Compare ciclopirox vs. Itraconazole

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.


Loprox (ciclopirox)

Prescription only

Sporanox (itraconazole)

Prescription only
Treats fungal infections on nails, scalp, and skin.

Loprox (ciclopirox) is a cheap, effective treatment for fungal infections that have not penetrated past the skin, but requires daily application for weeks to months to see an improvement.

Treats fungal infections.

Sporanox (itraconazole) is effective oral medication that treats many different kinds of fungal infections. However, it has the potential to interact with a lot of other medications and has a few serious but rare side effects.

  • Has few side effects compared to oral anti-fungal medications.
  • Easy to use and can be applied directly on the infected areas of the skin.
  • Safe to use for even people who have liver or kidney disease.
  • Available in cheap, generic version.
  • Sporanox (itraconazole) is effective in treating infections caused by many different types of fungi.
  • Available as a generic in the capsule form.
  • Sporanox (itraconazole) can be used by people who have kidney problems.
  • You might need to use Loprox (ciclopirox) for many months to treat your condition.
  • In cases where Loprox (ciclopirox) is used on nails, you might need to remove the medication with alcohol every 7 days.
  • Not the best treatment option for severe and complicated fungal infections.
  • The liquid solution is especially likely to cause stomach upset like nausea and diarrhea.
  • Sporanox (itraconazole) is not a good choice for simple fungal infections (like nail infections) in people who have congestive heart failure because it can cause high blood pressure and swelling of the limbs.
  • Sporanox (itraconazole) isn't absorbed in the same way by everyone. You'll likely need to get lab tests done to check on its levels in the blood.
  • Sporanox (itraconazole) can cause serious side effects like allergic reactions, liver toxicity, nerve pain, or hearing loss.
  • Sporanox (itraconazole) has a lot of drug interactions. Let your doctor or pharmacist know about all of the medications you're taking.
Used for
  • Salvage therapy for invasive aspergillosis
  • Blastomycosis
  • Oropharyngeal and esophageal candidiasis
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Onychomycosis
  • Vulvovaginal candidiasis in HIV-infected patients
  • Coccidioidal meningitis in HIV-infected patients
  • Coccidioidal pneumonia in HIV-infected patients
  • Cryptococcosis in HIV-infected patients
  • Disseminated microsporidiosis in HIV-infected patients
  • Penicilliosis in HIV-infected patients
Dosage forms
  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Liquid
  • Shampoo
  • Lotion
  • Pill
  • Liquid
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Side effects
The Loprox (ciclopirox) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
14possible side effects
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling due to fluid retention
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Itching
  • High blood pressure
  • Lowered liver function
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Low potassium
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • For external use only
  • Allergic reactions
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Congestive Heart Failure
    • History of congestive heart failure
  • Drug interactions
  • Liver toxicity
  • Irregular heartbeat
    • Taking other medications that can produce an irregular heartbeat
  • Do not switch between the capsules or liquid forms
See more detailed risks and warnings