High-dose ketoconazole therapy and adrenal and testicular function in humans

A. Pont, J. R. Graybill, P. C. Craven, J. N. Galgiani, W. E. Dismukes, R. E. Reitz, D. A. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


Ketoconazole, an oral antifungal, when given in conventional doses, transiently blocks testosterone synthesis and adrenal response to corticotropin. Higher therapeutic doses (ie, 800 to 1,200 mg/day), even once daily, caused more prolonged blockade. In some men, the serum testosterone concentrations were always subnormal. Bound and free testosterone values were equally diminished. Oligospermia and azospermia after prolonged therapy were noted. Impotence and decreased libido were found. Gynecomastia appeared more common than with lower doses. Depressed response to corticotropin was pronounced. Urine cortisol excretion was depressed. The blockade appeared related to the serum ketoconazole concentration. Instances of normal hormone levels or responsiveness were associated with low ketoconazole concentrations. The hormone effects were generally unrelated to duration of therapy, although there may have been partial reversal with continued therapy. These effects appeared reversible with discontinuation of therapy. Patients receiving ketoconazole should be considered potentially unable to mount an adrenal stress response and may require testosterone supplementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2150-2153
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of internal medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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