Compare Ketoconazole vs. terbinafine

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

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.

Treats fungal infections.

Lamisil (terbinafine) is first-choice treatment for many types of fungal infections, but a successful treatment course ranges from weeks to months.

  • 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.
  • Effectively treats many types of fungal infections.
  • Available in cheap, generic version.
  • Lamisil (terbinafine) comes in many different formulations that's easy to apply depending on the site of infection.
  • 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.
  • Takes weeks to months to treat an infection.
  • The pill form is not a good option if you have liver disease.
  • Lamisil (terbinafine) can interfere with how many other medicines work. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before starting any new medicines or supplements while you are on Lamisil (terbinafine).
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Foam
  • Shampoo
  • Pill
  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Spray
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Side effects
1possible side effects
  • Any side effect
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10possible side effects
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Pruritus
  • Liver enzyme abnormalities
  • Taste disturbance
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
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Risks and risk factors
  • Severe allergic reactions
    • Asthma
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  • Liver damage
    • Past history of liver disease
    • Taking Lamisil (terbinafine) by mouth
  • Changes in taste and smell
    • Taking pill form of Lamisil (terbinafine)
  • Depression
    • Taking pill form of Lamisil (terbinafine)
  • Skin rash
    • Taking pill form of Lamisil (terbinafine)
  • Lupus-like symptoms
    • History of lupus
  • Bleeding and clotting disorder
    • History of hematologic or immunodeficiency issues
See more detailed risks and warnings