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Ketoconazole

Ketoconazole

Uses

Ketoconazole is used to treat certain serious fungal infections in the body. Ketoconazole belongs to the class of drugs called azole antifungals. It works by stopping the growth of the fungus.

Ketoconazole should not be used to treat fungal infections on the skin and nails due to the risk of serious side effects and drug interactions. Talk to your doctor about other medications you can use to treat these types of infection.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Ketoconazole cream is used to treat tinea corporis (ringworm; fungal skin infection that causes a red scaly rash on different parts of the body), tinea cruris (jock itch; fungal infection of the skin in the groin or buttocks), tinea pedis (athlete's foot; fungal infection of the skin on the feet and between the toes), tinea versicolor (fungal infection of the skin that causes brown or light colored spots on the chest, back, arms, legs, or neck), and yeast infections of the skin. Prescription ketoconazole shampoo is used to treat tinea versicolor. Over-the-counter ketoconazole shampoo is used to control flaking, scaling, and itching of the scalp caused by dandruff. Ketoconazole is in a class of antifungal medications called imidazoles. It works by slowing the growth of fungi that cause infection.

Psoriasis

Ketoconazole is a common treatment for psoriasis, another inflammatory skin disease that causes skin flaking, skin plaques, and redness. Yeast-like fungus often infects these skin plaques. Prescription ketoconazole may be needed for psoriasis flares.

Tinea infections

Ketoconazole shampoo can also treat tinea capitis and tinea versicolor. Tinea capitis is a superficial, ringworm-like fungus infection that affects the scalp. Tinea versicolor is a skin infection that’s caused by an overgrowth of a type of yeast that naturally lives on your skin.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What side effects can this medication cause?

  • changes in hair texture
  • blisters on scalp
  • dry skin
  • itching
  • oily or dry hair or scalp
  • irritation, itching, or stinging in the place where you applied the medication

Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Other considerations

Ketoconazole’s effects on women who are pregnant or breastfeeding aren’t well-studied. If you’re pregnant and have concerns about using an antifungal treatment, talk to your doctor before using even the OTC version of this antifungal shampoo.

The safety of ketoconazole also hasn’t been well-studied in children. It’s best you don’t use it on anyone under the age of 12 unless instructed by their pediatrician.

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