Photodynamic Anti-mycotic (fungal) therapy (PACT) is a new, safe and effective light therapy used to treat fungal nail infections.
PACT is a combination of a sensitising drug and visible light that causes selective destruction of microbial including fungal cells. The treatment involves applying a photosensitive agent that is usually blue in colour and oxygen to produce a local chemical effect.
Fungal organisms that cause fungal nail infections can be effectively killed by photodynamic action employing phenothiazinium, porphyrin and phthalocyanine photosensitisers.
However, it is safe that it kills selectively only on fungi over human cells. It is also advisable to people with fungal nails that are difficult to manage due to underlying medical conditions that affect their immune system and other high-risk groups such as age, diabetes and other medical conditions.
Usually your podiatrist will be able to identify whether if you are suitable for this treatment following a thorough consultation gathering your medical history and lifestyle. Generally, PACT therapy is used to treat fungal nail infections whereby your podiatrist will be able to identify it through examination of the nail and history taking. With current advancement in medical research, PACT therapy has also been found safe to be used for skin conditions such as in the treatment of wart and acne.
To date, there has been no report of negative side effects from PACT therapy. It is a safe treatment that it is even safe for people with underlying chronic medical conditions. However, it is important to note that in very rare instances where some may develop allergic reaction towards the gel. Nevertheless, extended exposure does not have any negative reactions to the body.
Your podiatrist will be able to suggest the number of treatments required for your condition depending on the severity of your condition. It is important that you follow the instructions accordingly to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment as certain conditions such as fungal nail can be chronic and difficult to treat.
In some cases, patients would require more sessions than others depending on the severity of the condition. Furthermore, a repeat treatment after the condition has subsided may be offered as prophylaxis (prevent for future spreading).
Usually, during treatment your podiatrist will assess your condition and prepare the nail or skin before applying the photosensitising gel. The preparation would involve either debridement or filing down the nail as required for the gel to penetrate. Then, the light is applied using a PACT device.
Your podiatrist will also advise you on other treatment such as topical fungal application in conjunction with the PACT therapy. This also includes advice on steps to prevent the condition from spreading to other toes and to other people.
Furthermore, PACT therapy should be only operated by a qualified medical practitioner such as a podiatrist.