Ketoconazole is an imidazole antifungal agent used in the prevention and treatment of a variety of fungal infections.[FDA Label] It functions by preventing the synthesis of ergosterol, the fungal equivalent of cholesterol, thereby increasing membrane fluidity and preventing growth of the fungus.[A181802,T116] Ketoconazole was first approved in an oral formulation for systemic use by the FDA in 1981.[A188054] At this time it was considered a significant improvement over previous antifungals, [miconazole] and [clotrimazole], due to its broad spectrum and good absorption. However, it was discovered that ketoconazole produces frequent gastrointestinal side effects and dose-related hepatitis.[A188054,A188057] These effects combined with waning efficacy led to its eventual replacement by triazole agents, [fluconazole], [itraconazole], [voriconazole], and [posaconazole]. Ketoconazole and its predecessor [clotrimazole] continue to be used in topical formulations.
Ketoconazole is used in the treatment or prevention of fungal infections including blastomycosis, candidiasis, coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosis, chromomycosis, and paracoccidioidomycosis.[FDA Label] In Europe, it is also used in the treatment of endogenous Cushing's syndrome.[L7736]
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