Toenail onychomycosis treated with a fractional carbon-dioxide laser and topical antifungal cream

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 May;70(5):918-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2014.01.893. Epub 2014 Mar 18.


Background: Traditional pharmacotherapy for onychomycosis has low to moderate efficacy and may be associated with adverse reactions and medication interactions limiting its use in many patients.

Objective: We evaluated the clinical efficacy and safety of a fractional carbon-dioxide laser with topical antifungal therapy in the treatment of onychomycosis.

Methods: In all, 24 patients were treated with fractional carbon-dioxide laser therapy and a topical antifungal cream. The laser treatment consisted of 3 sessions at 4-week intervals. Efficacy was assessed based on the response rate from standardized photographs, a microscopic examination of subungual debris, and subjective evaluations.

Results: Among the patients, 92% showed a clinical response and 50% showed a complete response with a negative microscopic result. The factors that influenced a successful outcome were the type of onychomycosis and the thickness of the nail plate before treatment. The treatment regimen was well tolerated and there was no recurrence 3 months after the last treatment episode.

Limitations: The study followed up only 24 patients and there were no relevant treatment controls.

Conclusions: Fractional carbon-dioxide laser therapy, combined with a topical antifungal agent, was effective in the treatment of onychomycosis. It should be considered an alternative therapeutic option in patients for whom systemic antifungal agents are contraindicated.

Keywords: fractional laser; laser therapy; onychomycosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antifungal Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Gas / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morpholines / administration & dosage*
  • Onychomycosis / drug therapy*
  • Onychomycosis / surgery*
  • Skin Cream


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Morpholines
  • amorolfine