I had a patient from Kirkland in our office this week asking about the laser fungal nail treatment with the Pinpointe laser that she had seen advertised on television.

Fungal nails are a frustrating problem.  People who have these thick and unsightly nails are looking for solutions.  No treatment is completely effective and many do not want to take the oral medications that are available.  They see the advertisements touting the “amazing success” of using laser to get rid of the fungus and are very tempted to try the treatment.

There are more and more advertisements showing up for this laser treatment, and you should be cautious because many of them are misleading.  They simply give too rosy a picture of how effective lasers are for treatment of fungal nails.  It’s not that they are not effective at all, in fact we offer laser treatment in our Seattle office, but there are still no long-term studies in peer reviewed journals that demonstrate exactly how effective these unis are.

Currently, only one treatment has been shown definitively  to work more than 50% of the time to cure fungal nails.  The oral medication terbinafine (Lamisil) has a 60% – 75% success rate, depending on the study you look at.   Overall, this drug has a good safety profile, although like many drugs it is cleared from your body by your liver and should not be used by those with liver abnormalities.   Laser treatment probably has a similar success rate, but long-term studies to prove this are not yet available.  Make an appointment to discuss all of the available treatments including laser. There are also some very effective ways to make the nail thinner and more attractive without taking medication.

You can click here for information on laser treatments for nail fungus.  We’ll let you know when new information is available.  For now, we are still advising consumers to avoid paying money for unproven laser nail treatment.

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