Ketoconazole Cream Side Effects


According to statistics published in the American Chronicle on April 28, 2007, 29 to 31 percent of Americans suffer from ringworm, a fungal infection of the skin. Doctors rely upon a number of oral medications and topical creams to battle the infection. One such cream is Ketoconazole, which is available by prescription and used to treat a number of other fungal infections, including athlete's foot, seborrheic dermatitis and sun fungus. Despite its effectiveness, Ketoconazole cream is not for everyone, as it presents several risks for side effects and complications in some patients.

Significant Side Effects

The most significant or common side effects of Ketoconazole usually involve the skin and pose no long-term dangers.Generally, symptoms of these side effects occur when you first begin using the cream and disappear as your body becomes acclimated to the drug. Approximately 5 percent of Ketoconazole users report dermatological side effects, such as irritation, itching and stinging immediately after applying the cream.

Types of Other Side Effects

Ketoconazole also has the potential to cause a number of other troublesome, but not dangerous, side effects. Some patients report neurological or sensory side effects from the cream, including dizziness, numbness, tingling, sores in the mouth and gums and eye irritation, swelling or redness. Additional dermatological side effects of Ketoconazole include acne and discoloration of the toenails or fingernails.

Contact Dermatitis

Infrequently, patients develop contact dermatitis while using Ketoconazole cream, a red, itchy skin rash and inflammation in the area of application. Contact derimatitis occurs due to a patient's sensitivity to any of the ingredients used in the preparation of Ketoconazole cream. If you develop contact dermatitis, it is likely to be after you apply Ketoconazole cream a number of times. This delayed-response time is common because your sensitivity to the cream builds slowly over time. Contact dermatitis is not a life-threatening condition, though the severe itching it causes may interfere with your day-to-day activities. If you notice signs of contact dermatitis, you should talk to your doctor about whether you should continue using Ketoconazole. Even if you stop using the cream, it will likely take some time for the rash to clear. Applying cold, wet compresses and taking cool baths may help relieve the itching until the irritation subsides.


In addition to minor side effects, Ketoconazole has the potential to cause serious medical complications. While they are extremely rare, these complications are common with the tablet form of Ketoconazole, but you can get them while using the cream. About one in every 10,000 patients reports inflammation of the liver or hepatitis. Patients taking very high doses of Ketoconazole sometimes suffer from low testosterone levels, which cause thinning of the skin, fatigue, anemia and increases in cholesterol levels in men.


Because there is not yet sufficient evidence that Ketoconazole cream has no unwanted effects upon the fetus, doctors typically do not prescribe the drug for pregnant women. In addition, doctors rarely prescribe the cream for children under 12 due to thier increased risk for sensitivity to Ketaconazole. To avoid potential damage to your eyes, wash your hands thoroughly after applying the cream. If the symptoms of your fungal infection do not improve within two to six weeks, contact your doctor.

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