Generic name: Imiquimod
Why is this medication prescribed?
Imiquimod is used topically to treat warts on the skin of the genital and anal areas. Imiquimod does not cure warts, and new warts may appear during treatment.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Imiquimod comes as a topical cream in unit-of-use packages. It is important to wash your hands before and after applying imiquimod to your skin. One packet of imiquimod is used to apply a thin layer of cream to the wart area three times per week, just before going to sleep. A schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday is suggested. Rub the cream into the skin until no more cream is visible. Do not put any covering on the area. Imiquimod should be left on the skin for 6 to 10 hours. Upon waking, wash the area with mild soap and water to remove excess cream. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use imiquimod exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using imiquimod,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to imiquimod or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, including vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using imiquimod, call your doctor.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Apply imiquimod just before going to bed on the day that you remember. Apply only the single dose, do not apply a double dose. Resume a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday schedule, depending on what day you resume treatment.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from imiquimod are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- redness, itching, or burning of the skin
- flaking of the skin
- swelling or pain in the area where imiquimod was applied
- blisters, scabs, or bumps on the skin
- change in skin color
- muscle weakness or pain
- flu-like symptoms
- fungal infection
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor. Imiquimod is for external use only. Avoid sexual contact while the cream is on the skin. Imiquimod may also weaken condoms and vaginal diaphragms.
Do not apply dressings, bandages, cosmetics, lotions, or other skin medications to the area being treated unless your doctor tells you to.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription. Tell your doctor if your skin condition gets worse or does not go away.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 May 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.