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Overview
Do it yourself?
Prescription options

Prescription options

Last reviewed: July 2010

If you decide to treat with a prescription drug, for whatever reason, it will cost you. Bear in mind that there is no medicine that is effective or safe for everyone. Two prescription oral antifungal drugs, Terbinafine (Lamisil and generic) and itraconazole (Sporanox and generic), have been in use for several years and have been shown to be effective in up to 50 percent of takers. Monitoring is necessary since either can be toxic to the liver. Costs for a three-month course of treatment can run up to several hundred dollars, not including doctor's visits and cost of tests.

Ciclopirox (Penlac Nail Lacquer and generic) is a less effective paint-on medication and has to be applied daily for at least four months and probably longer. Laser treatment recently arrived on the scene, and a single treatment, usually by a podiatrist, may be effective nearly 90 percent of the time, but at around $1,200 a pop.