Annoying as hell, isn’t it?
Your unsightly nails are really bothering you, and you are desperate for a fast solution.
While Penlac nail lacquer is a topical medication that doctors may prescribe for patients —
Does it really work, based on medical studies and actual user reviews?
What are the over the counter alternatives for nail fungus treatment?
Ciclopirox Nail Lacquer and Brand Names
According to MedicineNet, Ciclopirox is an antifungal agent approved by the U.S. FDA for the treatment of dermatophytes, a type of fungus that grows on the skin, nails, and hair. It is available in various forms – cream, powder, solution or gel.
While Ciclopirox Olamine Cream is commonly used to treat fungal skin infections such as ringworm, jock itch, and athlete’s foot —
Ciclopirox is available in 8% topical solution form, marketed under brand names of Penlac and Loprox, to treat fungal infections of the toenails and fingernails.
As the key ingredient of Penlac Nail Lacquer, Ciclopirox is a synthetic compound that has been discovered to have strong antifungal properties, in which it is generally classified under the hydroxyl pyridine family in medical labs.
Its physical features are colorless or a slightly yellowish solution. It is topically applied on fingernails and toenails that have been affected by nail fungus. The properties of Ciclopirox make it useful in the treatment of infected nails that have depreciated to a condition where the nail will have to be removed.
How Does Penlac 8% Nail Lacquer Solution Work?
Ciclopirox in Penlac works by destroying the metabolic functions of the fungal cell; this is achieved due to its properties which disrupt the production of intracellular energy within the cell causing a breakdown resulting from the toxic peroxide.
The fungal cells are also deprived of nutrients like amino acids and nucleotides which aid the production of protein. This is caused by the Ciclopirox that has been applied to the affected nail.
Composition wise, 8% of this topical Penlac Nail Lacquer contains 80mg of ciclopirox in the solution which also consists of ethyl acetate, NF, isopropyl alcohol, USP and butyl monoester of poly in isopropyl alcohol.
Only after a comprehensive evaluation has been carried out by a physician to find out the spectrum of activity, efficacy and an agreement on the cost for the procedure has been reached with the patient should an antifungal therapy be selected for treatment.
You will only be able to use this drug with a prescription from a doctor after a comprehensive evaluation of the infected nail has been done. Ciclopirox is prescribed to patients in the appropriate doses that apply to the various forms.
Penlac Nail Lacquer is recommended by doctors for mild to moderate fungus infections.
In more severe cases of Onychomycosis (fungal nail infections), the treatment method used is a combination of ciclopirox and terbinafine due to the nature of infection.
Does Penlac Really Work to Treat Nail Fungus?
While Ciclopirox is used to improve nails condition –
Ciclopirox may not completely cure nail fungus, and the treatment may take 6 months or longer before the nails are getting better, according to MedlinePlus.
In the United States, there have been at least two clinical trials conducted to test Penlac Nail Lacquer Solution 8% while evaluating the application of ciclopirox nail lacquer in the treatment of less severe onychomycosis.
The results of these trials with the Penlac nail lacquer were not convincing.
In the study conducted by University of Toronto, the application of ciclopirox 8% nail lacquer combined with nail debridement over a period of 48 weeks indicated mycological cure rates (negative culture and negative potassium hydroxide preparation) of 29% as the recorded outcome of the first trial and 36% as the recorded outcome of the second trial.
Additionally, studies published by DailyMed and Podiatry Today show test trials using the Ciclopirox 8% nail lacquer revealed complete cure rates (mycological cure and the normal features of the toenail) was remarkably low within the range of 5.5 to 8.5 %.
Apparently, patients’ review also revealed the inefficacy of topical Penlac in treating fungal disease of nails, with the 20 actual user reviews below from the reputable WebMD (source) show poor satisfaction level among the Penlac users with poor results achieved.
Ciclopirox 8% nail lacquer has shown unsatisfactory outcomes from therapeutic procedures, with the results are not improved by the inclusion of concomitant nail debridement.
The therapeutic research studies conducted to investigate the efficacy of Ciclopirox also consider nail debridement as a big part of the research. The combination of concomitant nail debridement has had a minimal impact on the potency of ciclopirox when used to treat more severe cases of nail fungus like Onychomycosis.
After evaluating these outcomes, physicians will choose to prescribe the use of ciclopirox only for less severe cases of onychomycosis, and in cases where the patients show intolerance for oral antifungal medication.
If you have tried Penlac nail lacquer but it didn’t really work —
Below are the top 3 leading nail fungus products in the market as over the counter alternatives.
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Ciclopirox / Penlac Solution Application Directions
Step 1: The infected nails should be properly trimmed before commencing treatment. You can do this by yourself or get help from medical personnel if you experience constant numbness in your fingers especially in diabetes patients.
Step 2: Apply the ciclopirox solution evenly on the affected nail either on the finger or foot using the brush for application attached to the bottle cap. Attempt to get the solution into the nail bed and beneath the nail plate. After application, the patient might feel some coolness when the ethyl acetate and isopropyl alcohol evaporates.
Step 3: Clean the bottle cap, brush, and the bottle neck before replacing the bottle cap securely.
Step 4: Leave the treated nail to dry for about thirty seconds.
Step 5: The next application should be done over the previous layer of ciclopirox put on the affected nail.
Step 6: Treatment should be done once a day for all the infected nails. The repeatedly coated layers should be removed using alcohol after seven days.
Step 7: Removing the layer of ciclopirox after seven days should be done with a piece of a cotton swab or tissue soaked in alcohol. After this, attempt to remove as much of the damaged nails as you can use a nail file or nail clippers.
Step 8: This treatment should be continued throughout the duration of the therapy.
- Be careful to prevent the solution from coming in contact with your skin.
- During the duration of the therapy, avoid the use of cosmetics like nail polish etc.
- The treatment should be done throughout the period of the therapy even when the symptoms have disappeared, to prevent recurrence of the nail fungus infection.
- There might be cases where no visible improvement is observed even when the treatment has lasted for over six months. In cases like this, you should make a report to your doctor who will carry out further medical investigations. It usually takes as long as one year for the normal appearance of the previously infected nail to be restored.
Penlac Topical Solution (Ciclopirox) Side Effects
There are some common side effects that have been reported by patients, they include rash, periungual erythema, and erythema of the proximal nail fold (especially in patients receiving ciclopirox nail lacquer topical treatment).
Patients have also reported experiencing irritations and burning sensations while undergoing treatment. There might also be changes in the shape and color of the nail. Please note that if any of these side effects persist, you should quickly inform your doctor.
The occurrence of severe side effects is quite low because the prescriptions are usually done after the doctors have confirmed that the patient is not likely to experience them.
Severe side effects that should be immediately reported to a doctor include- experiencing blisters, swelling or oozing from the infected nail after the commencement of treatment. Other observations that should raise concern include itching and swelling of the face, tongue or throat, breathing difficulties and dizziness.
Penlac Reviews Summary and Over The Counter Alternatives
Considering the discomfort that fungal infections cause to the affected finger or toe nails, it is important that a good treatment is used to stop the spread of the infection and at the same time healing the affected nails.
A patient with an infected finger or toe nails can get relief from the symptoms – aching nails, splitting nails or discoloration – with the proper treatment. One potent treatment against fungal infections that affect the nails is the use of Penlac (Ciclopirox) 8% topical solution.
Penlac Nail Lacquer is a prescription only medicine which is not available for sale over the counter in stores like Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, and Boots UK.
In case you are alternatives, it’s recommended that you check out the top 3 over the counter nail fungus treatment products on the market as shown in the table above, for you to make an educated purchase decision to get rid of your nail fungus fast: