imiquimod topical (cont.)
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using imiquimod topical (Aldara, Zyclara)?
To make sure you can safely take imiquimod topical, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether imiquimod topical will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
If you are treating the genital or rectal area with imiquimod topical, avoid sexual activity while the medicine is on your skin. Imiquimod topical can weaken the rubber that condoms or diaphragms are made out of. If you use a condom or diaphragm, these items could break if the rubber weakens, and an unplanned pregnancy could result.
It is not known whether imiquimod topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not use this medicine on a child younger than 12 years old. Imiquimod topical is for use in treating genital warts in patients who are at least 12 years old. All other uses of this medication are for adults over 18 only.
How should I apply imiquimod topical (Aldara, Zyclara)?
Use exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Using too much of this medicine, or using it for too long can increase your risk of severe skin reactions.
Before applying imiquimod topical, wash your hands and wash the skin area to be treated. Allow the skin to dry for at least 10 minutes before applying the medicine. Always wash your hands after applying the medicine also.
Do not use imiquimod topical on areas of broken, wounded, or burned skin. Wait until these conditions have healed before using imiquimod topical.
Imiquimod topical is normally used 2 to 5 times per week for up to 16 weeks. How you use this medication will depend on the condition you are treating. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Aldara is usually applied 2 times per week (such as Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday and Friday) for a full 16 weeks. Zyclara is applied once daily for 2 weeks followed by 2 weeks without treatment. Apply the cream to the treatment area in a thin layer, and rub in the cream until it disappears. Use the medicine before going to bed and leave it on for 8 hours. In the morning, wash off the medicine with water and a mild soap.
Superficial basal cell carcinoma:
Usually applied 5 times per week (such as Monday through Friday) for a full 6 weeks. Apply the cream from one imiquimod topical packet to the treatment area and the border of skin around it, and rub in the cream until it disappears. Use the medicine before going to bed and leave it on for 8 hours. In the morning, wash off the medicine with water and a mild soap.
Usually applied 3 times per week (such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for no longer than 16 weeks. Apply the cream from one imiquimod topical packet to the treatment area, and rub in the cream until it disappears. Do not cover the treated skin areas with any type of plastic bandaging, and avoid nylon underwear. You may wear cotton gauze or underwear over the treated area. Use the medicine before going to bed and leave it on for 6 to 10 hours. Then wash off the medicine with water and a mild soap.
When treating genital warts under the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis, pull back the foreskin and wash it with mild soap and water before applying imiquimod topical. Clean this area daily during treatment.
When treating genital warts around the vagina, avoid getting the cream on the more sensitive inner layers of vaginal tissue. This could result in vaginal swelling or irritation and painful urination.
Imiquimod topical is not a cure for genital warts and it may not keep you from spreading this condition to others through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You may develop new lesions during treatment with imiquimod topical. For best results, keep using the medicine for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will need to check your skin on a regular basis, especially if you have a more severe skin reaction to the medication. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
Call your doctor if your skin condition does not improve or if it gets worse during treatment.
Do not use imiquimod topical to treat any skin condition that has not been checked by a doctor. Do not share this medication with anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms you have.
Each packet of imiquimod topical is for a single application only. Throw away the packet after one use, even if there is medicine left in it. If you treat more than one skin area at a time, ask your doctor how many packets to use.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze. Keep each packet unopened until you are ready to use it.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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