Skin Cancer

Imiquimod (Aldara)

Imiquimod (Aldara) is cream used to treat solar keratosis (sun spots) on the face and scalp, superficial basal cell carcinoma (sBCC), and genital/ perianal warts.

Imiquimod is the active ingredient. It is an immune response modifier, which triggers immune cells to attack and kill virus-infected or cancerous cells.

The product comes in 2 forms – Imiquimod (Aldara) pump-pack and pack of Imiquimod (Aldara) sachets.

Expected reactions

USING Imiquimod (Aldara)
How to use Imiquimod (Aldara)

  • How to use Imiquimod (Aldara): Wash the affected area with mild soap and water. Allow skin to dry thoroughly. Cut off the top of the sachet and squeeze out a small amount onto your fingertip. If using the pump, prime the pump several times before dispensing the cream. Apply a thin layer of Imiquimod (Aldara) cream onto the affected area and rub it gently into the skin until the cream disappears. Leave the cream on for 6 to 10 hours. Do not shower or get it wet during this time. After 6 to 10 hours, the area should be washed with mild soap and water. Avoid applying Imiquimod (Aldara) near the eyes, lips or nostrils. Protective clothing (hat and long sleeved clothes) should be worn if going out during daylight. Avoid going under the sun as much as possible. When used in the genital area, Imiquimod (Aldara) should be washed off before sexual intercourse. It can also weaken condoms and diaphragms so alternative forms of contraception should be considered. Uncircumsized men with warts under the foreskin should pull the foreskin back for daily washes to prevent tightness of foreskin from developing.
  • Duration of Imiquimod (Aldara) use : Duration and frequency of Imiquimod (Aldara) use depends on what is being treated. Apply Imiquimod (Aldara) as instructed by your Dermatologist. Solar keratosis: generally three times a week at bedtime for 4-6 weeks. Superficial BCC: generally five consecutive days per week (ie Mon to Fri) at bedtime for 6 weeks. Genital warts: generally three times a week at bedtime for 8-10 weeks.
  • What to expect : Imiquimod (Aldara) causes local inflammation at the site of application and is a sign that the medications is working. These include redness, itching, burning, pain, ulceration, scabbing and flaking. If the skin reaction is too strong or uncomfortable, wash the cream off with soap and water and see your Dermatologist or local doctor. Sometimes treatment may be stopped for a few days. Some people get flu symptoms when using Imiquimod (Aldara), including fever, fatigue, diarrhea, headache, and body aches. These are generally mild and improve after paracetamol. Again, see your doctor if you don’t feel well or experience side effects.

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