Compare ciclopirox vs. Ketoconazole

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


Loprox (ciclopirox)

Prescription only

Nizoral (Ketoconazole)

Prescription or OTC
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.

Nizoral (Ketoconazole) is a medication used on your skin to treat fungal infections; however, it takes several weeks for full recovery, and the directions are specific to each type of medication.

  • 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.
  • Recommended as a first choice medication to treat skin infections caused by fungi, including cradle cap, seborrheic dermatitis, and tinea versicolor.
  • Nizoral (Ketoconazole) isn't taken orally, so it doesn't cause liver issues.
  • Can be used with other medications to help control redness and swelling.
  • The 1% shampoo is available over-the-counter in the drugstore.
  • 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 foams (Extina and Ketodan) and gel (Xolegel) are only available as brand name and can be more expensive.
  • The 2.5% shampoo and creams are available only by prescription, but are generic.
  • The shampoo has to be left on for at least 5-10 minutes after lathering before you rinse it off.
  • It can take a few weeks for the infection to clear and a few months before the skin returns to its normal color.
  • The fungal infections can be confused for other skin infections, so if Nizoral (Ketoconazole) doesn't work, it could be caused by another skin problem.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Liquid
  • Shampoo
  • Lotion
  • Pill
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Foam
  • Shampoo
Lowest price
Find instant savings near you
Want to save even more money?
Sign up now for a 30-day trial and save up to 95% at CVS, Kroger, Albertsons, and other pharmacies.
Learn more
Not enough review data.Leave a review
Not enough review data.Leave a review
Side effects
The Loprox (ciclopirox) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
1possible side effects
  • Any side effect
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • For external use only
  • Allergic reactions
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Severe allergic reactions
    • Asthma
See more detailed risks and warnings