Why is this medication prescribed?
Ketoconazole cream is used to treat tinea corporis (ringworm; fungal skin infection that causes a red scaly rash on different parts of the body), tinea cruris (jock itch; fungal infection of the skin in the groin or buttocks), tinea pedis (athlete’s foot; fungal infection of the skin on the feet and between the toes), tinea versicolor (fungal infection of the skin that causes brown or light colored spots on the chest, back, arms, legs, or neck), and yeast infections of the skin. Prescription ketoconazole shampoo is used to treat tinea versicolor. Over-the-counter ketoconazole shampoo is used to control flaking, scaling, and itching of the scalp caused by dandruff. Ketoconazole is in a class of antifungal medications called imidazoles. It works by slowing the growth of fungi that cause infection.
How should this medicine be used?
Prescription ketoconazole comes as a cream and a shampoo to apply to the skin. Over-the-counter ketoconazole comes as a shampoo to apply to the scalp. Ketoconazole cream is usually applied once a day for 2 to 6 weeks. Prescription ketoconazole shampoo is usually applied one time to treat the infection. Over-the-counter ketoconazole shampoo is usually used every 3 to 4 days for up to 8 weeks, and then used as needed to control dandruff. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use ketoconazole exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
One treatment with prescription ketoconazole shampoo may successfully treat your tinea versicolor infection. However, it may take several months for your skin color to return to normal, especially if your skin is exposed to sunlight. After your infection is treated, there is a chance that you will develop another tinea versicolor infection.
If you are using over-the-counter ketoconazole shampoo to treat dandruff, your symptoms should improve during the first 2 to 4 weeks of your treatment. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve during this time or if your symptoms get worse at any time during your treatment.
If you are using ketoconazole cream, your symptoms should improve at the beginning of your treatment. Continue to use ketoconazole cream even if you are feeling well. If you stop using ketoconazole cream too soon, your infection may not be completely cured and your symptoms may return.
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