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Ketoconazole cream

Daktarin Gold 2%, Daktarin Intensiv, Nizoral 2%

Apply the cream 1-2 times a day; if you are using it for athlete's foot, apply it twice a day. Wash and dry the area well before you apply the cream.

Continue to use the cream regularly until the infection has completely cleared up.

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About ketoconazole

Type of medicine

An antifungal medicine

Used for

Fungal skin infections

Also called

Daktarin® Gold 2%; Daktarin® Intensiv; Nizoral® 2%

Available as


Some types of fungal germs (fungi) are commonly found on human skin. They usually do no harm. However, if the conditions are right they can 'invade' the skin, multiply and cause infection. The conditions fungi like best are warm, moist and airless areas of skin.

The most common fungi to cause skin infections are the tinea group of fungi. Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a common fungal infection of the toes and feet. Tinea cruris is a fungal infection which affects the groin area. A common fungal infection which affects the vagina is called thrush. This is caused by an overgrowth of candida which is a yeast (also a type of fungus).

Ketoconazole is an antifungal medicine which is applied to the skin as a cream. It works by killing the fungus causing the infection. It is available on prescription, and you can also buy some brands without a prescription at pharmacies and other retail outlets.

Before using ketoconazole

To make sure that this is the right treatment for you, before you start using ketoconazole cream it is important that you speak with a doctor or pharmacist for advice if:

  • You are taking any medicines or using other medicated skin creams. This includes any which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only use medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.

  • You have ever had an allergic reaction to an antifungal medicine, or to any other skin product.

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How to use ketoconazole

  • Before you start using the cream, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about the cream, and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from using it.

  • Apply the cream once or twice every day to the affected area. Please note: you should use it regularly twice a day if you are treating athlete's foot.

  • Wash and dry the affected area and then rub a thin layer of cream on - make sure the area is completely dry before you apply the cream. Remember to wash your hands after applying the cream so that the infection doesn't spread to other areas of your skin, or to other people.

  • Continue to use the cream until all signs of the infection are gone, and then for a further 2-3 days afterwards to make sure that the infection doesn't return.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • To reduce the chance of passing on the fungus to others, always use a separate towel to other people until your infection has cleared up. Wash your towels frequently.

  • Athelete's foot usually clears up within a week of regular (twice daily) treatment. If there are no signs of improvement after this time, you should make an appointment to see your doctor for further advice.

  • Infections affecting the groin and genital area may take up to six weeks of treatment for the infection to completely go. If after four weeks of regular treatment your symptoms are showing no sign of getting better, please make an appointment to see your doctor for further advice.

  • Infections affecting other areas of skin can take up to 3-4 weeks of treatment for the infection to go.

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Can ketoconazole cream cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the ones associated with ketoconazole cream. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common ketoconazole cream side-effects (these affect fewer than 1 in 10 people)

What can I do if I experience this?

Mild irritation, redness and itching

If it continues or becomes troublesome, speak with your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the cream, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

How to store ketoconazole

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Important information about all medicines

Important information about all medicines

This preparation is for use on the skin. If you suspect that someone might have swallowed some of the cream by accident, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

The medicine is for you. Do not give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, please remember to tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking/using.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Report side effects to a medicine or vaccine

If you experience side effects, you can report them online through the Yellow Card website.

Further reading and references

Article history

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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