Ketoconazole is an antifungal medicine that treats skin infections.

Pronunciation: KEE-toe-KON-a-zole

What are ketoconazole’s uses?

Ketoconazole comes in a cream or as a shampoo and is used to treat skin infections caused by fungal organisms, like athlete’s foot and ringworm.

In shampoo form, it specifically treats seborrhoeic dermatitis, which we know more commonly as dandruff and cradle cap. This common scalp disease results in a chronic, long-term but mild inflammation of the skin that causes a red, itchy rash with flaky scales that looks similar to the symptoms of eczema, an allergic reaction or psoriasis.

Its other benefit is in the treatment of tinea versicolor, a non-contagious fungal infection of the skin that presents as a rash and is caused by yeast that lives naturally on your skin.

What dosage should you take?

The cream should be applied twice daily and continued for a few days after the lesion has healed and the symptoms have disappeared.

When it comes to using the shampoo/liquid, wash the affected area and leave it on for three to five minutes before rinsing. When treating seborrhoeic dermatitis, use it twice weekly for two to four weeks, and use it once daily for up to five days.

However, always check the correct dosages with your Clicks pharmacist first.

What special precautions should you take?

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it’s best to avoid its use, however, first check with your doctor or Clicks pharmacist.
  • Its safety for use on children under 12 has not yet been established, so first consult with your doctor or Clicks pharmacist.
  • If you have porphyria (a group of rare genetic disorders that affect mainly the skin or nervous system), rather avoid this medicine.
  • Avoid usage if you’ve shown a hypersensitivity to it.

What drug interactions could you experience?

To avoid adverse drug interactions, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or planning to take.

However, adverse drug interactions are unlikely when it comes to ketoconazole in cream and shampoo form.

What are ketoconazole’s side effects?

Its side effects could include:

  • Skin irritation
  • Burning
  • Contact dermatitis (inflammation of the skin)
  • Rash
  • Abnormal hair discoloration or texture (shampoo)

This is not a complete list of side effects. It’s essential that you call your doctor should you notice any severe or odd side effects.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in April 2015