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Aldara

Generic name: imiquimod topical

What is Aldara used for?

  • Aldara is used to treat genital warts.
  • It is used to treat perianal warts.
  • Aldara is also used to treat skin harmed by the sun and some skin cancers.

Before taking Aldara, tell your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to Aldara; any part of this medicine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
  • If your skin has not healed from other care or surgery.
  • If you are using another drug that has the same drug in it.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this medicine.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Aldara with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Aldara?

For all uses of Aldara:

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take Aldara. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Have your skin checked as you have been told by your doctor.
  • You may get sunburned more easily. Avoid sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and wear clothing and eyewear that protects you from the sun.
  • People using Aldara may get skin reactions where Aldara is used or around the area. These reactions may include burning, crusting, dryness, flaking, itching, oozing, pain, redness, scabbing, scaling, sores or ulcers, or swelling. If these reactions get very bad, a break from using Aldara may be needed as told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have a skin reaction that bothers you or if the reaction makes it hard to keep putting Aldara on. Call your doctor right away if you have a skin reaction that causes problems with daily living.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan on getting pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks to you and the baby.

For genital or perianal warts:

  • This medicine will not cure your genital or perianal warts. You may get new warts while using Aldara. Tell your doctor if you see any new warts.
  • Condoms or diaphragms may not work to prevent pregnancy. Use some other kind of birth control while taking Aldara.
  • Do not have any kind of sex when Aldara is on your genital or anal skin.

How is Aldara best taken?

Use Aldara as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • Do not use more or for longer than you have been told. This may raise the chance of a very bad skin reaction or other side effect.
  • Do not take Aldara by mouth. Use on your skin only. Keep out of your mouth, nose, and eyes (may burn).
  • Do not put in the vagina or anus.
  • Use at bedtime.
  • Wash your hands before and after use.
  • Clean affected part before use. Make sure to dry well.
  • If you are an uncircumcised man with warts under the foreskin, pull back the foreskin and clean every day.
  • Put a thin layer on the affected skin and rub in gently.
  • Do not put on sunburned skin.
  • Avoid putting on healthy skin unless you have been told to do so by the doctor.
  • Do not use coverings (bandages, dressings) unless told to do so by the doctor.
  • Do not bathe, shower, or swim after putting on.
  • Leave on the skin for as long as the doctor told you to, then wash off.
  • Throw away any part of the packet not used after use.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not put on 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

What are the side effects of Aldara that I need to call my doctor about immediately?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

For all uses of Aldara:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Flu-like signs. These include headache, weakness, fever, shakes, aches, pains, and sweating.
  • Bleeding.
  • Swollen gland.

For genital or perianal warts:

  • Vaginal pain or swelling.
  • Trouble passing urine.

What are some other side effects of Aldara?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Change in color of skin. This may not go back to normal.
  • Headache.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Signs of a common cold.
  • Sinus pain.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If overdose is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out Aldara?

  • Store at room temperature. Do not freeze.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

Consumer information use and disclaimer

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about Aldara, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Aldara or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Aldara. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Source: Wolters Kluwer Health. Last updated May 19, 2020.