Background: current medication treatments for onychomycosis have less than full cure-rate efficacy and have the potential for adverse side effects. Vicks VapoRub (The Proctor & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, OH) has been advocated in the lay literature as an effective treatment for onychomycosis. This pilot study tested Vicks VapoRub as a safe, cost-effective alternative for treating toenail onychomycosis.
Methods: eighteen participants were recruited to use Vicks VapoRub as treatment for onychomycosis. Participants were followed at intervals of 4, 8, 12, 24, 36, and 48 weeks; digital photographs were obtained during initial and follow-up visits. Primary outcome measures were mycological cure at 48 weeks and clinical cure through subjective assessment of appearance and quantifiable change in the area of affected nail by digital photography analysis. Patient satisfaction was a secondary outcome, measured using a single-item questionnaire scored by a 5-point Likert scale.
Results: fifteen of the 18 participants (83%) showed a positive treatment effect; 5 (27.8%) had a mycological and clinical cure at 48 weeks; 10 (55.6%) had partial clearance, and 3 (16.7%) showed no change. All 18 participants rated their satisfaction with the nail appearance at the end of the study as "satisfied" (n = 9) or "very satisfied" (n = 9).
Conclusions: Vicks VapoRub seems to have a positive clinical effect in the treatment onychomycosis.