Ertaczo (Sertaconazole Nitrate) - Topical

What Is Ertaczo?

Ertaczo (sertaconazole nitrate) is a topical prescription cream used to treat a fungal infection called tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) in people 12 years of age and older. Specifically, Ertaczo treats athlete’s foot infections that are caused by the following fungi:

  • Trichophyton rubrum
  • Trichophyton mentagrophytes
  • Epidermophyton floccosum

Ertaczo blocks a fungal protein called cytochrome P-450-mediated 14 alpha-lanosterol demethylase enzyme as an azole antifungal. This fungal protein is responsible for turning lanosterol—a type of steroid—into ergosterol.

Without ergosterol, the fungal cell wall loses its integrity. As the fungal cell wall falls apart, it also starts leaking out important contents within the cell.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Sertaconazole nitrate
Brand Name: Ertaczo
Drug Availability: Prescription
Administration Route: Topical
Therapeutic Classification: Imidazole
Available Generically: No
Controlled Substance: No
Active Ingredient: Sertaconazole nitrate
Dosage Form(s): Cream

What Is Ertaczo Used For?

Ertaczo is used to treat an athlete’s foot infection, also known as ringworm of the feet. While athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that typically affects the spaces between your toes, it can spread to other areas of your feet.

You may notice that the skin on your feet looks cracked and scaly. You may also feel a burning, stinging, and itching sensation in the infected areas.

In general, ringworm (tinea) can affect anyone. Some of the following risk factors, however, can raise the likelihood of getting an athlete’s foot infection:

  • Spending time in a hot and humid environment
  • Excessive sweating
  • Wearing closed-toe shoes—that are humid and moist—for an extended period of time  

How to Use Ertaczo

Carefully read Ertaczo’s labeling and packaging instructions. The following, however, are general directions for using Ertaczo cream.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water before using topical products.
  2. After your hands are dry, you can wear gloves—if preferred.
  3. Clean and dry your feet.
  4. Apply just enough Ertaczo cream to cover the infected areas between your toes and the surrounding healthy skin.
  5. After using the cream and throwing the used gloves away, wash your hands with soap and water.
  6. Since Ertaczo is typically used twice daily, repeat steps one through five again later in the day.
  7. Continue using Ertaczo for the length of time recommended by your healthcare provider.
  8. Don’t wrap or tightly cover the infected areas with Ertaczo.

Storage

Since Ertaczo is a non-controlled topical product, your healthcare provider can authorize enough refills for up to one year from the written date on your prescription.

Since the infection should clear up within four weeks, your healthcare provider can give you fewer refills. If you don't see any benefit from Ertaczo within a month, your healthcare provider will likely want to discuss other treatment options and the next steps.

After receiving Ertaczo from the pharmacy, store Ertaczo at room temperature between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (F)—with a safe storage range of 59 to 86 degrees F.

As for traveling with Ertaczo, consider becoming familiar with your final destination's regulations first. In general, make a copy of your Ertaczo prescription. Also, keep Ertaczo in the pharmacy's original packaging—with your name on the label.

Off-Label Uses

An “off-label” use is a technically unapproved use of a drug that the FDA has approved for a different condition.

Ertaczo has been used off-label to treat the following infections:

  • Candida skin infections: Candida skin infections, also called cutaneous candidiasis, are common fungal infections caused by yeast. It's a common fungal infection caused by yeast. This infection can happen on any part of your body but typically occurs in the armpits, groin, and other creased areas or places with skin folds that are warm and moist.
  • Jock itch: Jock itch is medically called tinea cruris, a ringworm or fungal infection of the groin.
  • Ringworm of the body: While ringworm can occur on any part of your body, it's referred to as tinea corporis when it affects several areas of the body. Tinea corporis is a fungal skin infection with symptoms of several infected skin patches on the body at one time.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis: Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that causes rashes in oily body areas, such as the scalp and ears. The rash usually has a red color, white or yellow crusty scales, and a swollen or greasy appearance.
  • Tinea manuum: Tinea manuum is a ringworm infection of the hands. 
  • Tinea versicolor: Tinea versicolor, also called pityriasis versicolor, is a common fungal infection. Symptoms include scaly skin spots that are typically lighter or darker than your usual skin color.

How Long Does Ertaczo Take to Work?

Ertaczo should clear your infection within four weeks of treatment. While you might notice an improvement in your symptoms sooner than four weeks, continue using Ertaczo for four weeks or another stop date recommended by your healthcare provider.

What Are the Side Effects of Ertaczo?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Many common side effects occur at the application site—the infected skin areas where medication was placed. These include:

  • Burning
  • Itchiness
  • Stinging

You might also experience some dry skin.

Severe Side Effects

If you experience severe symptoms at the application site, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Severe symptoms may include the following:

  • Blisters with or without oozing
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Warmth

Long-Term Side Effects

The four-week use typical of Ertaczo isn’t usually considered long-term use. In the medication’s prescribing information, however, two years of topical Ertaczo didn’t raise the risk of neoplasms (abnormal growths) in rats.

Additionally, Ertaczo was tested for the possibility of a severe allergic reaction. Although a small number of people experienced redness at the application site, they didn’t experience symptoms of worsening irritation or an allergic reaction with additional exposure to Ertaczo.

