Q-switched Nd:YAG laser versus itraconazole pulse therapy in treatment of onychomycosis: A clinical dermoscopic and mycologic study

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2023 Jan 30. doi: 10.1111/jocd.15660. Online ahead of print.


Background: Onychomycosis (OM) represents about 50% of nail disorders. Oral antifungals have proven efficacy in the treatment of onychomycosis but their associated side effects limit their use. Accordingly, there is an increased need for a safe and effective therapy to induce clearance and improve the esthetic appearance of diseased nails.

Objective: The current study is an attempt to evaluate and compare the efficacy of Q-Switched Nd:YAG (1064 nm) laser as monotherapy versus pulse itraconazole in the clearance of onychomycosis.

Methods: In this prospective study, 40 onychomycosis patients were equally divided into two groups: Groups I (laser group) and II (Itraconazole group). Patients of Group I are treated with six biweekly sessions of Q-Switched Nd:YAG (1064 nm) laser. Patients of Group II are treated with itraconazole pulse therapy. The assessment of clearance was rated using the "Onychomycosis Severity Index (OSI)", photographs, dermoscopy, and mycology. All 40 patients were followed up for 3 months after the end of treatment.

Results: Group I's clinical improvement response was a marked improvement in 19 cases and moderate improvement in one case (OSI before treatment was 24.5 and after was 0). A dermoscopic cure occurred in 19 cases. Mycological cure was obtained in 19 cases. Group II's clinical improvement response was marked in 15 and moderate in 5 (OSI before treatment was 24 and after was 0). Dermoscopic cure occurred in 15 cases. Mycological cure was obtained in 15 cases. There were no adverse effects. The clinical response, the dermoscopic cure, and the mycological cure were equal in both groups, with no significant difference found between them.

Conclusion: Q-Switched Nd:YAG (1064 nm) laser can be used as an effective and safe modality in the clearance of nail onychomycosis, particularly in patients who have a contraindication to or refuse the use of oral antifungals.

Keywords: Q-switched Nd; YAG laser; itraconazole; onychomycosis.