Treatment of onychomycosis

Article information

J Korean Med Assoc. 2019;62(7):385-391
Publication date (electronic) : 2019 July 17
doi :
Department of Dermatology, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Corresponding author: Yang Won Lee E-mail:
Received 2019 June 27; Accepted 2019 June 29.



Onychomycosis is a fungal nail infection caused by various fungal species, including dermatophytes, non-dermatophytes, and yeast. It is one of most bothersome nail problems, because it may cause permanent deformity of the nail, local pain, paresthesia, and difficulties performing activities of daily living and engaging in social interactions. Additionally, the treatment of onychomycosis is considered to be challenging because of the long duration of treatment, high recurrence and treatment failure rates, and drug interactions. In this article, we review the prognostic factors for onychomycosis treatment, the treatment options that have been approved, and off-label therapies and devices. Furthermore, we describe preventive therapy for recurrence and emerging methods to achieve a high cure rate. For successful treatment of onychomycosis, the risk factors should be clarified according to the patient's status and the clinical characteristics of onychomycosis. Recently, combinations of various treatment options, such as systemic therapy with simultaneous topical antifungal agents and boost therapy, have been reported as effective treatments of onychomycosis. In addition, laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, and plasma therapy have been proposed as emerging curative options. Providing patient-specific treatment based on an understanding of these treatments plays a pivotal role in achieving better treatment results. This article suggested the updated treatment options for onychomycosis to help clinicians make proper plans and achieve better results.


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