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Frequently Asked Questions
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Ketoconazole topical (for the skin) is an antifungal medicine used to treat infections such as athlete's foot, jock itch, ringworm, and seborrhea (dry, flaking skin or dandruff).
Ketoconazole topical is also used to treat a fungal infection called pityriasis, which causes scaly discolored patches on the skin of the neck, chest, arms, or legs.
Ketoconazole topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to ketoconazole.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if this medicine is safe to use if you have:
- asthma or a sulfite allergy;
- an allergic reaction to an antifungal medicine, such as clotrimazole, econazole, or miconazole.
Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant.
You should not breast-feed while using ketoconazole topical.
Always follow directions on the medicine label about using this medicine on a child.
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.
Using more of this medicine or applying it more often than prescribed will not make it work any faster, and may increase side effects.
Do not take by mouth. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin. Do not use on open wounds or irritated skin. Rinse with water if this medicine gets in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.
Wash your hands before and after using this medicine.
Clean and dry the skin before applying ketoconazole cream, foam, or gel.
This medicine may be flammable. Do not use near high heat or open flame, or while smoking. Avoid heat or smoking until the medicine has completely dried on your skin.
Ketoconazole shampoo is not for daily use. Allow at least 3 days to pass between uses.
Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time, even if your symptoms quickly improve. Skipping doses can increase your risk of infection that is resistant to medication.
Call your doctor if your symptoms do not begin to improve after 2 to 4 weeks of treatment, or if your condition gets worse.
Store ketoconazole topical at room temperature. Protect from light and do not refrigerate or freeze.
Use the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.
An overdose of ketoconazole topical is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.
Do not get this medicine in your eyes. If contact does occur, rinse with water.
Avoid covering treated skin areas with tight-fitting, synthetic clothing (such as nylon or polyester) that doesn't allow air to circulate to your skin. If you are treating your feet, wear clean cotton socks and sandals or shoes that allow for air circulation. Keep your feet as dry as possible.
You may need to avoid sunlight if you are treating pityriasis. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Avoid using skin products that can cause irritation, such as harsh soaps, shampoos, hair coloring or permanent chemicals, hair removers or waxes, or skin products with alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime.
Avoid using other medications on the areas you treat with ketoconazole topical unless your doctor tells you to.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- burning, stinging, or severe irritation after using this medicine;
- redness, pain, or oozing of treated skin; or
- shortness of breath.
Common side effects may include:
- thinning hair;
- changes in the color or texture of your hair;
- dry skin; or
- mild itching.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Medicine used on the skin is not likely to be affected by other drugs you use. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
Your pharmacist can provide more information about ketoconazole topical.
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