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Azoles for Ringworm of the Scalp or Beard


Pills or liquid (oral)

Generic Name Brand Name
fluconazole Diflucan
itraconazole Sporanox

Shampoo and cream (topical, applied directly to the skin)

Generic Name Brand Name
ketoconazole Nizoral

How It Works

Azoles stop the growth of fungi.

Why It Is Used

You can use azole pills to treat ringworm of the scalp and beard. You can use ketoconazole shampoo along with pills to treat ringworm of the scalp or beard.

How Well It Works

Azoles are an effective treatment for ringworm of the scalp or beard.

Side Effects

Side effects are rare when you use azole cream or shampoo to treat ringworm of the scalp or beard. When you use azole pills or liquids, side effects may include:

  • Stomach upset.
  • Headaches.
  • Rash.
  • Liver problems, in rare cases.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

  • You should not take antifungal pills with certain other medicines. Let your doctor or pharmacist know what other medicines you are taking.
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take azole pills.
  • You should not take ketoconazole pills within 2 hours of taking antacids, because the amount of ketoconazole absorbed into your blood will be reduced. To ensure better absorption into your body, you can take ketoconazole with cola or orange juice.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are taking azole pills, as this may increase the risk of liver damage.
  • People who are taking antifungal pills will have their blood counts and liver and kidney functions monitored during treatment to watch for any adverse side effects.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Last Revised December 21, 2012

Last Revised: December 21, 2012

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