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Imiquimod

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Immune Modulator Aldara Adult, Children

Imiquimod - What is it for

Imiquimod works on the skin immune system and is indicated for the treatment of external genital and perianal warts in adults, actinic keratosis (solar keratosis) and cancerous skin conditions (superficial basal cell carcinoma).

This cream may also be used for other skin conditions as determined by your doctor.

Imiquimod - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Imiquimod cause?

Common side effects include:

  • Skin reddening, swelling and flakiness
    • These reactions are normal as they are signs of your immune system fighting the abnormal cells. Even if these symptoms are not present, the medication may still be working.
  • Formation of crust during healing
  • Itching
  • Burning sensation
  • Stinging
  • Lighter skin colour on the warts or around the warts

Should the skin reactions become too uncomfortable, remove the cream by washing with mild soap and water. Take a short break of 3 to 4 days before continuing it again. If any side effects persist or are severe, please consult your doctor.

Rare but serious side effects include:

  • Flu-like symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, aches and pains, mild fever and may generally feel unwell

For genital or perianal warts

  • Vaginal pain or swelling
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Severe tightness, swelling or skin tearing

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Imiquimod, what precautions must I follow?

  • Avoid contact with the eyes, lips and nostrils.
  • Imiquimod cream administration is not recommended until the treatment area has healed from any previous drug or surgical treatment.
  • The treatment area should NOT be wrapped or covered with occlusive dressing.
  • For patients using it for external genital and perianal warts:
    • Sexual contact should be avoided while the cream is on the skin.
    • Imiquimod cream may weaken condoms and vaginal diaphragms, thus concurrent use is not recommended.
    • Not to be used in pregnant women. 

Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication.
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Imiquimod?

Imiquimod - Dosage and How to Use

How should Imiquimod be used?

Imiquimod cream
  • Apply imiquimod cream before going to sleep.
  • Before applying the cream, wash your hands and the treatment area with mild soap and water and pat dry. Squeeze a small amount of cream onto your fingertips.
Imiquimod cream
  • Apply a thin layer of the cream to the treatment area and rub gently into the skin until the cream vanishes. Only use enough cream to cover the treatment area.
Imiquimod cream
  • After applying the cream, wash your hands with mild soap and water.
Imiquimod cream
  • Leave the cream on the affected area for 6 - 10 hours. Do not shower or bathe during this time.
Imiquimod cream
  • After 6 - 10 hours, wash the area where the cream was applied with mild soap and water.

After several applications according to the course of treatment prescribed by your doctor, the lesions will shrink or dry up upon healing.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss an application, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next application, skip the missed application and go back to your regular usage schedule.

What should I do if I overdose?

Imiquimod - Handling

How should I handle Imiquimod safely?

Imiquimod - Storage

How should I store Imiquimod?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#

How should I dispose of Imiquimod safely?

Imiquimod - Additional Information

  • Updated on Friday, April 30, 2021
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

    The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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