Aldara Cream contains the active ingredient imiquimod, which is a type of medicine called an immunomodulator. It is used to treat three different skin conditions: genital warts, small superficial skin cancers and actinic keratoses.
Imiquimod acts by stimulating the body`s own defence mechanisms. It is thought that it works by binding to immune cells in the skin, causing them to release natural defence chemicals called cytokines. One such cytokine is called alpha interferon.
Alpha interferon and other cytokines have many functions in the immune system. They help fight viral infections by preventing viruses from multiplying in cells. They also prevent abnormal or malignant cells from increasing in numbers.
Genital warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). This cream stimulates the body to attack the virus, which cures the warts.
Superficial (non-malignant) skin cancers called basal cell carcinomas occur when certain skin cells multiply in an abnormal and uncontrolled way. This cream stimulates the body to attack the abnormal cells, which shrinks the cancerous growth.
Dosage and AdministrationFor warts on the genitals and around the anus, the cream should be applied in a thin layer to the warts and rubbed in until it vanishes, three times a week (for example monday, wednesday, friday) before going to bed. The cream should be left on for 6 to 10 hours each time and then washed off with mild soap and water. The treatment is continued until the warts are cleared (up to a maximum of 16 weeks per episode of warts).
For basal cell carcinomas, sufficient cream should be applied to cover the treatment area, including one centimetre of skin surrounding the tumour, and rubbed in until it vanishes five times a week (for example monday to friday) before going to bed. The cream should be left on for 8 hours each time and then washed off with mild soap and water. The treatment is continued for 6 weeks. 12 weeks after the treatment is finished your physician will reassess the cancer. If it has not fully responded a different treatment will be used.
For actinic keratoses, sufficient cream should be applied to cover the treatment area, and rubbed in until it vanishes three times a week (for example monday, wednesday, friday) before going to bed. The cream should be left on for 8 hours each time and then washed off with mild soap and water. The treatment is continued for 4 weeks and you then have a 4 week treatment-free period before your physician reassesses your skin. If any actinic keratoses remain you will be prescribed one more 4 week course of treatment. Each treatment period should not last for longer than 4 weeks, even if you have had missed doses or rest periods in those 4 weeks.
- Itching, irritation, pain or burning at application site
- Redness and inflammation of skin at application site
- Erosion, flaking and swelling of the skin at the application site
- Scabbing and crusting of skin at application site
- Tingling sensations at the application site
- Ulceration at site of application
- Increase or decrease in skin pigmentation at application site – may be permanent
- Hair loss around the application site
- Flu-like symptoms
- Aching muscles or joints
- Swollen glands
- Difficulty or pain urinating in women treated for genital warts