What Are the Most Common Ketoconazole Side Effects?

Article Details
  • Written By: C. K. Lanz
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
In 1970, Elvis Presley met Richard Nixon and asked him for a badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.  more...

September 24 ,  1996 :  Major nuclear powers around the world signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  more...

The most common ketoconazole side effects range from stomach pain and depression to itching and hives depending on the form of the drug the patient is taking. Ketoconazole is available as a tablet as well as a cream or foam, gel, and shampoo. The tablet can cause ketoconazole side effects including liver damage, severe allergic reactions, and depression. Topical forms of this drug can trigger a wide variety of problems like itching, hair loss, and acne. If a patient experiences ketoconazole side effects that are persistent and bothersome, he or she should contact the prescribing physician.

This drug is used primarily to treat fungal infections like athlete’s foot, ringworm, and yeast infections of the skin. It is also a common treatment for seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, and sun fungus. It is a type of antifungal called an imidazole that works by slowing the fungi’s growth. Less common uses include treatment of prostate cancer, Cushing’s syndrome, and excessive female hair growth.

The ketoconazole side effects associated with the tablet form of the drug include stomach pain and depression. Some patients taking this medication may experience suicidal thoughts. Rarely, a severe allergic reaction can occur. Signs include difficulty breathing, hives, and an itchy rash. An allergic reaction and suicidal thoughts are often medical emergencies that require immediate intervention.


Taking high-dose ketoconazole tablets can cause a separate range of side effects. It can decrease the production of sperm. Some prostate cancer patients being treated with high doses of this medication died soon after they began the regimen, though it is not clear if the drug or the disease ultimately proved fatal. Other serious ketoconazole side effects are related to liver damage, a risk that increases if the patient drinks while taking this medication.

The tablet form of ketoconazole is usually taken orally once daily. In some cases, the tablets may have to be dissolved in an acid solution before ingesting. Patients typically take this medication for several weeks or months before the infection clears. If a patient stops taking ketoconazole before the prescribing physician advises, the infection can return and may no longer respond to the drug.

The topical form of this medication is available as a cream or foam, gel, or shampoo. Any of these forms can cause irritation like burning, itching, and stinging. The cream, foam, or gel can also cause acne, dry skin, and bleeding mouth sores. Dizziness, eye irritation, and rash with pus-filled blisters have also been reported. In some cases, patients have experiences facial swelling and finger or toenail discoloration.

The shampoo form of ketoconazole can cause hair loss, dry or oily scalp and hair, or a change in hair texture. Less common shampoo ketoconazole side effects include fever, hives, and discoloration of the hair. Some patients using the shampoo have reported facial swelling, joint pain, and scalp pustules.

Patients taking ketoconazole are often monitored by the prescribing physician in order to check for serious side effects. As with any medication, patients should inform their doctors about any other medications, vitamins, or supplements they are taking in addition to ketoconazole. This medication can interact with a variety of other substances like antacids, antihistamines, and other antifungals. Patients taking this drug should refrain from alcohol and breast-feeding.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?