Flutrimazole (1-[(2-fluorophenyl)(4-fluorophenyl)phenylmethyl]-1 H-imidazole, CAS 119006-77-8, UR-4056) is a new wide spectrum local imidazolic antifungal agent that has already been formulated as a dermal cream (FDC). A comparative study was carried out of the release of flutrimazole from two emulsions in which the drug has been incorporated differently: one dissolved in the oily phase (E24) and the other dispersed in the aqueous formulation phase (E25). Based on the E25 formulation, two more dermal creams were prepared, E27 with benzyl alcohol and E28 with diazolidinyl urea as preservative agents. A comparative study of transdermal penetration including E27, E28, FDC (reference 1% flutrimazole dermal cream) and 1% flutrimazole hydroalcoholic solution was also performed. An amount of the sample dosage form containing 10 mg of flutrimazole was applied to a Franz type cell. The penetration membrane used was cellulose acetate in the release studies and human skin provided by a plastic surgery clinic in the transdermal penetration study. The amount released after 7 h was 36.3 +/- 4.9 micrograms when flutrimazole was dissolved (E24) and 35.9 +/- 5.3 micrograms when flutrimazole was dispersed (E25). Although the differences were not significant, the cream with dispersed flutrimazole was selected for further penetration studies due to its better stability observed in previous studies. The amounts of drug penetrated after 44 h were 31.3, 41.5, 38.3 and 186.5 micrograms for E27, E28, FDC dermal creams and topical hydroalcoholic solution, respectively. The solution showed a statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) from the other formulations, however, no differences were observed between the dermal cream formulations. No differences were neither obtained between the different dermal creams when the amount of drug retained in the skin was compared. This allows to assert that the excipients used do not have different influences on transdermal penetration. In all cases, the mean quantity penetrated in relation to the dose applied was at most 0.5%. These results allow to infer that flutrimazole shows scarce transdermal penetration. Further, the amount of flutrimazole retained per gram of skin is more than 100 times the MIC per gram obtained in previous in vitro studies. It may be assumed that the topical application of the new formulations assayed would allow to obtain a good therapeutic response.