imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara)

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Pharmacy Author: Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.


BRAND NAME: Aldara, Zyclara

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Imiquimod is a topical medication that activates the immune system and is used for treating (not curing) genital warts. Although the exact mechanism of action imiquimod is not known, imiquimod is presumed to work by activating immune cells and chemicals that affect the immune the system. The FDA approved brand name imiquimod (Aldara) in February 1997.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Imiquimod is used for treating actinic keratosis, superficial basal cell carcinoma, and external genital warts.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of imiquimod are:



PREPARATIONS: Cream: 2.5%, 3.75%, and 5%

STORAGE: Store imiquimod cream between temperatures of 4 C to 25 C (39 F - 77 F).

DOSING: Adults and children of ages 12 and older:

Actinic keratosis: Apply Aldara to specific treatment area two times a week for 16 weeks.  

Superficial basal cell carcinoma: Apply to specific treatment area five times a week for 6 weeks.

External genital warts: Apply Aldara three times a week until clearance of warts or for a maximum of 16 weeks.

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