PACT is the acronym for Photodynamic Antimicrobial Therapy. It is used commonly in the treatment of onychomycosis or fungal nails. It effectively kill any fungus around the selected nails.
This therapy works by using an interaction of light with photosensitive agents to produce a local chemical reaction which will kill the fungus on the nail.
A blue dye is applied to the infected nail as a photosensitiser to allow the fungus in the nail to be sensitive to light. This dye will not cause healthy tissues to be sensitive to light. Next, the nail is exposed to an LED light. The light will react with the dye to produce a chemical reaction and this will induce fungal cell death in the nail without damaging the surrounding skin and healthy tissues.
On the initial consultation, our podiatrist will assess and determine the severity of the fungal nail infection. If the infection is quite severe, more PACT will be needed to clear off the fungal infection.
Sharp debridement of the infected nail will be carried out. The nail will be debrided as much as possible to reduce the thickness and as well as to expose the fungal cells hidden in the nail bed. This is to remove as much fungus through mechanical debridement and to allow better penetration of the PACT fungal gel.
Next, the PACT fungal gel is applied to the nail and the surrounding skin to allow the fungal cells to be sensitive to light. The gel will be soaked in the nail for 10 minutes before the LED light is used.
The nail will then be exposed to the LED light for 9.5 minutes to induce fungal cell death.
There is no known contra-indications or adverse side effects from PACT. It is safe to use for pregnant women, elderly and children. However, some people may experience some allergic reaction to the ingredients in the PACT gel.
There may be some blue discolouration on the nail after treatment which will vanish after a while. This will not cause any side effects and may sometimes last up to a week.
There is no known side effects from extended exposure to the PACT light.
The number of PACT you may require to do varies differently between individuals. It depends on the severity of the fungal infection and as well as the general health of the individual. 3-6 sessions are normally needed to show improvement.
It will take approximately 3-6 months to see any improvement after PACT due to the time it will take for the nail to grow.
Author: Podiatrist Benedict KHOO