for onychomycosis laser treatment. If you are truly serious about banishing fungus, you’ll at least need prescription toenail fungus pills to do the trick.
You’ll also need to be committed to preventing the return of toenail fungus. Many people believe that toenail fungus is a chronic condition that people suffer from for years on end. However, we find the majority of recurrent cases come from people who unknowingly re-infect themselves by sticking their feet back into shoes that are contaminated with toenail fungus. What’s the point of paying for any treatment if tiny fungal spores in your shoes will keep infecting you? A SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer kills 99.9% of all fungus, bacteria, and microbes in footwear in just one 45-minute session. For just $139, wouldn’t you say that’s worth every penny?