I suffered from toenail fungus for years. After trying many snake oil cures, I finally found Lamisil.
Toenail fungus is a nasty subject. Most of us who have it do as much as we can to disguise it. We wear shoes to the pool, avoid being barefoot in public, and shower with the bathroom door locked. It sounds funny, but if you suffer from toenail fungus, I'm sure you know the pain of having to hide the disease from your friends and family. And if, God forbid, it spreads to your fingernails, then you have to either resign yourself to having ugly fingers and toes, or find a cure.
This is my own, personal story. I am sharing it in the hopes of helping others with this disease. I developed athlete's foot in 1982 when I joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed in close quarters with 400 other sailors and only six communal showers. In those days, there were not many effective treatments for athlete's foot, and despite repeated treatments with creams and sprays, my athlete's foot fungus spread to my toenails.
First, my big toenails turned yellow and got thicker. Then, over a period of about five years, a brown and black rot spread from the tip, down through the bed of the nail to the base. It brought with it a horrific smell whenever I attempted to clean out the dead skin and fungus under the nails. By the time I left the Navy in 1988, I had toenail fungus on eight out of ten toes. It was gross, and I was really ashamed of it, although I played it off and didn't let anyone see it if I could avoid it. I became an expert at slipping out of my shoes and into the swimming pool in one quick motion.
For the next 10 years, my fungus gradually spread over my body. I got jock itch on a regular basis. Creams would cure it temporarily, but it always came back. The skin on my hands became flaky and dry. In 1992, I saw a dermatologist, who diagnosed me with eczema of the hands without even examining my feet or asking me about fungus. After three months of topical treatment, nothing changed and I essentially gave up on the treatment. Then the fungus spread into my fingernails. My little finger on my right hand lost most of its nail, and other fingernails turned yellow and became brittle.
Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I went to another dermatologist, who diagnosed my fingernail fungus and put me on a tablet called Sporanox, which was the best treatment available in those days. I took three rounds of Sporanox over an eighteen-month period. Each round consisted of one tablet per day for six weeks. At the end of those three rounds, my fingernail fungus was mostly cured. However, I still had dry, scaly skin on my hands and feet, and after one year the fungus under my toenails was unaffected. I was really disappointed, and once again I resigned myself to living with toenail fungus forever.
The Lamisil Breakthrough
In 2008, the fungus infection on my hands began to get really itchy and scaly again. I decided to investigate treatment options once again. My family doctor recommended Lamisil tablets. They were expensive and carried with them some risk of liver failure, but the risk was small and I decided to go for it. I couldn't afford to buy Lamisil from my local pharmacist at nearly four dollars per pill, so I took my prescription online and purchased generic Terbinafine from a European pharmacy, instead. I had read warnings about buying drugs from overseas—but frankly, at one-third the cost, I thought it was worth a try.
My Terbinafine arrived via airmail, and the packaging was from a reputable pharmaceutical company, so I thought it would be safe to try them out. I took my first round for nine weeks, and then rested for one month. In that time, I began to see some improvement at the base of my nails. Toenails grow really slowly, so it is hard to see any progress in the first three months. But the itchy, scaly skin on my hands cleared up within the first six weeks.
I took another round for nine weeks, and then I waited to see what would happen. After about three months, I noticed the brown, nasty skin under my nail beds was being replaced by pink, healthy tissue. This progression continued for twelve months. At the end of that time, I had a full cure on all of my toes except the big toes on both feet. They each had a tiny corner of yellowish nail bed near the tips. Unwilling to let the fungus get a toe-hold (pun intended), I decided to try to wipe it out forever.
I acquired another six weeks of Terbinafine from another online pharmacy and took it diligently. At the end of six more months, my toenail fungus was completely cured! Twenty-two years of suffering ended by Lamisil tablets. No more disgusting toenails, no more itchy skin, no more constant jock itch. Lamisil, or more accurately Terbinafine, worked beyond my expectations. I consider it a miracle product.
Tips for Getting a Cure
Some people who have spent a lot of money on Lamisil say that it did not work for their fungus infections. And that may be true for some—but I think a lot of people taking this medication just aren't doing it right. Here are some things I have learned from others, as well as from my own experience.
