WHAT IS IMIQUIMOD CREAM 5%?
It is a modifier of the immune response. When applied to the skin, it activates the immune system to recognize abnormal cells, and causes a reaction that removes them.
IMIQUIMOD is sold under two famous brands: Aldara 5% and Zyklara 3.75%.
At Anna’s Cosmetics IMIQUIMOD is available in a form of single sachets under the brand name of Aldara at a strength of 5%.
One of the indications of IMIQUIMOD cream 5% is treatment of actinic keratosis caused by excessive sun exposure and skin cancer – superficial basal cell carcinoma. In fact, recent study proves that this cream is more effective for the latter indication than any other non-surgical treatment.
IMIQUIMOD cream 5% also treats superficial genital viral warts.
There are a few other, off label indications of IMIQUIMOD, such as:
- non-genital viral warts
- molluscum contagiosum – an infection caused by a poxvirus
- keloid scars
- melanoma metastases
- other precancerous and cancerous lesions, such as Bowen’s disease, actinic porokeratosis, lentigo maligna, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, vulvar neoplasia and Paget’s disease.
Please keep in mind that although IMIQUIMOD can improve many of the above-mentioned skin issues and in some cases cure them, the effects of treatment may not be permanent and side effects should be expected. For example, in most of cases, your skin will turn red and sore after applying the cream before it improves. Redness and soreness should decrease and disappear approximately two weeks after you discontinue the treatment.
If you are using IMIQUIMOD cream 5% for solar keratosis, your skin will eventually become smoother after treatment. If you have a more severe medical problem, you may need repeated treatments in the future to maintain results.
IMIQUIMOD REGIMEN AND DOSAGE
Consult your doctor to discuss the most appropriate treatment regimen, dosage and length of the treatment course. These factors will directly depend on the condition you are treating and the dosage of cream you are using.
If you have a very extensive lesion, it is recommended to use IMIQUIMOD cream 5% in small areas of the affected zone, usually not using more than one or two sachets per application. Because the more cream is used in one application, the more serious side effects can be.
Usually, the dose would depend on your age, severity of your condition and any other medicines you are taking. However, most health practitioners recommended the following:
Actinic keratosis: Twice per week for 16 weeks
External genital warts (EGW): Thrice a week for a maximum period of 16 weeks
Superficial basal cell carcinoma: 5 times a week for 6 weeks
Apply IMIQUIMOD overnight and rinse off in the morning. Cleanse your skin before applying the cream.
Cut a corner of the sachet and squeeze a little cream onto the finger to apply it to the affected area. Apply the cream along the edge of the affected area, capturing the surrounding healthy skin (about 1 cm).
Do not mask or cover the treated area with a bandage unless the doctor has prescribed otherwise.
Do not apply anything to the skin for at least eight hours after applying IMIQUIMOD cream 5%. A mild moisturizer can be used after 8 hours if you need to soothe the skin but should be washed off before re-applying IMIQUIMOD.
A moisturizer can also be used to soothe the skin for several weeks after completion of treatment.
Wash your hands thoroughly before and immediately after applying the cream.
The cream can be used with caution on the eyelids and lips, and your doctor should closely monitor the use in these areas.
Do not use IMIQUIMOD if you are allergic to any ingredients.
Do not use cream if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Do not use IMIQUIMOD if you spend a lot of time in the sun or in a solarium.
SIDE EFFECTS OF IMIQUIMOD CREAM 5%
Within 3-5 days, the skin treated with IMIQUIMOD may become red and painful. Even normal skin around the treated area can be affected, as it may contain invisible abnormal cells. The skin may get wet, start peeling, form cracks or blisters, and then scabs. The area can be itchy and unhealthy, painful and inflamed. This is caused by the death of abnormal cells and a sign that the treatment is working. The skin reaction tends to worsen at 2-3 weeks of use. In most cases, the more your skin hurts and turns red, the better the treatment works. Redness is normal, and some crusts persist approximately 2 weeks after the end of the course of treatment.
It may seem that the number of sites of actinic keratoses increases at the beginning of the treatment. This is due to the fact that the cream caused inflammation and actinic keratoses, that were already there but were not visible, appeared. They will also improve with treatment.
Some patients develop flu-like symptoms such as swollen and painful lymph nodes, pain, mild fever, and generally poor health. In cases like that, use paracetamol.
If the skin or general reaction becomes too severe to withstand, stop using the cream for a week or so.
As abnormal cells die, the skin becomes damaged and therefore susceptible to infection.
If you notice unusual symptoms during treatment, consult a doctor.
WHAT ARE THE RARE SIDE EFFECTS OF IMIQUIMOD?
It’s possible to get a very pronounced reaction to the cream. As a result, the treated area may become ulcerated. In most cases, the ulcers appear on the legs.
As a result of the severe inflammation, your skin color may become darker or lighter. Sometime, this color change become permanent.
After a serious reaction with the appearance of ulcers, there is a small risk of scarring and hair loss in the treated area.
The cream activates the immune system, and very rarely there have been reports of an outbreak of preexisting autoimmune diseases.
Furthermore, the patient may be allergic to the cream, which manifests itself in a severe allergic rash.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT IMIQUIMOD
Volume & Packaging: 0.25g single use sachet
Active Ingredients: each 0.25g single use sachet contains 12.5 mg of Imiquimod
Storage Conditions: Store IMIQUIMOD cream 5% at 39°F to 77°F (4°C to 25°C). Do not freeze.
Keep IMIQUIMOD and all medicines out of reach of children.
Aldara 5% cream is manufactured by Meda in the UK.