Imiquimod comes as a cream to apply to the skin.
If you are using imiquimod cream to treat actinic keratoses, you will probably apply it once a day for 2 days a week, 3 to 4 days apart (e.g., Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday). Do not apply the cream to an area larger than your forehead or cheek (about 2 inches by 2 inches). Imiquimod cream should be left on the skin for approximately 8 hours. Continue using imiquimod cream for a full 16 weeks, even if all the actinic keratoses are gone, unless you are told otherwise by your doctor.
If you are using imiquimod cream to treat superficial basal cell carcinoma, you will probably apply it once a day for 5 days a week (e.g., Monday through Friday). Apply the cream to the basal cell carcinoma and the immediate surrounding area. Imiquimod cream should be left on the skin for approximately 8 hours. Continue using imiquimod for a full 6 weeks, even if the superficial basal cell carcinoma appears to be gone, unless you are told otherwise by your doctor.
If you are using imiquimod cream to treat genital and anal warts, you will probably apply it once a day for 3 days a week (e.g., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday). Imiquimod cream should be left on the skin for 6 to 10 hours. Continue using imiquimod until all of the warts are healed, up to a maximum of 16 weeks.
Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use imiquimod exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Do not cover the treated area with a tight bandage or dressing unless told to do so by your doctor. Cotton gauze dressings may be used if needed. Cotton underwear may be worn after treating the genital or anal areas.
If you are using imiquimod cream to treat genital or anal warts, you should avoid sexual (oral, anal, genital) contact while the cream is on your skin. Imiquimod cream may weaken condoms and vaginal diaphragms.
Uncircumcised men who are treating warts under the penis foreskin should pull the foreskin back and clean daily and before each treatment.
Imiquimod cream is only for use on the skin. Do not apply imiquimod cream in or near your eyes, lips, nostrils, vagina, or anus. If you get imiquimod cream in your mouth or eyes, rinse well with water right away.
Imiquimod cream comes in single-use packets. Dispose of any open packets if you do not use all of the cream.
To use the cream, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands.
- Wash the area to be treated with mild soap and water and allow it to dry.
- Apply a thin layer of cream to the area to be treated, just before going to sleep.
- Rub the cream into the skin until it disappears.
- Wash your hands.
- Leave the cream on the area for the amount of time your doctor has told you to do so. Do not bathe, shower, or swim during this time.
- After the treatment time is over, wash the area with mild soap and water to remove any cream.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.