Report Side Effects

Ertaczo may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Ertaczo Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For topical dosage form (cream):
    • For athlete's foot:
      • Adults—Apply enough sertaconazole to cover the affected and surrounding skin areas and rub in gently
      • Children over the age of 12—Apply enough sertaconazole to cover the affected and surrounding skin areas and rub in gently

Modifications

The following modifications (changes) should be kept in mind when using Ertaczo:

Pregnancy: There is no effectiveness or safety information about Ertaczo in pregnant parents. But high oral doses in pregnant rats and rabbits showed no abnormal developmental effects in the unborn pups.

In another animal study, rats were given high oral doses of sertaconazole during pregnancy and until the 20th day of nursing. Conversely, this study suggested a link between oral sertaconazole and a lower number of live births and a higher number of stillborn pups.

If you have questions or concerns, speak with your healthcare provider to weigh the benefits and risks of using Ertaczo during pregnancy

Nursing parents: There is also limited safety and effectiveness data on Ertaczo in nursing babies. Talk with your healthcare provider to weigh the benefits and risks of Ertaczo use while nursing.

Missed Dose

If you accidentally forgot to use your Ertaczo cream, apply it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s already close to your next application time, skip the missed dose and use the topical product again at your next scheduled application time. Don’t try to use more cream to make up for the missed dose.

If you miss too many doses in a row, however, the duration of treatment might be too short. There is also a higher chance of the fungal infection becoming resistant to the medicated cream.

Overdose: What Happens If I Use Too Much Ertaczo?

The prescribing information for Ertaczo doesn't include any information about overdose.

In general, however, don't use Ertaczo more than your healthcare provider recommends.  If you're experiencing worrisome or bothersome symptoms, immediately contact your healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center.

What Happens If I Overdose on Ertaczo?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Ertaczo, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Ertaczo, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

Inform your doctor if the area of application shows signs of increased skin irritation, redness, itching, burning, blistering, swelling or oozing.

It is very important that you check with your doctor in 2 weeks if your symptoms are not improving or if your conditions become worse.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Use Ertaczo?

There are no contraindications listed in the prescribing information for Ertaczo. If you notice skin irritation with Ertaczo, stop using the medicated cream and immediately notify your healthcare provider.

If you have a history of a severe allergic reaction to any azole antifungal medications, there is a chance that you will have an allergic reaction to Ertaczo, too. Stop using the topical product and get medical help immediately if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Blood pressure changes  
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Rash
  • Swelling of lips, mouth, tongue, face, or throat

What Other Medications Interact With Ertaczo?

Ertaczo’s prescribing information doesn’t list any drug interactions.

If you have questions about potential drug interactions with Ertaczo, talk with your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

What Medications Are Similar?

In addition to Ertaczo, there are several other antifungal options. Not all of them, however, are in the azole antifungal medication class. Other topical azole antifungals similar to Ertaczo include:

  • Clotrimazole
  • Econazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Miconazole

While topical antifungal medications are generally effective for treating fungal skin infections, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only approved Ertaczo for athlete’s foot. The other topical products listed are FDA-approved for multiple uses.

Additionally, clotrimazole and miconazole are convenient over-the-counter (OTC) products that don’t require a healthcare provider’s prescription. They can also be used for children as young as two. A prescription from your healthcare provider is necessary for Ertaczo or econazole.

Since insurance doesn’t usually cover OTC items, some people might prefer Ertaczo as a potential option. However, Ertaczo—as a brand-name medication—will typically be more expensive than the other generic prescription choices.

All of these medications are in the azole antifungal medication class, so they’re not generally used together. If you have any questions, speak with your pharmacist or healthcare provider. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is Ertaczo available?

    Ertaczo is available with a prescription from your healthcare provider. Ertaczo is likely available at your local retail pharmacy, but the pharmacy staff might have to order the topical product for you.

  • How much does Ertaczo cost?

    Since there is no generic version for Ertaczo, it’s only available as a brand-name medication. As a result, it’s typically expensive. If cost is an issue, you can call BauschHealth—the manufacturer—at 1-800-361-1448 to inquire about financial assistance programs. You can also go to RxAssist.org to find medication assistance programs.

  • What if Ertaczo doesn’t work for me?

    If you don’t see any relief from Ertaczo after four weeks, speak with your healthcare provider about your options.
    Your healthcare provider might discuss oral medications with you if the fungal skin infection appears to be:

    • Resistant to topical antifungal products
    • Persistent and not going away
    • Severe—with the infection spreading to other parts of your body

How Can I Stay Healthy While Using Ertaczo?

Finding out that you have an athlete’s foot infection can be frustrating, but there are ways to prevent and treat this fungal skin infection. Below are some general self-care tips.

  • To treat an athlete’s foot infection, use Ertaczo twice daily for four weeks.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry to inhibit fungal growth.
  • Regularly change your socks.
  • Alternate sets of shoes to give each pair more time to air dry.
  • Use a separate towel for your feet and a different towel for the rest of your body.
  • Limit sharing towels, footwear, and personal items to prevent spreading athlete’s foot infections.
  • Protect your feet in public areas—like the locker room showers—by wearing flip-flops or sandals.
  • Prevent your pet from spreading fungal skin infections to you by taking your pet to the veterinarian if you suspect that your pet has a fungal infection. 

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Ross Phan, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP, BCPS
Ross is a writer for Verywell with years of experience practicing pharmacy in various settings. She is also a board-certified clinical pharmacist and the founder of Off Script Consults.