Aldara (or imiquimod, in its generic form) is a prescription medication that is used to treat skin conditions and is often used to clear up an outbreak of genital warts. It is highly effective when used correctly and applied to the warts, as it boosts the natural immune system to help the body fight the infection. It usually clears up the warts within four months and helps with the discomfort that the outbreak can cause.
Genital warts are a viral infection caused by the contraction of the human papilloma virus (HPV). Although the virus itself cannot be cured, it may lie dormant in the body for long periods of time during which an outbreak will not occur. When the warts do appear, Aldara is applied to their surface. Its active ingredient, imiquimod, acts as an immune response modifier, which means that it stimulates the body’s natural defence mechanisms. This makes the skin cells produce what are known as cytokines, which prevent the virus from multiplying, making it easier for the body to fight the infection and clear up the outbreak altogether.
It is prescribed to patients who have contracted genital warts and are over the age of 12. Although it is a safe medication, some people may not be able to use it. It will not be prescribed to patients who are allergic to any of the ingredients in the cream. Other people who may not be able to use it are those who have had an organ transplant, suffer from conditions that affect the immune system or present internal warts.
It should be applied to the affected external area three times a week in a thin layer. The best time to do this is before going to sleep, as the cream will need to be washed off with soap and water after six to ten hours.
It is important not to apply Aldara to areas with open wounds and always wash your hands thoroughly after applying. In the rare instance that after using the cream for 16 weeks the warts have not disappeared completely, you should consult a doctor, but do not continue to use the cream for a longer period of time than this.
The side effects associated are usually mild and brief, as the cream is considered a safe treatment for most people. Some patients have reported side effects though, and it is possible that you will suffer from skin irritation, flu-like symptoms, headache, muscle pain or digestive problems such as diarrhoea or nausea.
Some patients present more serious side effects, which usually mean there is an intolerance or allergy to the medication. You should consult a medical professional immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms: chest pain, difficulty breathing, or severe irritation, blistering or bleeding to where the cream was applied.
Aldara is available to buy from 121doc after filling out a free online consultation, during which you will be asked a series of medical questions to ensure the medication is safe and effective for your condition. Once this has been ascertained, a doctor will issue a prescription which the pharmacy will dispatch for free next day delivery. If you live in London you may receive your treatment in as little as two hours.