Also known as: Imiquimod
Imiquimod topical is used to treat external warts around the genital and rectal areas called condyloma acuminatum. It is not used on warts inside the vagina, penis, or rectum. Imiquimod is also used to treat a skin condition of the face and scalp called actinic keratosis (AK), which is caused by too much sun exposure. Imiquimod may be used to treat certain types of skin cancer called superficial basal cell carcinoma (sBCC).
Imiquimod works on the immune system to help the body fight viruses that cause warts. It does not destroy the viruses directly. It is not known how imiquimod works for actinic keratosis or skin cancer.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
This section provides information on the proper use of a number of products that contain imiquimod. It may not be specific to Aldara. Please read with care.
It is very important that you use this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may cause unwanted side effects or skin irritation.
This medicine is for use on the skin only. Do not get it in your eyes, nose, mouth, vagina, or anus. Do not use it on skin areas that have cuts, scrapes, or burns. If it does get on these areas, rinse it off right away with water.
This medicine comes with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow the instructions in the leaflet carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
This medicine should only be used for skin conditions that your doctor is treating. Check with your doctor before using it for other conditions, especially if you think that a skin infection may be present. This medicine should not be used to treat certain kinds of skin infections or conditions, such as severe burns.
If you are using the Zyclara® cream pump for the first time, prime it by pressing the top of the pump until the cream appears.
To use the cream:
Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using the medicine. Use one or two packets or actuations of the pump of cream for each dose as directed by your doctor. Apply a thin layer to the affected area of the skin just before bedtime. Rub it in gently. Allow the medicine to stay on the treated skin for 8 hours (for actinic keratosis or basal cell carcinoma) or 6 to 10 hours (for genital warts). Do not take a bath, swim, or get the treated area wet during this time. After the right amount of time has passed, wash the treated area with mild soap and water. Men who are not circumcised and are treating genital warts under the foreskin should retract the foreskin and clean the area daily. Do not bandage or otherwise wrap the skin being treated, unless directed to do so by your doctor. Materials that are not airtight, such as cotton gauze or cotton underwear, may be used if needed. Throw out any unused cream from the single-dose packet.
Use only the brand of this medicine that your doctor prescribed. Different brands may not work the same way.
Do not use this medicine together with any other products containing imiquimod in the same treatment area. This may increase risk for more serious side effects.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
For topical dosage form (cream): For actinic keratosis: Adults—If you use Zyclara®, apply a thin film to the affected area of skin once a day at bedtime for 2 weeks. Your doctor will repeat the treatment after you go 2 weeks without medicine. If you use Aldara®, apply a thin film to the affected area of skin once a day at bedtime 2 times per week for 16 weeks. Your doctor will tell you which days are best during the week. Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor. For skin cancer: Adults—Apply a thin film to the affected area of skin once a day at bedtime 5 times per week for 6 weeks. Your doctor will tell you which days are best during the week. Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor. For external warts: Adults and children 12 years of age and older—If you use Zyclara®, apply a thin film to the wart once a day at bedtime for up to 8 weeks or until the wart is gone. If you use Aldara®, apply a thin film to the wart once a day at bedtime 3 times per week. Your doctor will tell you which days are best during the week. Use the medicine until the wart is gone, but for no longer than 16 weeks. Children younger than 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include severe skin irritation, feeling light-headed, or fainting.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Store the Zyclara® cream pump upright.
Detailed Aldara dosage information