Drugs A - Z

Ketoconazole Oral tablet

It is used to treat certain kinds of fungal infections

Generic Name: ketoconazole

Brand Names: Nizoral

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

  • Oral ketoconazole has been associated with hepatoxicity, including some fatalities. Inform patients of the risk and monitor closely.
  • Concomitant use with cisapride or with astemizole or terfenadine (drugs no longer commercially available in the US) is contraindicated. Pharmacokinetic interactions can occur and serious cardiovascular events have been reported with concomitant use. VT, VF, and torsades de pointes have been reported in patients receiving concomitant cisapride; death, VT, and torsades de pointes have been reported in patients receiving concomitant terfenadine. (See Interactions.)

What is this medicine?

KETOCONAZOLE (kee toe KON na zole) is an antifungal medicine. It is used to treat certain kinds of fungal infections.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • adrenal problems
  • an alcohol abuse problem
  • low stomach acid production
  • liver disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to ketoconazole, itraconazole, miconazole, other medicines, foods, dyes or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a full glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. This medicine works best if you take it with food. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • alfuzosin
  • cisapride
  • conivaptan
  • dofetilide
  • eplerenone
  • ergotamine, dihydroergotamine or methysergide
  • medicines for high cholesterol like atorvastatin
  • nevirapine
  • pimozide
  • quinidine
  • sirolimus
  • some medicines for anxiety or difficulty sleeping like alprazolam, midazolam or triazolam
  • red yeast rice

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • atropine and related drugs like hyoscyamine, scopolamine, tolterodine and others
  • cyclosporine
  • digoxin
  • hormones like methylprednisolone or cortisone
  • medicines for blood sugar
  • medicines for stomach acid or heartburn
  • phenytoin
  • rifampin
  • tacrolimus
  • warfarin

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for check ups. Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve. Some fungal infections can take many weeks or months of treatment to cure.

Avoid medicines for your stomach like antacids and acid blockers for at least two hours after taking this medicine.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells.

Avoid alcohol while you are taking this medicine. Alcohol can increase the risk of liver damage.

If you are going to have surgery, let your doctor know that you have been taking this medicine.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • dark urine
  • feeling dizzy, faint
  • fever
  • irregular heartbeat, chest pain
  • light color stools
  • loss of appetite
  • usually tired or weak
  • yellowing of the eyes or skin

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • breast swelling and tenderness
  • change in sex drive or performance
  • eyes more sensitive to light
  • headache
  • nausea, vomiting
  • stomach pain


Last Updated: July 27, 2013
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