Imiquimod is used to treat actinic keratosis (rough and scaly patch in your skin that develops from years of exposure to the sun) of the full face or balding scalp.
This medicine is also used to treat skin cancer and warts on the surface of the genitals and around the anus.
Apply Imiquimod exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not use more often or over a larger area than instructed by your doctor.
How to use this medicine:
- Before applying the medicine, wash your hands and the affected area with mild soap then dry thoroughly.
- This medicine is available in cream packets or cream pump. If you are given the cream packet, open the packet and squeeze some cream onto your finger tip. If you are given the cream pump, prime it first before using by pressing the top of the pump completely down repeatedly until cream appears. Discard cream obtained during priming. You will not have to repeat this priming process during treatment. Slightly tilt the pump, press the top and dispense the cream onto your hand or fingertip.
- Apply a thin layer of the cream to the affected area. Rub gently until the cream vanishes.
- Leave the cream on the affected area for a time prescribed by your doctor. Do not bathe or get the treated area wet during this time.
- Wash the affected area with mild soap and water.
- Wash your hands carefully after application.
- Cream packets should not be reused once opened. Open a new sachet each time you use the cream. Throw away the opened packet (according to your doctor or pharmacist’s instructions) even if all the cream was not completely used.
Avoid direct contact of Imiquimod with your eyes, lips, or nostrils. Rinse immediately with water if this medicine gets into your eyes, lips, nostrils. Alert your doctor if you start to have any problems with your eyes.
If you are using this medicine for genital or anal warts, avoid getting this medicine in or on your anus or vagina. Uncircumcised males treating warts under their penis foreskin must pull their foreskin back and clean before treatment and clean daily during treatment.
Do not use with occlusive dressing unless instructed by the doctor.
Do not apply on broken skin.
Imiquimod must be used regularly and within the given medication timeframe for it to be effective.
Do not stop using it unless instructed by the doctor.
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
Do not use more than what is instructed by the doctor to make up for the missed dose.
If you often forget to use your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not use this medicine if you ever had an allergic reaction (rashes, breathlessness, swollen face) to Imiquimod.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- autoimmune disease (a condition where the body attacks its own cells)
- HIV infection
- organ transplant recipient
- low levels of haemoglobin, white blood cells, platelets
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
This medicine may increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing when going outdoors and avoid direct or prolonged exposure to sunlight and UV lamps.
Avoid sexual contact (e.g. genital, anal, oral) while Imiquimod is on your skin. This medicine may damage condoms or diaphragms. Do not rely on these devices to prevent sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy while being treated with Imiquimod.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
Imiquimod may cause any of the following side effects: headache, redness, itchiness, burning sensation, erosion (loss of outer layer of the skin), ulceration (sore), blistering, exfoliation, swelling, hardening, scabbing or crusting, flaking, scaling, and dryness of the skin.
This medicine may cause hair loss at or near treatment site and skin discolouration (darkening of the skin or loss of skin colour). Skin discolouration may occur on the application site and occasionally may be permanent. Discuss with your doctor if you are concerned about these side effects.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, chills, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, muscle or joint pain)
- swelling outside of the vagina
- unusual bleeding or bruising
If you develop rashes, breathlessness, swollen mouth or eyes, stop using the medicine and inform your doctor quickly. These could be signs of an allergic reaction.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor or your pharmacist if you are taking immunosuppressants (medicines used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders).
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
Do not throw away this medicine via wastewater or household waste. Ask your doctor of pharmacist how to throw away expired, unused, or partially used Imiquimod cream.