Aldara (imiquimod) is an immune response modifier. Aldara is used to treat actinic keratosis (a condition caused by too much sun exposure) on the face and scalp.
Aldara (for the skin) is also used to treat a minor form of skin cancer called superficial basal cell carcinoma, when surgery would not be an appropriate treatment.
Aldara also treats genital warts that appear on the outside of the body, but this medicine is not a cure for genital warts. Imiquimod may be used in adults and children who are at least 12 years.
Aldara may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Use Aldara as directed by your doctor.
- Before applying Aldara, wash your hands and wash the skin area to be treated. Allow the skin to dry for at least 10 minutes before applying the medicine. Always wash your hands after applying the medicine also. Do not use Aldara on areas of broken, wounded, or burned skin. Wait until these conditions have healed before using Aldara.
- Aldara is normally used 2 to 5 times per week for up to 16 weeks. How you use this medication will depend on the condition you are treating. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
- If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and wait until the next time you are getting ready for bed to use the medicine. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Store Aldara at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze. Keep each packet unopened until you are ready to use it.
Do NOT use Aldara if you have any of these or other conditions:
- sunburn or other skin problems;
- a weak immune system or autoimmune disorder;
- graft-versus-host disease;
- if you have recently been treated for actinic keratosis or genital warts with surgery or other medications; or
- if you have recently received a bone marrow transplant or cord blood transplant.
Avoid getting Aldara in your eyes, mouth, and nose, or on your lips. Do not place the cream in your rectum, vagina, or urethra. If it does get into any of these areas, rinse with water. Do not use Aldara on sunburned, windburned, dry, chapped, irritated, or broken skin.
Avoid using other medications on the areas you treat with Aldara unless your doctor tells you to.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Aldara can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
Avoid having unprotected sex. Imiquimod is not a cure for genital warts, and it will not protect against sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to prevent transmission during sex.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Aldara: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Wash off the medicine and call your doctor at once if you have a serious skin reaction such as severe itching, burning, oozing, bleeding, or skin changes where the medicine is applied.
Stop using Aldara and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as flu symptoms such as fever, chills, body aches, tired feeling, swollen glands. When treating genital warts around the vagina, if you have severe swelling or urination problems, stop using Aldara and call your doctor right away.