1) Take your pill every day at the same time. Lamisil actually forms a barrier to fungus, and pushes it out of your skin. If you miss a dose, that barrier will get holes in it and the fungus can jump through the holes back into fresh skin. You must take Lamisil faithfully. If you miss a dose, take it right away. If you miss a bunch of doses, you are essentially starting over. I have read that three weeks is the minimum treatment regimen for skin fungus, and six weeks is the minimum for nail fungus.
2) Watch out for signs of liver trouble. If you have a weak liver, Lamisil can overload it and cause liver failure. Watch out for the signs of liver failure, which you can look up on WebMD or other medical website. Your doctor will probably want to test your blood periodically while you are taking Lamisil, to look at your liver enzyme count. Do this if you have any doubts at all about your liver capacity.
3) Be patient. The biggest problem with toenail fungus is that it takes one to two years for the Lamisil barrier to push the fungus out with your toenail clippings. It is a long, slow process and you won't see any results for at least the first three months, unless you also have a skin infection. That will clear up within six weeks or so.
4) Finally, be clean. Toenail fungus is really contagious and insidious. When you cut your infected toenails, clean up the clippings and sanitize the area. And when your toenails are cured, throw away all of your clippers, files, and such and buy new ones. And wash your hands. A single fungus spore under your fingernail can start a brand-new infection.
I hope hearing my story has helped you. I know it is a little gross and hard to read, but I have encountered so many people suffering from toenail and fingernail fungus since I cured my infection, I just felt like I had to share these facts to get others to try the cure. Let me know about your experience if you have one. Thanks.
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Sousou on January 14, 2015:
Fungi Toe Nail Infection Cure? Help?!?I think I have caught a fungi toe ictonfien.I swim a lot and think i may have caught it from the swimming baths Both of my big toenails are slightly a discoloured brown/yellow colour and white/yellow in the corner and they are slightly painful when walking, etc.I have been told that the doctors will not be able to provide treatment for this as the only one available can cause kidney and liver ictonfiens so i'd rather avoid that.I was just wondering if anyone has ever expierienced this before, what caused it, how long it lasted and if there are any home remedies or things to treat it, such as tea tree oil etc?thanks!
Haitham on January 13, 2015:
Will this cure Toenail fungus?My husnabd has had toenail fungus for years now. First it was just one toe but now it spread to 3 more (on both feet).He has tried several different treatments but nothing has worked. Or it would work for a short while and then he gets lazy and the fungus comes back.A couple of days ago he lost the nail on his left big toe because of it and that was when I decided I had enough. He refuses to talk to a doctor about it so I did some research and found some home remedies that are supposed to work.We have tried Apple cider Vinegar, Lysterine and Vick's before.We have also tried soaking his feet in watered down hydrogen peroxide once a day before and that seemed to make it better.Now I am having him soak his toes in pure hydrogen peroxide for 20 minutes every night. Then he puts a liquid fungus blocker (Pro clearz) on. In the morning he puts the liquid on again. I bought him new socks and threw out all his old ones and he is wearing brand new shoes.Does this sound like a treatment that will work?I would also like to know what treatments have worked for other people.
Salina on January 10, 2015:
I too lost my middle nail fgienr because of fungus. My nail completely fell off before I knew I even had nail fungus as I thought I was suffering from a cactus poison that I also go on the same fgienr. Unfortunately the fungus spread and infected most of my toes and little fgienr nails too so I do understand what you are explaining. I also gave the fungus to my wife.My wife decided to take Lamisil and ended up with all sorts of intestinal gastro problems, mostly diarrhoea for four months. Lamisil did work for her but I do urge you to read my article on Nail Fungus Medications in the source box below before you take this path.In regard to the alternative methods you have tried. I suggest don't waste the time anymore. Your husband needs to be very consistent every single day for months on end and simply the enthusiasm wears off and hence the fungus remains. In the site below I have explained in much detail why each of these alternative treatments simply do not work for the vast majority.I can tell you without doubt that I used a natural product that contained tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is natures wonder oil and contains anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Really safe, yet very effective. The video at the top of the site is my nails and you will see what product I used there and had a complete success, and still have now many many months on.I also suggest you look at the Ozone / Oxidation of Nail Fungus on the site. You will see what you need to do to treat all of the shoes that your husband wears. To have any success to prevent reinfection you must do something like this. You are on the right track with hydrogen peroxide but this method takes up a lot of time.I have a lot of information on hydrogen peroxide and tea tree oil on my site too. I do urge you to have a look as nail fungus is a stubborn problem and unfortunately requires commitment no matter what the treatment. The product I used literally took a couple minutes to apply each day. Your husband could easily do this and stick to it.All the best for his success.
inspired on November 15, 2014:
I am a 43 yr old man. I have been dealing with this same issue for 34 yrs. I figured this was a problem i would die with. I missed many opportunities in life due to shame and embarrassment. Well i think im going to give this a try. Wish me the best.
