What is imiquimod, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
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.
What brand names are available for imiquimod?
Is imiquimod available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for imiquimod?
What are the side effects of imiquimod?
Side effects of imiquimod are:
What is the dosage for imiquimod?
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.
Safe and effective use of imiquimod is not established for children under the age of 12.
Which drugs or supplements interact with imiquimod?
No drug-drug interactions have been conducted and established with imiquimod.
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Is imiquimod safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies done on imiquimod to determine safe and effective use in pregnant women.
What else should I know about imiquimod?
What preparations of imiquimod-topical are available?
Cream: 2.5%, 3.75%, and 5%
How should I keep imiquimod-topical stored?
Store imiquimod cream between temperatures of 4 C to 25 C (39 F - 77 F).
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Imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara) is a topical cream used in the treatment of genital warts. The medication works by stimulating the immune system cells and chemicals to attack the affected area. The medicine may also be prescribed to fight different types of skin cancer. Side effects, drug interactions, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
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Genital Warts (HPV) Infection in Women
Genital warts is a sexually transmitted infection (STI, STD) caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is the most common STD in the US. The warts can appear anywhere on the skin where sexual contact has occurred. The warts look like raised, flesh-colored lumps or bumps that have a cauliflower-like appearance. Signs and symptoms of genital warts in women include vaginal, vulva, or groin pain, itching, and burning where the wart(s) is. Treatment can remove warts or lesions, but it does not prevent spread of the virus, and the warts usually grow back. Removing genital warts does not prevent the infection from spreading elsewhere on the body. There is no cure for genital warts, and there is no vaccine to prevent them; however, there is a vaccine to prevent infection from four common types of HPV. Gardasil vaccine available for female adolescents and teens to prevent HPV infection and cervical cancer.
Skin cancers occur when skin cells undergo malignant transformations and grow into tumors. The most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are highly curable when they are diagnosed and treated early. Sun exposure, tanning beds, depressed immune system, radiation exposure, and certain viral infections are risk factors for skin cancer. Skin cancers are treated with surgery or radiation. The prognosis of nonmelanoma skin cancers is generally very good.
Warts (Common Warts)
Common warts are skin growths causes by the human papillomavirus. There are many types of warts, including plantar warts, common hand warts, warts under the nails, mosaic wars, and flat warts. Over-the-counter treatments typically involve the use of salicylic acid products.
A keloid is a scar that doesn't know when to stop. When the cells keep on reproducing, the result is an overgrown (hypertrophic) scar or a keloid. A keloid looks shiny and is often dome-shaped, ranging in color from slightly pink to red. It feels hard and thick and is always raised above the surrounding skin.
Actinic keratoses are rough, scaly patches of skin that are considered precancerous and are due to sun exposure. Prevention is to cut sun exposure and wear sunscreen.
Molluscum contagiosum is a skin disease that causes pink painless bumps on the skin. It typically resolves in 6 to 12 months. Cryotherapy, laser therapy, and curettage may also treat the nodules of molluscum contagiosum.
HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Infection
HPVs or human papillomaviruses are a group of viral infections of the skin and mucous membranes. Certain high-risk types of HPV infection cause certain cancers (cervical, penile, anal, vaginal, and oral). There are no signs or symptoms of HPV infection. HPV infection is an extremely common STD and is highly contagious. People are at higher risk of getting HPV infection if they have multiple sex partners, a weakened immune system, or breaks in the skin. HPV vaccinations prevent HPV infection. Treatment for HPV infection is antiviral medication. There is no cure for HPV infection.
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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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