Generic Name: imiquimod (im-I-kwi-mod)
Brand Name: Aldara
Imiquimod is used for:
Treating certain types of skin growths (actinic keratoses) or skin cancer (superficial basal cell carcinoma). It may also be used to treat external genital and perianal warts. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Imiquimod is an immune response modifier. Exactly how it works is not known.
Do NOT use imiquimod if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in imiquimod
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using imiquimod:
Some medical conditions may interact with imiquimod. 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 types of skin cancer; broken, damaged, or inflamed skin at the application site; rash at the application site; or warts in the areas of your body other than the genital or anal areas
- if you have a weakened immune system, an autoimmune disorder (eg, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus), or human papilloma virus (HPV) infection
- if your skin has not completely healed from surgery or other types of treatment
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with imiquimod. Because little, if any, of imiquimod is absorbed into the blood, the risk of it interacting with another medicine is low.
This may not be a complete list of interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if imiquimod 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:
Use imiquimod as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- An extra patient leaflet is available with imiquimod. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
- Imiquimod is usually not used every day. Be sure you know how many times per week you should use imiquimod.
- A health care provider will teach you how to use imiquimod. 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.
- Do not apply imiquimod 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. Do not apply it inside the anus or vagina when treating genital or perianal warts.
- Apply imiquimod just before bedtime, unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
- Wash your hands before and immediately after using imiquimod.
- Wash your hands and the affected area with mild soap and water before using imiquimod. Allow the area to completely dry (at least 10 minutes) before applying the medicine.
- Men who have not been circumcised and are treating warts under the foreskin should pull back the foreskin and clean the area just before treatment. Clean the area daily while you are using imiquimod.
- 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. Cotton underwear may be worn after applying medicine to the genital or anal 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.
- Throw away any unused medicine that is left in the packet after the first use. Do not store imiquimod in a packet for use at a later time. Throw away any unused medicine in a trash container, away from children and pets.
- Continue to use imiquimod as directed even if your conditions improve. Do not miss any doses.
- If you miss a dose of imiquimod, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, 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.
Important safety information:
- Imiquimod is for external use only. Do not get imiquimod in your eyes, nose, or mouth, or on your lips. If you get it in any of these areas, rinse right away with cool water.
- Do not get imiquimod in the vagina. Use care if applying the cream near the opening of the vagina. Pain, swelling, or trouble urinating may occur if you get it in the vagina.
- Imiquimod may cause dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use imiquimod 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.
- Do not apply imiquimod to sunburned skin. Wait until your skin has healed before using imiquimod.
- Imiquimod may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
- Imiquimod 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.
- Imiquimod may cause your skin to become lighter or darker. These effects may be permanent. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- Imiquimod is not a cure for genital or perianal warts. Patients may still develop new warts during therapy. Remain under the care of your doctor.
- If you are using imiquimod to treat genital or perianal warts, do not have any type of sexual contact while the medicine is on your skin.
- Imiquimod may decrease the effectiveness of condoms and diaphragms. If you are using imiquimod to treat genital or perianal warts, use another form of birth control to prevent pregnancy.
- It is not known if imiquimod will prevent you from spreading genital or perianal warts to others. Be sure to use safe sex practices to prevent the spread of genital or perianal warts. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about safe sex practices.
- Lab tests, including skin exams, may be performed while you use imiquimod. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Imiquimod should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 12 years old who have genital or perianal warts; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
- Imiquimod should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 18 years of age with actinic keratoses or superficial basal cell carcinoma; 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 while you are pregnant. It is not known if imiquimod is found in breast milk after topical use. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use imiquimod, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of imiquimod:
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:
Back pain; changes in skin color; diarrhea; headache; itching, burning, mild pain, or tenderness at the application site; redness, dryness, flaking, swelling, or scabbing at the application site; small sores or mild drainage at the application site; thick or hardened skin 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); chest pain; fever, chills, or sore throat; irregular heartbeat; muscle pain or weakness; nausea; oozing, blistering, or bleeding at the application site; severe irritation or pain at the application site; sores or ulcers at the application site; swollen lymph glands; trouble urinating; vaginal pain or swelling.
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 dizziness or fainting.Proper storage of imiquimod:
Store imiquimod at room temperature, below 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Do not freeze. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep imiquimod out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about imiquimod, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Imiquimod 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 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. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to imiquimod. 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.
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.