Compare terbinafine vs. Ketoconazole

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

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.

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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
  • Pill
  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Spray
  • Pill
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Foam
  • Shampoo
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Side effects
10possible side effects
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Pruritus
  • Liver enzyme abnormalities
  • Taste disturbance
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
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1possible side effects
  • Any side effect
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Risks and risk factors
  • 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
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  • Severe allergic reactions
    • Asthma
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