Light-based therapies show potential for onychomycosis

January 28, 2014

Results of a new study show that laser and other light-based therapies show potential as a treatment for onychomycosis.

 

Results of a new study show that laser and other light-based therapies show potential as a treatment for onychomycosis.

As part of the study, a research team led by Arisa Ortiz, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, reviewed literature on the effectiveness of laser and other energy-based treatments for onychomycosis.

Topical therapies have limited success in treating the condition, due to their inability to penetrate the nail plate, while systemic treatments are more successful but carry much greater risks of side effects, including hepatotoxicity.

As a result of the literature review, the researchers found that although laser and other energy-based treatments show much promise, there is a great deal of research that must be done in order to determine specifics of the treatments, such as ideal light source, pulse duration and a schedule for long-term successful treatment.

“Onychomycosis is a therapeutic challenge for dermatologists,” Dr. Ortiz tells Dermatology Times. “Nd:YAG lasers, such as the 1,320 nm laser, offer a safe and effective alternative for improving the appearance of onychomycosis. Further investigation is warranted to determine the optimal treatment settings.”

The authors noted that among the study’s limitations was the fact that it was a literature review and that many of the studies they reviewed were small or poorly designed - thus necessitating further investigation.

The study was published online in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.