Kim on April 29, 2013:
Did you have to do anything else, like clean showers, throw out all shoes and socks, bath towels?
xo on January 09, 2013:
This article is great - I'v been dealing with fungul issues ever since I got atheletes foot 5 years ago. I toally agree with the statement in taking terbinfine at the samee time ever day. I notice the different when I don't. I've been on it for 4 weeks.
donwon on November 07, 2012:
Thank you for your story, I too have been on a 20 year fight with this. I just started lamisil treatment, wish me luck!
Thanks on October 24, 2012:
This is rather late but a much appreciated shout out to your excellent write-up about lamisil.
I had an infected big toe nail since I was an adolescent. The fungus eventually spread to both feet - obviously with an athlete's foot condition. Some 30 years later I developed an infection of a few fingernails (I believe from another source) and when I lost one of the loose nails in an accident I finally had to take action.
This was in 2000 and I had very good health insurance at the time. Lamisil was fairly new but my doctor was definite that I should get it and that it was effective. Some people were being told to take it every other day - I think it was called pulsing - but she was adamant I take it every day. They tested for the type of infection in my toe nail and I had an initial liver test. They gave me a three month prescription to Lamisil for which I only had a $15 a month co-pay on the $250 a month price tage (phew!). One pharmacy didn't have enough to get me through one month but promised they could get the rest in time so I went elsewhere. It was explained that for the toe nails I needed 3 months of the oral pill since it stays in your system for 9 months and that would give me the 12 months needed for my big toe nails to grow out fully. I am a small female.
Lamisil worked beautifully and I had no side effects. I did have a friend whose nails were infected at a nail a salon and she developed a really bad skin itch. I never forgot to take my pill - how could I - it was finally this miracle cure I desperately wanted. Within a very short period of time the skin on my feet were like brand new baby's feet and I was so proud of them. LOL!
My finger nails and small toe nails all grew out within maybe 6 months - maybe less - and I waited for the big toe nails which also grew out in about the predicted 12 months. Sadly after all seemed cured when cutting my main and oldest infected toe nail I cut too far into the quick and eventually I ended up with that big toe nail being re-infected.
I have been waiting to get new health insurance before starting a new cure but I may just bite the bullet and pay for it myself. I wish I didn't need a prescription because that adds so much to the cost. Again thanks.
melo1154 on June 21, 2012:
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your story is just like mine. I began with athelete's foot at the age of about 10. 'always felt I was "fungus prone," having so many problems all my life with it. 'have also had it get in the toenails, had jock itch, had yeast infections, finally affecting fingernails, & ending up with itchy hands, scratching & forming blisters, trying not to bust the blisters, as that makes a sore that takes about a week to heal - putting iodine on the sores (creams don't work). 'finally told my doctor I needed to get on Lamisil (got on it before, noticed improvement, then my stupid insurance company cut me off after 4 months, and after a month passed, it came back with a VENGEANCE, with horrible odor and itching from hands and feet!) - just recently got back on it, as it is now affordable, having gone generic here in the USA, thank God!
I still wonder about you taking the "breaks" from it. I have scheduled to take it for 6 months straight. I didn't know you could stop it at all, for any length of time. 'figured it takes a good 6 months for the toenails to grow out. After reading this, if I still have residual fungus after the 6 months, I'm thinking about waiting (for how long, I wonder?), then re-taking it for a couple of months. What do you think?
I've had to do this. My hands itch so badly, it drives me insane, & I have to scratch, which causes the blisters. It flares up often. I have 6 sores on my hands now, and 2 un-opened blisters (all treated with iodine) - it still "moves" around in my hands, tho, & I never know where it will pop up next. I just have to kill this awful stuff. It's been a nightmare!
Again, thank you so much. After looking around so much online, your post has finally touched the exact point I was looking for! :)
REROCK on April 01, 2012:
THANK YOU IM INSPIRED TO NOT GIVE UP
Tita on November 10, 2011:
Your story has been very helpful because I'm suffering with fungus on my nails for years that I decided to take the pills about a moth and I was getting very inpatient, but u gave me hope thank you very much