Ketoconazole Ketoconazole is a topical antifungal medication commonly prescribed to treat both dandruff and fungal infections. It works by helping prevent the compound ergosterol from promoting diseased cell reproduction. Read more about dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis).
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Ketoconazole is also available as a treatment for fungal infections
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How to use this information
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of a medical provider. If you have any questions, go to your patient dashboard and request a callback for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
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What you should know about Ketoconazole shampoo

This medication is used to control dandruff and other scalp infections, such as seborrheic dermatitis. Use of this medication may help to relieve the flaking, scaling and itching associated with dandruff. Ketoconazole is an azole antifungal that works by preventing the growth of fungus.

How to use Ketoconazole shampoo
  • Scalp should be completely wet with water. Apply enough shampoo to produce lather and clean hair and scalp. Massage gently over the entire scalp. Rinse hair with warm water. Repeat this process if directed to do so by your medical provider. Dry hair thoroughly after the final rinse.
  • Dosage, number of applications and the length of treatment depends on the strength of the shampoo (whether it’s 2% or 1%) and the condition being treated. Carefully follow your medical provider's instructions or the package directions.
  • Avoid contact with the eyes. If the shampoo gets into the eyes, rinse thoroughly with water.
  • Do not begin using the shampoo if your scalp/skin is broken or swollen.
  • Request a callback from your medical provider if your condition lasts after 2-4 weeks of treatment or gets worse at any time.
Potential side effects
  • This medication may cause abnormal hair texture, discoloration, irritation or pimple-like bumps on the scalp.
  • There may also be oiliness or dryness of the hair and scalp. If any of these effects last or get worse, request a callback from your medical provider promptly.
  • If your medical provider has directed you to use this medication, remember that your medical provider has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
  • Tell your medical provider right away if you have any serious side effects, including hair loss.
  • A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction such as:

    • rash,
    • itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat),
    • severe dizziness or
    • trouble breathing.
  • This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, request a callback for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at

Precautions to be aware of
  • Before using Ketoconazole, tell your medical provider if you are allergic to it or to other azole antifungals such as Clotrimazole, Econazole or Miconazole; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Request a callback from your medical provider for more details.
  • Before using this medication, tell your medical provider about your family medical history.
  • This medication should be used only if clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your OB-GYN.
  • It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your OB-GYN before breastfeeding.
Drug interactions

Your medical provider may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medication before checking with your medical provider first. Before using this medication, tell your medical provider of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use. Keep a list of all your medications with you and share the list with your medical provider.

What to do in the event of an overdose

If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. If symptoms from taking this medication are less severe, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 right away.

Additional notes

This shampoo may remove the curl from a permanent wave in the hair. When treating pityriasis, this medication may not cause an immediate return to normal skin color. It may take several months after treatment is completed for your natural skin color to return.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.

How to store this medication
  • Different brands/strengths of this medication may have different storage requirements. Read the package labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements for the product you are using.
  • Protect from light.
  • Do not store it in the bathroom.
  • Keep all medications away from children and pets.
  • Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
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