Ketoconazole - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Ketoconazole: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is ketoconazole?

Ketoconazole is an antifungal medicine used to treat systemic fungal infections. It is available as oral tablets, shampoos, and creams. Ketoconazole works by inhibiting the synthesis of lanosterol, an important component of fungal membranes. This results in fungal death and infection clearance. Due to the possibility of developing adverse effects, the physician will recommend ketoconazole after a careful risk-benefit analysis. It is used only after all first-line alternatives fail to work.

What are the uses of ketoconazole?

Ketoconazole has very limited uses as an antifungal drug. It is used only when other alternative medicine options fail.

  • Ketoconazole is used to treat systemic fungal infections like blastomycosis, histoplasmosis, paracoccidioidomycosis, coccidioidomycosis, and chromomycosis.
  • It is also used to treat skin infections like tinea versicolor, seborrheic dermatitis, jock itch, athlete’s foot, excessive dandruff, and baldness.
  • The tablets are also used (off-label) to treat patients with Cushing’s syndrome and manage the hirsutism (excessive hair growth) caused by hormonal imbalance.
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What are the side effects of ketoconazole?

Common side effects of ketoconazole are:

  • Itching or redness in the skin (in cases of ketoconazole cream)
  • Dry hair and scalp (in cases of ketoconazole shampoo)
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

More serious side effects of the drug include:

  • Liver damage – dark urine and yellowing of skin and eyes
  • Reduced testosterone levels and impotence
  • Swollen breast tissues in females
  • Dizziness
  • Depression and increase in suicidal thoughts
  • Hair loss
  • Weak bones

Take proper precautions regarding ketoconazole dosage to minimize these adverse effects.

What is Ketoconazole

Uses of Ketoconazole

Side effects of Ketoconazole


Frequently Asked Questions about Ketoconazole

1. Does ketoconazole cause hair loss?

Yes. You may encounter hair loss while using ketoconazole shampoo. To minimize this, use the shampoo in small amounts. Get an expert medical opinion if you are suffering from hair loss even after reducing the proportions. Ketoconazole shampoo has also been known to cause dry hair and dry scalp.

2. Is ketoconazole cream a steroid?

No. Ketoconazole cream is not a steroid. Chemically, it is an azole antifungal drug. Steroids are often used along with ketoconazole as they can combat the same condition or treat the same type of infections. As ketoconazole can have serious side effects, monitor your dosage and side effects actively.

3. How long does it take for ketoconazole cream to work?

Generally, ketoconazole cream acts quite rapidly. You can see improvement in the fungal infection over your skin in only a few days after applying the cream. To prevent recurrence and ensure the infection is completely eradicated, you are required to apply the cream for at least two weeks.

4. How to apply ketoconazole lotion?

To apply the lotion, wash the affected area first. When the area is dry and clean, apply a small amount of lotion on the skin and rub it over the area gently. The lotion is made only for external use. Therefore avoid its contact with eyes or mucous membranes. Wash your hands before and after use.

5. Is ketoconazole a dht blocker?

Yes. Ketoconazole is a DHT blocker. DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, a male sex hormone, works to stop hair growth by preventing the hair from absorbing nutrients. DHT blockers reduce hair loss by blocking this adverse impact of DHT on the hair. Ketoconazole is used to treat baldness as it blocks DHT and reduces dandruff to aid healthy hair growth.

6. Can a pregnant woman use ketoconazole cream?

Yes. Ketoconazole cream is made only for external use. The cream must have no contact with the eyes, nose, ears, or mucous membranes. This is the reason why the cream is safe for pregnant women, as there is no contact between the cream and the fetus.

7. Can you use ketoconazole shampoo after the expiration date?

Generally speaking, no. Medical products have different components which come with a specific shelf life. These components might become ineffective past their expiration date. So, it is generally not advisable to use any product after it has crossed its expiration date. Ketoconazole generally has a shelf life of 15 months.

8. How long does ketoconazole stay in your system?

Ketoconazole has a half-life of 2 hours in the first 10 hours of taking the drug. From that point onwards, the half-life of the drug increases to 8 hours. You excrete almost 2–4 percent of the ingested drug, unchanged. 14 percent of the drug passes out as urine.

9. How much does ketoconazole cream cost?

The price of ketoconazole cream varies depending on the pharmacy or online website you are purchasing it from. The cost of the cream is estimated to be USD 16. In India, you can order the cream online as well, with the prices ranging between INR 100–500.

10. Can you use too much ketoconazole?

No. It is unwise to use any medical product beyond what is essential to treat the condition. With ketoconazole, take precautions to ensure that you’re not ending up using too much ketoconazole. Overuse can amplify side effects like serious liver or renal damage or hair damage. Always use it in the amount prescribed by the physician.

To get all your medicinal queries answered, consult our experts at Yashoda Hospitals. Book an appointment with us today.



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      Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.