Aldara cream (imiquimod)
Aldara Cream is used to treat external genital and anal warts. Substance Imiquimod is also used to treat a precancerous skin condition known as actinic keratosis (AK) and a cancerous skin condition called superficial basal cell carcinoma (sBCC).
Genital warts can be treated surgically (with laser therapy, freezing or burning them off) or application of topical creams. Aldara can be applied by the patient at home, causes discomfort in very few users, and has only mild side effects involving skin irritation.
Aldara will not destroy healthy skin, which means that removing the wart is more comfortable than most normal treatments. Aldara can work in as little as 4 weeks, with minimal side effects. Aldara cream cannot prevent new warts from forming but in most cases can completely remove the existing warts.
Aldara cream is an immune response modifier that stimulates the body's own immune response system to eliminate infected cells. This medication has been designed not only to get rid of the warts but also to help the body fight the virus that causes the warts. Aldara may be used instead of a surgical procedure.
Directions for use:
Aldara Cream is easy to use. It should be applied just before bedtime on clean and dry affected area. Gently rub a thin layer of the cream in and leave on the affected area for about 8 hours, then wash off. Do not get Aldara Cream in your eyes or mouth. Do not apply it inside the anus or vagina.
Use Aldara Cream only on the area of your body to be treated. The area should be no larger than approximately the size of your forehead or cheek (2 inches by 2 inches).
Your healthcare provider will tell you where to apply Aldara Cream and how often and for how long to apply it for your condition. Do not use Aldara Cream longer than prescribed. Using too much Aldara Cream, or using it too often, or for too long can increase your chances for having a severe skin reaction or other side effect.
For external genital and perianal warts, Aldara Cream is usually used once a day for 3 days a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. For these conditions, Aldara Cream is usually left on the skin for about 6 to 10 hours. Treatment should continue until the warts are completely gone, or for up to 16 weeks. Expect gradual improvement, with some redness occurring. New warts may develop during treatments as this drug is not a cure.
To treat sBCC, Aldara Cream is usually used once a day, 5 days a week. Aldara Cream is usually left on the skin for about 8 hours. After the 8 hours have passed, wash the treated area with mild soap and water. Treatment should continue for a full 6 weeks even if the sBCC appears to be gone, unless you are told otherwise by your dermatologist.
For actinic keratosis, Aldara Cream is used once a day for 2 days a week, 3 to 4 days apart. Aldara Cream is left on the skin for about 8 hours and then washed off. Treatment should continue for the full 16 weeks even if all actinic keratoses appear to be gone, unless you are told otherwise by your doctor or healthcare provider. The treatment period should not extend beyond 16 weeks due to missed doses or rest periods.
Aldara belongs to a group of genital warts medications.
Aldara Safety Info
Aldara Cream is for skin use only. Do not get Aldara in your eyes, nose, mouth or on your lips. If you get it in any of these areas, rinse right away with cool water.
Do not use Aldara if you are allergic to any ingredient in Aldara. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any other allergies. Ask your health care provider if Aldara may interact with other nonprescription and prescription medication, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement you use. Some medical conditions may interact with Aldara. Before using Aldara tell your doctor your medical history. You should not use Aldara on broken skin, and on burns and wounds.
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, or sunlamps. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Do not apply Aldara to sunburned skin.
You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Aldara if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. Aldara should be used with extreme caution in children.
Aldara is not a cure for genital or perianal warts. Patients may still develop new warts during therapy. If you are using Aldara to treat genital or perianal warts, do not have any type of sexual contact while the medicine is on your skin. Aldara may decrease the effectiveness of condoms and diaphragms.
Side effects and skin reactions that occur are usually mild or moderate and appears at or around the application site. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Should a severe skin or allergic reaction occur (e.g., sore, blister, ulcer, severe irritation or pain, flu-type symptoms, dizziness, nausea, chest pain, difficulty breathing), remove the medication by washing the area with mild soap and water and promptly contact your doctor. Aldara may cause your skin to become lighter or darker. These effects may be permanent. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- A thin layer applied only to the affected area or areas to be treated. How often and for how long to apply it depends on your condition. The average time to healing is 10 - 16 weeks.
Aldara Side Effects
- skin peeling, flaking
- itching, burning
- skin color changes that do not go away
- rashes, sores