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(al dar'a)
(Imiquimod) Cream

Important: For use on the skin only (topical). Do not use Aldara (imiquimod) cream in or near your mouth, eyes, nose or vagina.

Read the Patient Information that comes with Aldara (imiquimod) cream before you start using it and each time you get a refill. There may be new information. This leaflet does not take the place of talking with your healthcare provider about your medical condition or treatment.

If you do not understand the information, or have any questions about Aldara (imiquimod) cream, talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

What is Aldara (imiquimod) cream?

Aldara (imiquimod) cream is a prescription medicine for use on the skin only (topical) to treat:

  • actinic keratosis on the face or scalp in adults with a normal immune system. Actinic keratosis is caused by too much sun exposure.
  • superficial basal cell carcinoma in adults with a normal immune system when surgery is not recommended.
  • warts on or around the genitals or anus in people 12 years and older.

Aldara (imiquimod) cream will not cure your genital or perianal warts. New warts may develop during treatment with Aldara (imiquimod) cream. It is not known if Aldara (imiquimod) cream can stop you from spreading genital or perianal warts to other people. It is not known if Aldara (imiquimod) cream is safe and effective in:

  • people who do not have a normal immune system.
  • the treatment of basal cell nervus syndrome.
  • the treatment of xeroderma pigmentosum.
  • the treatment of actinic keratosis with more than one treatment course in the same affect area.
  • the treatment of certain basal cell carcinoma.

It is not known if Aldara (imiquimod) cream is safe and effective in children younger than 18 years of age for the treatment of actinic keratosis or superficial basal cell carcinoma. Children usually do not get actinic keratoses or basal cell carcinoma.

It is not known if Aldara (imiquimod) cream is safe and effective in children younger than 12 years of age for the treatment of genital and perianal warts.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before using Aldara (imiquimod) cream?

Before using Aldara (imiquimod) cream, tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • have problems with your immune system.
  • are being treated or have been treated for actinic keratosis with other medicines or surgery. You should not use Aldara (imiquimod) cream until you have healed from other treatments.
  • have any other skin problems.
  • have any other medical conditions.
  • are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if Aldara (imiquimod) cream can harm your unborn baby. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Aldara (imiquimod) cream passes into your breast milk and if it can harm your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby if you use Aldara (imiquimod) cream.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements.

Especially tell your healthcare provider if you have had other treatments for genital warts or warts around your anus, or actinic keratosis, or superficial basal cell carcinoma. Aldara (imiquimod) cream should not be used until your skin has healed from other treatments.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

How should I use Aldara (imiquimod) cream?

  • Do not get Aldara (imiquimod) cream in or near your mouth, eyes, nose or vagina.
  • Use Aldara (imiquimod) cream exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to use it. Your healthcare provider will tell you where to apply Aldara (imiquimod) cream and how often and for how long to apply it for your condition.
  • Aldara (imiquimod) cream is used for different skin conditions. Use Aldara (imiquimod) cream only on the area of your body to be treated. Do not apply Aldara (imiquimod) cream to other areas.
  • Do not use Aldara (imiquimod) cream longer than prescribed. Using too much Aldara (imiquimod) cream, or using it too often, or for too long can increase your chances for having a severe skin reaction or other side effect.
  • You should follow-up with your healthcare provider regularly for check-ups while using Aldara (imiquimod) cream.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you think Aldara (imiquimod) cream is not working for you.

Applying Aldara (imiquimod) cream

Aldara (imiquimod) cream should be applied just before your bedtime.

  • Wash the area where the cream will be applied with mild soap and water. Uncircumcised males treating warts under their penis foreskin must pull their foreskin back and clean the area before treatment, and clean the area daily during treatment.
  • Allow the area to dry for at least 10 minutes.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Open a new packet of Aldara (imiquimod) cream.
  • Apply a thin layer of Aldara (imiquimod) cream only to the affected area. Do not use more Aldara (imiquimod) cream than is needed to cover the affected area.
  • Rub the cream into your skin until you can not see the Aldara (imiquimod) cream. After applying Aldara (imiquimod) cream, wash your hands well.
  • Leave the cream on the treated area for the amount of time your healthcare provider tells you. The length of time that Aldara (imiquimod) cream is left on the skin is different for each skin condition that Aldara (imiquimod) cream is used to treat. Do not take a bath 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.
  • If you get Aldara (imiquimod) cream in your mouth or in your eyes, rinse well with water right away.

What should I avoid while using Aldara (imiquimod) cream?

  • Do not cover the treated area with bandages or other closed dressings.
  • Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds, and avoid sunlight as much as possible during treatment with Aldara (imiquimod) cream. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing if you go outside during daylight.
  • Do not have sexual contact including genital, anal, or oral sex when Aldara (imiquimod) cream is on your genital or the skin around your anus. Aldara (imiquimod) cream may weaken condoms and vaginal diaphragms. This means they may not work as well to prevent pregnancy.

What are the possible side effects of Aldara (imiquimod) cream?

Aldara (imiquimod) cream may cause serious side effects including:

  • Local skin reactions, including:
    • skin drainage (weeping)
    • ulcers
    • severe swelling near the vagina. This may lead to pain or trouble passing urine or cause you not to be able to urinate. Female patients should take special care when applying Aldara (imiquimod) cream at the opening of the vagina.
  • Flu-like symptoms: tiredness, fever, nausea, muscle pain and chills.

Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the symptoms listed above.

The most common side effects of Aldara (imiquimod) cream include:

  • itching
  • burning
  • redness
  • flaking and scaling
  • dryness
  • scabbing and crusting
  • swelling
  • skin that becomes hard or thickened
  • sores, blisters, or ulcers
  • changes in skin color that do not always go away

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of Aldara (imiquimod) cream. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

How do I store Aldara (imiquimod) cream?

  • Store Aldara (imiquimod) cream between 39°F to 77°F (4°C to 25°C).
  • Do not freeze.
  • Safely throw away unused Aldara (imiquimod) cream or partially used Aldara (imiquimod) cream packets that you do not need.

Keep Aldara (imiquimod) cream and all medicines out of the reach of children.

General information about the safe and effective use of Aldara (imiquimod) cream

Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in this Patient Information leaflet. Do not use Aldara (imiquimod) cream for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give Aldara (imiquimod) cream to other people, even if they have the same symptoms you have. It may harm them.

This Patient Information leaflet summarizes the most important information about Aldara (imiquimod) cream. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for information about Aldara (imiquimod) cream that is written for the healthcare professionals.

What are the ingredients in Aldara cream?

Active ingredient: imiquimod

Inactive ingredients: isostearic acid, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, white petrolatum, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, glycerin, xanthan gum, purified water, benzyl alcohol, methylparaben, and propylparaben.

Last reviewed on RxList: 11/12/2010
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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