Ketoconazole is an antifungal imidazole and works by slowing the growth of fungi that can cause infections in the body.

What is Ketoconazole?

Ketoconazole is used to treat fungal infections when you do not have access to other drugs or when other medicines that could be used are not tolerated by the patient. At high doses it can also be used to treat Cushing’s syndrome and advanced forms of prostate cancer, but there are still doubts about its safety and its effectiveness in such treatments.

How should Ketoconazole be taken?

Ketoconazole is taken orally in tablet form, usually in a single dose a day. If necessary your doctor may increase the dosage. To completely eradicate the infection, it may take even more than 6 months of treatment.

Side effects associated with Ketoconazole

Possible adverse effects of ketoconazole include the following:

  • redness
  • dry mouth
  • chills
  • heartburn
  • changes the color of the tongue
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • muscle aches
  • epistaxis
  • numbness, burning, or tingling in hands or feet
  • stomach pain
  • headache
  • in men, breast enhancement
  • nervousness
  • hair loss
  • production of gas
  • reduction in the number of sperm, especially when taken at high doses
  • reduction of sexual abilities
  • sensitivity to light
  • changes in taste perception

It is important to immediately contact a doctor if the medication triggers:

  • difficulty breathing or swallowing difficulties
  • swelling of eyes, face, lips, tongue, hands, feet, ankles or calves
  • hives
  • itching
  • rash
  • hoarseness
  • fatigue or weakness

Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Ketoconazole

Ketoconazole should not be used to treat fungal meningitis or fungal infections of the nails. Its use should be reserved for cases where there are no other drugs or when other medicines that could be used are not tolerated. Ketoconazole may harm the liver. It should not be taken along with alcohol, which can increase its side effects. Given that it may affect the heart rhythm it should not be taken together with dronedrone, disopyramide, dofetilide, pimozide, quinidine, cisapride, methadone or ranolazine. Any aluminum, calcium or magnesium based antacids should be taken 1 hour before or 2 hours after ketoconazole.

Moreover prior to taking this medication it is important to tell your doctor if:

  • You are allergic to ketoconazole, its ingredients or other medicines
  • You are taking other medicines, herbal and dietary supplements, especially alprazolam, eplerenone, ergot alkaloids, felodipine, irinotecan, lovastatin, simvastatin, midazolam, nisoldipine, lurasidone, tolvaptan, triazolam, aliskiren, anticoagulants, aprepitant, aripiprazole, atorvastatin, bosentan, budesonide, buspirone, carbamazepine, calcium antagonists, cancer drugs, busulfan, dasatinib, nilotinib, erlotinib docetaxel, paclitaxel, lapatinib, and toxicity, ixabepilone, vincristine, vinblastine, vinorelbine, ciclesonide, cilostazol, cinacalcet, colchicine, dexamethasone, digoxin, eletriptan, fentanyl, fesoterodine, fluticasone, Haloperidol, HIV drugs, immunosuppressants, imatinib, drugs for erectile dysfunction, drugs against indigestion, heartburn, ulcers or tuberculosis, nadolol, oxycodone, phenytoin, praziquantel, quetiapine, ramelteon, repaglinide, risperidone, salmeterol, saxagliptin, solifenacin, tamsulosin, telithromycin, tolterodine.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You suffer from adrenal insufficiency

It is important to tell surgeons or dental practitioners of any treatment with ketoconazole that is in progress before undergoing any intervention.