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Imiquimod topical Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 7, 2024.

Applies to imiquimod topical: topical cream.

Serious side effects of Imiquimod topical

Along with its needed effects, imiquimod topical may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking imiquimod topical:

More common

Less common

Incidence not known

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking imiquimod topical:

Symptoms of overdose

Other side effects of Imiquimod topical

Some side effects of imiquimod topical may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

Less common

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to imiquimod topical: topical cream.


The most frequently reported side effects are local skin reactions (e.g., erythema, edema, weeping/exudate, flaking/scaling/dryness, scabbing/crusting, and erosion/ulceration), headache, application site reactions, influenza-like illness, fatigue, nausea, and fever.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Induration (78%), application site reaction (up to 33%), application site application site vesicles (up to 29%), pruritus/itching (up to 26.4%), application site burning (up to 16.1%), application site erythema, application site scabbing, application site exfoliation, application site dryness, application site edema, application site ulcer, application site discharge, application site pain

Common (1% to 10%): Application site irritation, application site swelling, application site rash, application site bleeding, application site papules, application site paresthesia, application site stinging sensation, application site tenderness

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Application site dermatitis, application site hyperesthesia, application site inflammation, application site scar, application site skin breakdown, application site warmth[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Upper respiratory tract infection (up to 15%)

Common (1% to 10%): Sinusitis

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Nasal congestion, pharyngolaryngeal pain, rhinitis, pharyngitis[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Autoimmune condition exacerbated[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Headache, dizziness

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Lethargy, paresthesia, migraine, somnolence[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Edema (up to 71%)

Common (1% to 10%): Fatigue, pyrexia, herpes simplex, pain, chest pain, influenza-like illness, infection, pustule, viral infection

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Face edema, asthenia, chills, discomfort, inflammation, bacterial infection, fungal infection, tinnitus, rigors, malaise[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Nausea, diarrhea, chelitis, vomiting

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dry mouth, abdominal pain, rectal disorder, rectal tenesmus[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Carcinoma squamous[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Lymphadenopathy

Frequency not reported: Hemoglobin decreased, white blood cell count decreased, neutrophil count decreased, platelet count decreased[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Atrial fibrillation

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Flushing[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Excoriation/flaking/scaling/dryness (up to 87%), erythema (up to 69%), scab/crusting (up to 64%), erosion/ulceration (up to 54%), skin exfoliation, skin edema, skin ulcer, skin hypopigmentation

Common (1% to 10%): Dermatitis

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Pruritus, folliculitis, rash erythematous, eczema, rash, sweating increased, urticaria, actinic keratosis

Frequency not reported: Skin infection, alopecia, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, skin hyperpigmentation, cutaneous lupus erythematosus[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Myalgia, arthralgia, back pain

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Pain in extremity[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Genital candidiasis, vaginitis, vulvitis, dysuria, male genital pain, penile disorder, dyspareunia, erectile dysfunction, uterovaginal prolapse, vaginal pain, vaginitis atrophic, vulval disorder[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Insomnia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Depression, irritability[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Conjunctival irritation, eyelid edema[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Anorexia, blood glucose increased[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Hepatic enzyme increased[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Thyroiditis[Ref]

Frequently asked questions


1. (2001) "Product Information. Aldara (imiquimod topical)." 3M Pharmaceuticals

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics."

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information."

4. (2017) "Product Information. Zyclara (imiquimod topical)." Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.