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Generic Name: Imiquimod

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Aldara (Imiquimod or INN) is a prescription, patient-applied topical medication used to treat genital warts. It also used to treat superficial basal cell carcinoma, and actinic keratosis. Imiquimod acts as an immune response modifier.

This information is for educational purposes only. Not every known side effect, adverse effect, or drug interaction is in this database. If you have questions about your medicines, talk to your health care provider.

It works by helping change certain chemicals in the brain, which professionals refer to as “neurotransmitters.” It is not yet well-understood why changing these neurochemicals results in symptom relief for the conditions this drug is commonly prescribed for.

How to Take It

Follow the directions for using this medicine provided by your doctor. This medicine may be taken on an empty stomach or with food. Continue to take this medicine even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.

Side Effects

Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include:

  • redness, itching, or burning of the skin
  • flaking of the skin
  • blisters, scabs, or bumps on the skin
  • change in skin color
  • headache
  • muscle weakness or pain
  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms
  • fungal infection

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

Serious allergic reactions, including:

  • rash
  • itching/swelling of the face/tongue/throat
  • severe dizziness
  • trouble breathing

Warnings & Precautions

  • 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.
  • For an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. For non emergencies, contact your local or regional poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Topical Interactions

Avoid getting this medication on lips, eyes, mouth, or nose. Do not place the cream in your rectum, vagina, or urethra. If it does get into any of these areas, rinse with water. Do not use imiquimod topical on windburned, sunburned, dry, irritated, chapped, or broken skin. Avoid using other medications on the areas you treat with this medication. Avoid exposure to tanning beds or sunlight. Avoid having unprotected sex.

Dosage & Missed Dose

Imiquimod topical is normally used 2 to 5 times per week for up to 16 weeks. Dosage of this medication will depend on the condition you are treating. Follow doctor’s instructions.

Using too much of this medicine, or using it for too long can increase your risk of severe skin reactions.

Skip the missed dose and wait until next bed time to use the medicine. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.


The container for this medication should be tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Best stored at room temperature, away from excessive moisture and heat (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated.


During pregnancy, Imiquimod medication should be used only when absolutely necessary. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

It is unknown whether this drug passes into breast milk. Before breast-feeding, consult your doctor.

More Information

For more information, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or health care provider, or you can visit this website, additional information from the manufacturer of this drug.


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APA Reference
Psych Central. (2018). Aldara. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Oct 2018
Last reviewed: By Christine Traxler, M.D.
Published on All rights reserved.