Ketoconazole is an azole medicine used to treat fungal infections. It is effective against a broad spectrum of fungi including dermatophytes (tinea infections), yeasts such as candida and malassezia.
Ketoconazole is an antifungal medication. Fungi are organisms normally found on the skin and in moist areas of the body. When the skin is injured or chronically moistened, or normal bacteria flora of the body are altered due to prolonged antibiotic treatment, fungus can proliferate to cause inflammation of the skin or moist body areas. Fungus organisms can also infect the lungs and other body tissues especially in patients with weakened immune systems. Ketoconazole reaches the surface of the skin through normal blood circulation, sweat and sebum (skin oils). Very high concentrations of the drug develop within the skin, so it is effective in treating superficial fungal infections.
Ketoconazole is a highly lipophilic compound. This property leads to high concentrations of ketoconazole in fatty tissues and purulent exudates. Expectedly, the distribution of ketoconazole into cerebrospinal fluid is poor even in the presence of inflammation. Its oral absorption and solubility is optimal at acidic gastric pH. Ketoconazole belongs to a general class of drugs known as antifungal drugs. Other related drugs in this class include itraconazole, miconazole and fluconazole. Ketoconazole inhibits the growth of fungal organisms by interfering with the formation of the fungal cell wall. Ketoconazole is effective only against fungal or yeast organisms. These fungi are the ones that cause skin infections (dermatophytes) commonly known as “ringworm” and toenail infections. However, the drug is also effective for some of the more serious fungal infections, such as blastomycosis, coccidoidomycosis and cryptococcosis. These infections can affect the skin, lymph nodes, eyes, bone and respiratory tract (lungs).