Generic Name: imiquimod (im-I-kwi-mod)
Brand Name: Zyclara
Imiquimod cream is used for:
Treating certain types of skin growths (actinic keratoses) on the face or balding scalp in adults with a normal immune system. It may also be used to treat external genital or perianal warts. It also may be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Imiquimod cream is an immune response modifier. Exactly how it works is not known.
Do NOT use imiquimod cream if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in imiquimod cream
- your skin has not completely healed from surgery or other types of treatment
- you are also using another cream that contains imiquimod in the same area
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using imiquimod cream:
Some medical conditions may interact with imiquimod cream. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have other skin conditions (eg, skin cancer); broken, damaged, or inflamed skin at the application site; rash at the application site; or warts at the application site other than the genital or anal areas
- if you have a weakened immune system, HIV infection, an autoimmune disorder (eg, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus), or human papilloma virus (HPV) infection
- if you are being treated or have previously been treated with other medicines or surgery at the application site
- if you sunburn easily or if you will be exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period of time
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with imiquimod cream. Because little, if any, of imiquimod cream is absorbed into the blood, the risk of it interacting with another medicine is low.
Ask your health care provider if imiquimod cream may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use imiquimod cream:
Use imiquimod cream as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- An extra patient leaflet is available with imiquimod cream. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
- A health care provider will teach you how to use imiquimod cream. Be sure you understand how to use it. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
- If your medicine comes in a pump container, you will need to prime the pump before the first use. Prime by pressing the pump repeatedly until medicine appears. Dispense the medicine into a tissue and throw it away in a trash container, out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- Do not apply imiquimod cream to any area of the body other than the treatment area. Do not apply it to open wounds or to scraped, blistered, infected, or sunburned skin without first checking with your doctor.
- Apply imiquimod cream just before bedtime, unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
- Wash your hands before and immediately after using imiquimod cream.
- Wash the affected area with mild soap and water before using imiquimod cream. Allow the area to completely dry (at least 10 minutes) before applying the medicine.
- Apply a thin layer of medicine to the affected area as directed by your doctor. Gently rub the medicine in until it is no longer visible.
- Do not wrap or cover the treated area with bandages unless directed by your doctor. Do not wear tight-fitting clothing over the affected area. You may wear cotton underwear after applying imiquimod cream to the genital or perianal area.
- Leave the medicine on the skin for the prescribed amount of time. Do not bathe or get the area wet until it is time to remove the medicine.
- Do not leave the medicine on the skin for longer than your doctor tells you. When it is time to remove it, use mild soap and water as directed by your doctor.
- If your medicine comes in packets, throw away any unused medicine that is left in the packet after the first use. Do not store imiquimod cream in a packet for use at a later time. Throw away unused medicine in a trash container, away from children and pets.
- If your medicine comes in a pump container, throw away any unused medicine that is left in the pump after the full treatment course is completed. Throw away unused medicine in a trash container, away from children and pets.
- Continue to use imiquimod cream as directed even if your condition improves. Do not miss any doses.
- If you miss a dose of imiquimod cream, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use imiquimod cream.
Important safety information:
- Imiquimod cream is for external use only. Do not get imiquimod cream in your nose or mouth, on your lips, in or near your eyes, or in the rectum. If you get it in any of these areas, rinse the area right away with cool water.
- If you are a woman treating genital warts, use caution when applying imiquimod cream around the vagina. Do not get imiquimod cream in the vagina. Pain, swelling, or trouble urinating may occur if you get it in the vagina.
- If you are an uncircumcised male treating warts under the foreskin, retract the foreskin and clean the area daily as directed.
- Imiquimod cream may cause harm if it is swallowed. If you may have taken it by mouth, contact your poison control center or emergency room right away.
- Imiquimod cream may cause dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use imiquimod cream with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Do NOT use more than the recommended dose or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
- When using imiquimod cream for actinic keratoses, additional skin growths may appear in the treated area while you are using imiquimod cream. This is normal. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- Imiquimod cream is not a cure for genital or perianal warts. New warts may develop during therapy. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- It is not known if imiquimod cream affects the spread of genital or perianal warts to others. Discuss any questions with your doctor.
- Do not apply imiquimod cream to sunburned skin. Wait until your skin has healed before using imiquimod cream.
- Imiquimod cream may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Do not use sunlamps or tanning booths while you are using imiquimod cream. Avoid the sun as much as possible while you are using imiquimod cream. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
- Imiquimod cream may cause minor redness, swelling, flaking, scabbing, or burning at or around the application site. If a severe reaction occurs, wash the medicine off with mild soap and water. Tell your doctor right away if you have a skin reaction that is severe, affects your daily activities, or makes you unable to use imiquimod cream.
- Imiquimod cream may cause your skin to become lighter or darker. These effects may be permanent. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- Imiquimod cream may weaken condoms and vaginal diaphragms. This may cause these types of birth control to not work as well in preventing pregnancy. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- If using imiquimod cream for genital or perianal warts, do not have sexual contact, including genital, anal, or oral sex, while the medicine is on your skin.
- Lab tests, including skin exams, may be performed while you use imiquimod cream. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Imiquimod cream should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 12 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using imiquimod cream while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk after topical use. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use imiquimod cream, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of imiquimod cream:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Diarrhea; dizziness; headache; itching, burning, mild pain, or tenderness at the application site; loss of appetite; nausea; redness, dryness, flaking, swelling, or scabbing at the application site; tiredness.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); bleeding, blistering, drainage, sores, or ulcers at the application site; flu-like symptoms (eg, tiredness, nausea, fever, chills, muscle or joint pain); severe irritation or pain at the application site; swollen lymph glands; unusual tiredness or weakness.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include fainting; severe dizziness; severe skin irritation.Proper storage of imiquimod cream:
Store imiquimod cream at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Do not freeze. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. If your medicine comes in a pump container, store it upright. Keep imiquimod cream out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about imiquimod cream, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Imiquimod cream is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take imiquimod cream or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about imiquimod cream. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to imiquimod cream. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using imiquimod cream.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.