Real World Analysis of Response Rate and Efficacy of Oral Ketoconazole in Patients with Recalcitrant Tinea Corporis and Cruris

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  • 1 Dermatology, Dr. RML Hospital & PGIMER, New Delhi, India;
  • | 2 Microbiology, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India;
  • | 3 Community Medicine, Dr. RML Hospital & PGIMER, New Delhi, India

Recalcitrant dermatophytosis has had an alarming rise in India with concomitant decreased effectiveness of conventional antifungal agents. This has prompted the use of second-line agents for treatment. In this retrospective study, we aimed to analyze the response rate, efficacy, relapse rate, and side effects of oral ketoconazole (KZ) in the treatment of recalcitrant tinea corporis and cruris. Institutional records were reviewed for patients presenting with tinea cruris or corporis who had failed treatment with conventional antifungal drugs and treated with oral KZ. Potassium hydroxide (KOH) findings, culture reports, and response to treatment was noted based on the percentage improvement in lesions and reduction in itching compared with baseline. Fourty-three patients (mean age 31.3 years) with tinea corporis/cruris who had taken prior treatment with antifungals were recruited in the study. KOH mount and culture were positive in 76.7% patients. Trichophyton mentagrophytes was the commonest species, isolated in 62.8% of patients. Ketoconazole showed the lowest minimum inhibitory concentration on antifungal susceptibility tests with various antifungals. With a dose of 400 mg daily, 67.4% of patients were cured of disease with mean duration of 9.4 weeks. Patients having less than 40% clearance at 2 weeks had a 68.9% less probability of getting cured of disease. Of the 29 patients cured, 37.9% relapsed because of various predisposing factors. Two patients developed increase in liver enzymes on treatment. Our analysis suggests that KZ can be used as alternative drug in cases with failure to conventional antifungal drugs. Though there are relapses, these can be partially explained by various predisposing factors that support fungal survival and transmission.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Pooja Arora, Dermatology, Dr RML Hospital & PGIMER, 9547, Sector C 9, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, India. E-mail:

Authors’ addresses:Pooja Arora, Kabir Sardana, and Anita Kulhari, Dermatology, Dr RML Hospital & PGIMER, New Delhi, India, E-mails:,, and Ravinder Kaur and Deepti Rawat, Microbiology, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India, E-mails: and Sanjeet Panesar, Community Medicine, Dr RML Hospital & PGIMER, New Delhi, India, E-mail: