Imiquimod

By

Generic Name: Imiquimod Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available. Avability: Rx Pregnancy Category: C

Uses

What is Imiquimod used for?

Imiquimod is used to treat actinic keratoses (AK) which are precancerous growths on the skin. AK are caused by too much sun exposure. Treating this condition can decrease the risk of complications from them. It is also used to treat warts on the outside of the genitals/anus. Imiquimod belongs to a group of drugs called immune response modifiers. It is believed to work by helping to activate your immune system to fight these abnormal skin growths.

This product is not recommended for use on children under 12 years of age unless specifically directed by your doctor.

How should I take Imiquimod?

Use this medication on the skin only. Apply this medication to the affected area once a day as directed by your doctor. The number of times you apply this medication depends on the specific skin problem that is being treated. When treating actinic keratoses, apply once a day for 2 weeks. You will then rest the treated skin for the next two weeks by not applying any more imiquimod. After this rest period, you will resume applying this medication once a day for another 2 weeks. When treating warts, apply once a day until the warts clear or up to 8 weeks.

Do not apply this medication in the eyes, nose, mouth, rectum, or vagina. If you get this medication in those areas, flush with plenty of water. If irritation occurs, talk to your doctor right away.

If you are using the pump, prime the pump as directed before using it for the first time. If you are using the packet, use a new packet of cream for each use. Throw away any partly used packets of medication.

Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time each day. Before applying the medication, wash your hands and the area to be treated with soap and water, and dry thoroughly. Apply as directed by your doctor just before going to bed. Wash your hands with soap and water after each application. Do not cover the treated area with bandages or other waterproof coverings. Leave the cream on overnight, usually for about 8 hours. In the morning, wash the treated area with soap and water to remove the cream. Do not bathe or wet the treated area before the prescribed application time has passed. Do not use more imiquimod than prescribed or leave it on longer than prescribed by your doctor. Doing so may cause more severe skin reactions to occur.

Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens or if new growths appear during treatment.

How do I store Imiquimod?

Imiquimod is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Imiquimod in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Imiquimod that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Imiquimod down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Imiquimod?

Before using imiquimod, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history.

This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Do not apply this medication onto sunburned skin. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness.

Genital/anal warts are caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). Since imiquimod does not destroy the virus but only helps to eliminate the wart, new warts may form, even while you are being treated. You may also be able to infect any sexual partner who comes into contact with the areas of skin infected with HPV.

To reduce the risk of spreading HPV to others, always use effective barrier protections (such as latex or polyurethane condoms, dental dams) during all sexual activity. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

During treatment of genital/anal warts, avoid all sexual contact while the cream is on the skin. Condoms, dental dams, and diaphragms may be weakened by the cream, and therefore they may not work as well to prevent pregnancy or spreading of HPV or HIV.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Imiquimod during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Imiquimod. Imiquimod is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Imiquimod?

Treatment area reactions may include redness, swelling, itching, burning, pain/tenderness, thickening/hardening of the skin, peeling/flaking/scabbing/crusting, or leaking a clear fluid. Also, changes in skin color may occur and may not go away. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

If the skin reaction is severe (bleeding, formation of sores/blisters/ulcers), imiquimod may need to be temporarily stopped so that the skin can heal. Follow your doctor’s directions.

Headache, loss of appetite, dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, back pain, and flu-like symptoms (such as fever, tiredness, muscle aches) may also occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: swollen glands (lymph nodes), new unusual skin growths/changes, chest pain.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Imiquimod?

Do not apply this product on the same area of skin with other imiquimod-containing products.

Imiquimod may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Imiquimod?

Imiquimod may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana.

What health conditions may interact with Imiquimod?

Imiquimod may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Imiquimod.

What is the dose of Imiquimod for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Keratosis

2.5% and 3.75% cream: Apply a thin film once a day before bedtime to the affected area (either entire face or balding scalp)

5% cream: Apply topically to the affected area on the face or scalp (but not both concurrently) 2 times per week for a full 16 weeks

Usual Adult Dose for Condylomata Acuminata

3.75% cream: Apply a thin layer once a day to the external genital/perianal warts until total clearance or up to 8 weeks

5% cream: Apply topically to external genital/perianal warts 3 times per week

Usual Adult Dose for Basal Cell Carcinoma

5% cream: Apply topical to a biopsy-confirmed superficial basal cell carcinoma 5 times per week for a full 6 weeks

What is the dose of Imiquimod for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Condylomata Acuminata

12 years or older:

3.75% cream: Apply a thin layer once a day to the external genital/perianal warts until total clearance or up to 8 weeks

5% cream: Apply topically to external genital/perianal warts 3 times per week

Precautions

Safety and efficacy have not been established in patients younger than 12 years for the treatment of external genital warts.

Safety and efficacy have not been established in patients younger than 18 years for the treatment of actinic keratosis or superficial basal cell carcinoma.

How is Imiquimod available?

Imiquimod is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Topical cream.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Imiquimod, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: November 14, 2018 | Last Modified: November 15, 2018

Sources
You might also like