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Treats fungal infections.

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Our bottom line

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.

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Quick facts about Ketoconazole
  • Drug class: Infection
  • Rx status: Prescription or OTC
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (ketoconazole)


  • 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.
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  • 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.
How it works

Nizoral (Ketoconazole) is an antifungal medicine. It prevents yeast and fungi from reproducing and making their protective outer cell wall.

Quick facts about Ketoconazole
  • Drug class: Infection
  • Rx status: Prescription or OTC
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (ketoconazole)

Dosage forms

  • Pill
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Foam
  • Shampoo
Tried Ketoconazole? Write a review!

Prices and coupons

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Side effect rates for Nizoral (Ketoconazole)

From 1113 clinical trials of Ketoconazole when taken for fungal infections of the skin (2%)
  • Any side effect
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of Ketoconazole.

Nizoral (Ketoconazole)

People taking Ketoconazole felt side effect more

People taking Ketoconazole felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Nizoral (Ketoconazole)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Asthma

    Nizoral (Ketoconazole) can contain sodium sulfite anhydrous, a sulfite that can cause allergic-type reactions including severe asthmatic episodes in people with asthma.

Common concerns from people taking Nizoral (Ketoconazole)

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Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Tip: Always talk with your doctor before you take any medication while pregnant.
FDA pregnancy category for Ketoconazole
CWeigh risks vs. benefits