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Dermatology. 2013;226(1):5-12. doi: 10.1159/000345105. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

Efficacy, safety and tolerability of an optimized avulsion technique with onyster® (40% urea ointment with plastic dressing) ointment compared to bifonazole-urea ointment for removal of the clinically infected nail in toenail onychomycosis: a randomized evaluator-blinded controlled study.

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Dermatologie, Université Paul Sabatier et Hôpital Larrey, FR-31000 Toulouse, France.



Toenail onychomycosis is highly prevalent, with 14-28% of people aged 60 or over suffering from the disease. Use of a topical antifungal alone in toenail onychomycosis is associated with low cure rates. This may be due to limited penetration of the topical antifungal through the diseased nail. The objective of the present study was to compare two treatment modalities to obtain diseased nail chemical avulsion in toenail onychomycosis.


In this European, multicenter, randomized, parallel-group, open-label, active-controlled study, male or female adult patients with distal-lateral or lateral subungual dermatophyte onychomycosis on at least 12.5% of the great toenail were randomized either to a 40% urea ointment with plastic dressing group (n = 53) or to a bifonazole-urea ointment group (n = 52). The ointments were applied daily for a maximum of 3 weeks according to the summary of product characteristics. After assessment of infected nail debridement, topical antifungal treatment with bifonazole cream was applied daily in both groups for 8 weeks. 102 patients were evaluated, i.e. 51 in the 40% urea ointment with plastic dressing group and 51 in the bifonazole-urea group. The primary end point was complete removal of the nail plate at day 21 (D21). Secondary end points were: complete cure and mycological cure evaluated at D105. Ease of use and local tolerability were also assessed.


Complete removal of the clinically infected target nail plate area, assessed by blinded evaluators, was significantly higher in the 40% urea ointment with plastic dressing group (61.2%) than in the control group (39.2%), showing the superiority of 40% urea ointment with plastic dressing (p = 0.028). The same results were observed in the per-protocol population (63.0 vs. 36.6%; p = 0.014). Complete removal of the infected area assessed by the investigator at D21 showed a significantly higher success rate in patients treated with 40% urea ointment with plastic dressing (86.3%) as compared to patients treated with bifonazole-urea (60.8%), confirming the superiority of 40% urea ointment with plastic dressing (p = 0.004). At D105, the complete cure of onychomycosis, a criterion combining clinical and mycological assessments, showed a success rate of 27.7% for 40% urea ointment with plastic dressing versus 20.8% for the control group. No statistical difference was observed between the two treatment groups. The number of patients with at least one adverse event was twice as high in the bifonazole-urea group in comparison to the 40% urea ointment with plastic dressing group. Overall assessment of local tolerability by the investigator was considered good/very good in 98.0% of the 40% urea ointment with plastic dressing patients versus 90.4% of the bifonazole-urea patients, at D21, with no significant difference between both groups.


This study shows the superiority of 40% urea ointment with plastic dressing to bifonazole-urea ointment for complete removal of the infected target nail assessed by blinded evaluators and by the investigators. Further studies are needed to assess the impact of preliminary chemical nail avulsion on the efficacy of topical treatment of onychomycosis as assessed by complete cure at 1 year.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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