Topical treatments for fungal infections of the skin and nails of the foot

Added April 10, 2013

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Placebo-controlled trials of allylamines and azoles for athlete’s foot consistently produce much higher percentages of cure than placebo. Allylamines cure slightly more infections than azoles and are now available OTC [over the counter]. Further research into the effectiveness of antifungal agents for nail infections is required.

The skin between the toes is a frequent site of fungal infection (athlete’s foot or tinea pedis), and this can cause pain and itchiness. The skin may become white and macerated, and vesicles (small blisters) may form. These can erupt and spread to other areas of the foot, especially the soles where the area becomes reddened and raw. Also, patches of hard, thickened skin occur on the soles, heels, and side of the feet. This can lead to splits (fissures) in the skin. Fungal infections of the toenail can affect the entire nail plate, and one, several, or all toenails can be infected simultaneously. This review assesses the effects of topical treatments in successfully treating fungal infections of the skin of the feet and toenails, and in preventing recurrence.