Laser removal of toenail fungus does not appear to have side effects, but it is common for the fungus to return within five years, according to The Washington Post. However, some medical professionals do not believe that lasers are effective against fungus, The New York Times suggests.
In 2010, the FDA approved the use of lasers to temporarily treat nail fungus, The Washington Post says. Typically, insurance does not pay for laser treatments for nail fungus, states The New York Times. Each laser exposure costs hundreds of dollars, and several sessions are required. As of 2014, studies that demonstrate successful use of lasers have been small and not randomized. In addition, laser companies have financed most of the research.
The standard medicinal approach for treating nail fungus is an oral drug, Lamisil, explains The Washington Post. This medication proves successful over 65 percent of the time, yet a serious but rare liver reaction is possible. More mild, possible side effects are diarrhea, headache or rash. After using Lamisil, about 15 percent of patients develop the fungus again within a year. In some rare cases, doctors are able to destroy the tissue under the nails to remove reoccurring fungus. However, this prevents all future nail growth.