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Aldara (Generic Imiquimod Topical)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Actinic keratoses, which are flat, scaly skin growths brought on by excessive sun exposure, can be treated on the face or scalp with imiquimod lotion. Additionally, warts on the skin of the vaginal and anal regions, as well as superficial basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer), are treated with imiquimod cream on the body’s trunk, neck, arms, hands, legs, and feet. Immune response modifiers are a group of drugs that includes imiquimod. By stimulating the body’s immune system, it eliminates genital and anal warts. Actinic keratoses and superficial basal cell carcinoma are both conditions that imiquimod cream is used to treat.

Warts cannot be cured with imiquimod cream, and during therapy, more warts may develop. It is unknown if imiquimod cream stops warts from spreading to other people.

How should this medicine be used?

Imiquimod is available as a skin-applying lotion.

You will likely apply imiquimod cream once daily for two days each week, spaced three to four days apart, if you are treating actinic keratoses with it (e.g., Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday). Apply the cream only to your forehead and cheek; do not use it elsewhere (about 2 inches by 2 inches). It is recommended to leave imiquimod cream on the skin for around 8 hours. Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, use imiquimod cream for the full 16 weeks, even if all actinic keratoses have disappeared.

You will likely apply imiquimod cream once daily for five days a week if you are treating superficial basal cell carcinoma with it (e.g., Monday through Friday). On the basal cell carcinoma and its immediate surroundings, apply the cream. It is recommended to leave imiquimod cream on the skin for around 8 hours. Even if the superficial basal cell carcinoma seems to be gone, keep using imiquimod for the full 6 weeks unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

You will likely apply imiquimod cream once day for three days a week if you are treating genital and anal warts with it (e.g., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday). It is recommended to leave imiquimod lotion on the skin for 6 to 10 hours. Use imiquimod for a maximum of 16 weeks or until all warts have disappeared.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Follow the imiquimod directions exactly. Use it only as directed by your doctor, neither more nor less often.

Unless your doctor instructs you to do so, avoid tightly bandaging or wrapping the treated area. If necessary, cotton gauze dressings can be applied. Following treatment of the vaginal or anal areas, cotton underwear may be worn.

Avoid sexual (oral, anal, or genital) contact while imiquimod cream is on your skin if you’re using it to treat genital or anal warts. Condoms and vaginal diaphragms may become weakened by imiquimod cream.

Uncircumcised men should draw back the foreskin and clean it every day and before each treatment if they are treating warts under the foreskin of the penis.

Imiquimod cream should only be applied to skin. Applying imiquimod cream in or close to the eyes, lips, nostrils, vagina, or anus is not advised. Rinse your mouth and eyes thoroughly with water if you accidentally get imiquimod lotion in those areas.

The cream imiquimod is sold in single-use packages. If you don’t use the entire container of cream, throw away any open packets.

Follow these instructions to use the cream:

  1. Sanitise your hands.
  2. With gentle soap and water, clean the area that needs treatment, then let it air dry.
  3. Just before retiring to bed, apply a small coating of cream to the region that needs to be treated.
  4. Till the cream is gone, gently massage it into the skin.
  5. Sanitise your hands.
  6. As directed by your doctor, leave the cream on the affected region for the specified period of time. Avoid taking a bath, a shower, or a swim during this time.
  7. Wash the area with gentle soap and water to remove any remaining cream after the treatment period is over.

For a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient, ask your pharmacist or doctor.

Other uses for this medicine

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using imiquimod,

  • If you have an allergy to imiquimod, any of the ingredients in imiquimod cream, or any other medications, let your doctor and pharmacist know that right once. Request a list of the components from your pharmacist.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any additional prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are now taking or intend to use. Include any further therapies used to treat actinic keratoses, superficial basal cell carcinoma, or genital or anal warts.
  • Inform your doctor if you recently had surgery on the affected area, have a sunburn, or have ever experienced unusual sensitivity to sunlight, graft vs. host disease, psoriasis, or any other skin condition, or if you have any immune system disorders like acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or HIV (AIDS).
  • Inform your doctor if you are expecting, intend to get pregnant, or are nursing a baby. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking imiquimod.
  • Plan to stay out of the sun as much as you can, and if you must be outside during the day, wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and protective clothing (such a hat). Don’t use sunlamps or tanning beds. Your skin may become sun sensitive if you use imiquimod lotion.
  • You should be aware that using imiquimod lotion could alter the colour of your skin. After you have finished using imiquimod cream for treatment, these changes might not go away. If you observe any changes in the colour of your skin, tell your doctor.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

As soon as you realise you missed a dose, administer it. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. Applying extra cream won’t make up for a forgotten dose.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects with imiquimod cream are possible. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • The treated area may exhibit redness, itchiness, burning, or bleeding.
  • Skin that is flaking, scaling, dry, or thickening
  • Pain, stinging, or swelling in the area that was treated
  • Skin lumps, scabs, or blisters
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Back ache
  • Tiredness

Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if any of these symptoms occur to you:

  • Skin deterioration or sores with possible drainage, particularly in the first week of therapy
  • Flu-like symptoms include nausea, fever, chills, fatigue, and aching or weak muscles

Other negative effects of imiquimod are possible. If you experience any strange issues while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Store it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom). Avoid freezing.

As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at for additional information.

In case of emergency/overdose

Call 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison control centre if someone ingests imiquimod lotion. Dial 911 to reach the nearest emergency services if the sufferer has collapsed or has stopped breathing.

Overdose symptoms could include:

  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Distorted vision
  • Nausea

What other information should I know?

Keep all of your doctor’s appointments. The use of imiquimod cream to treat superficial basal cell carcinoma necrosis necessitates frequent follow-up appointments with your physician. Find out how frequently your skin should be examined by your doctor.

Do not share your medication with anybody else. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Aldara®
  • Zyclara®
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