Aldara
DESCRIPTION

A brand for imiquimod, Aldara is an immune response modifier in cream form to be applied externally only.

How It Works

This medication works by activating the immune system in order for it to tackle abnormality in skin growths such as warts. However, it does not cure the skin conditions indefinitely, and new growths may sometimes appear during treatment.

Uses

The Aldara cream treats some types of actinic keratoses (AK), which are flat, scaly growths on the face or scalp caused by excessive sun exposure. This topical medication can also treat a type of skin cancer called superficial basal cell carcinoma, which can occur on the trunk and limbs. Warts on the genital and anal areas can be tackled as well.

Dosage

You may apply Aldara once a day twice weekly, three to four days apart for treatment of AK conditions, or, once a day, five days a week for basal cell carcinoma treatment. Never apply the cream to your skin larger than your forehead, and make sure it is left on the skin for around eight hours at a time. Even once the skin has cleared up, continuously use the cream for exactly 16 weeks for AK conditions, or a full six weeks for basal cell carcinoma, unless advised otherwise by a medical practitioner.

Should you require Aldara to tackle genital and anal warts, please apply the cream once daily for three days per week. You may leave it on for six to ten hours. Please use continuous application until all the warts are treated, which may take up to 16 weeks.

Whatever condition you are treating, always get the patient’s copy of the manufacturer’s information and carefully follow the prescription label exactly as directed or ask your doctor or pharmacist for further explanation.

Side Effects

Consult your doctor if the following side effects do not leave or worsen:

redness, itching, burning, or bleeding of the treated area
flaking, scaling, dryness, or thickening of the skin
swelling, stinging, or pain in the treated area
blisters, scabs, or bumps on the skin
headache
diarrhea
back pain
tiredness

Serious symptoms as listed below will warrant immediate medical attention:

skin breakdown or sores with sometimes pus, especially in the first week of treatment
flu-like symptoms like nausea, fever, chills, tiredness, as well as muscle weakness or pain

Precaution

When using Aldara, always consult the doctor or pharmacist if you are:

Allergic to imiquimod, or any other medications.
Taking any other prescription and non-prescription medications.
Having a history with unusual sensitivity to sunlight, any other skin diseases, or immune system related condition such as HIV or AIDS.
Recently done with a surgery in or around the affected area.
Pregnant, plan to be, or breastfeeding. If you conceive while using Aldara, consult a doctor.
Finished with the treatment but identify skin discoloration.

As this medication can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and tanning devices, always dress in protective clothing, don sunglasses, and apply sunscreen.

Self-Care

Always clean the treated area daily and before each application. Do not use tight dressings or bandages on the treated areas unless approved by your doctor. If required, it is better to use one made with cotton. Likewise, you should wear cotton underwear if you are treating genital or anal warts. On that note, do not attempt sexual contact, whether oral, anal, or genital, when the cream is on, especially as the cream may cause condoms and vaginal diaphragms to disintegrate. If the cream accidentally gets into your eyes, lips, nostrils, vagina or anus, immediately rinse with water thoroughly.

Keep a record of all your appointments and maintain regular check-ups with your doctor, particularly if you are suffering from superficial basal cell carcinoma.

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