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. Imiquimod belongs to a group of drugs called immune response modifiers. It is believed to work by helping your immune system to fight these abnormal skin growths.
Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using imiquimod and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Use this medication on the skin only. Apply this medication to the affected area once a day for 2 weeks as directed by your doctor. 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.
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 increases the risk of severe skin reactions.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens or if new growths appear during treatment.
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.
Dizziness, diarrhea, back pain, mouth sores, swollen lips, 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.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: swollen glands (lymph nodes), new unusual skin growths/changes.
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.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
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 drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Do not apply this medication to sunburned skin.
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.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Do not apply this product on the same area of skin with other imiquimod-containing products.
This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If swallowing or overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Keep all medical appointments.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the next day, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule in the evening. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not freeze. Do not store in the bathroom. Store the pump upright. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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