Just a few questions from our Pharmacist before you checkout to make sure this medicine is safe for you.
What is Aldara genital warts cream?
Aldara cream is a treatment for genital warts which can also be used to treat some early forms of skin cancer. It’s applied directly to the area where it gets to work stimulating your immune system, encouraging it to get rid of irregular cells and slowly treating your warts and other growths. This product comes in handy sachets that make measuring the amount of cream you’ll need easy and convenient.
How to use Aldara cream
Before using this product you should wash and dry your hands and the area you want to treat thoroughly. Open a new sachet and squeeze the Aldara cream onto your fingertip, then gently rub it into the skin you need to treat until it has disappeared. Each sachet contains enough cream to cover a 20cm₂ area of skin. Throw away the opened sachet (even if there is cream leftover in it) and wash your hands again after treatment. Leave the cream in place for around 8 hours without bathing or showering and then wash the area with mild soap and water. If you are treating genital warts underneath the foreskin of your penis, you should be sure to pull back the foreskin every day and wash underneath it.
How much cream should I use?
The amount of cream you should use and the duration of your treatment will be determined by your prescriber, but the manufacturer has some guidelines that can help you:
|Condition||Amount of Cream to Use||Weekly Use||Duration of Treatment|
|Genital warts||Enough to cover the affected area||Use 3 times a week (e.g. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday)||Use until your warts have gone, but do not use for more than 16 weeks without consulting your doctor|
|Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)||Cover the treatment area and 1cm (half an inch) around the affected area||Use for 5 days a week followed by a 2-day break (e.g. Use Monday - Friday then do not apply the cream on Saturday and Sunday)||Use for 6 weeks to begin with. After this, your doctor will assess your progress and continue treatment as needed|
|Actinic Keratosis||Enough to cover the affected area||Use 3 times a week (e.g. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday)||Use for 4 weeks to begin with. After this, your doctor will assess your progress and continue treatment as needed|
How does imiquimod treat genital warts?
The active ingredient in Aldara is an immune system stimulant called imiquimod at 5% strength. Imiquimod works by activating your immune system where it’s applied, helping your body to recognise abnormal cells and deal with them appropriately. It causes inflammation in the area, which may be concerning when you’re not used to your treatment, but this is all a part of the process that helps your body to get rid of abnormal growths like genital warts or early forms of skin cancer. You’ll use it over several weeks to keep your immune system engaged in getting rid of the unwanted cells, getting rid of warts and growths over time.
What else can imiquimod cream be used for?
Although genital warts are a common use for imiquimod cream, it can also be used for two other conditions; superficial basal cell carcinoma and actinic keratosis. Superficial basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of skin cancer that can cause changes in areas of skin that are often exposed to sunlight. The usual things to look out for when you think you may have a BCC are:
- Changes in shape or colour of moles
- New moles or skin growths appearing
- Red sores
- Open sores that won’t heal
- A shiny bump on your skin
- Areas that look like scarring
Actinic keratosis is also caused by sun damage to your skin, causing dry, scaly patches of skin in the damaged area. These patches usually aren’t serious, but you should always get them checked out by a doctor as they can become cancerous if not treated effectively.
What are genital warts?
Genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a virus which is passed on through skin to skin contact and by sharing sex toys. Genital warts look like small, round growths or lumps around your penis, vagina, or anus. They usually won’t hurt but they can be annoying and you may find them embarrassing or unsightly. When you catch the virus that causes genital warts it will live in your skin, so you may not have your first outbreak of warts for weeks after your first contact and you may not ever show any physical symptoms. When your warts have gone away you may find that they come back again later on, but you should note that you will still be infectious even if you don’t currently have any warts.
What is HPV?
HPV, which stands for human papillomavirus, is the name of the virus that causes genital warts. As a virus, it’s similar to the one that causes cold sores, as once you’ve caught it it lives in your skin and can flare up every so often, bringing warts back with it. Your warts can come and go without treatment, but as this virus can be so infectious we recommend having a treatment plan in place so you can treat the area as effectively as possible when it flares up.
Is there a cure for genital warts?
Although there are treatments for genital warts, there currently is no cure that will stop them from coming back. This is because HPV lives in your skin and can flare up sometimes, causing outbreaks of genital warts. If you have this condition, you should regularly check your genital area for warts and be sure to inform and protect any sexual partners you have.
How long does this product take to get rid of genital warts?
When using Aldara cream to treat genital warts, the amount of time it takes for your warts to be completely gone will differ in men and women. If you are male or were assigned male at birth you will usually find that your warts clear within 12 weeks. If you’re female or were assigned female at birth then you will usually find that your warts clear within 8 weeks. However, patients of all genders have found that their warts can clear as quickly as just 4 weeks after the start of treatment. If you’re a transgender person who is unsure whether this treatment will be right for you, we recommend bringing this up during your first consultation so your prescriber can help you to make the best possible healthcare choices for you.
Can I have sex while I’m using this genital warts treatment?
We do not recommend having any kind of sex when you’re having a flare-up of genital warts as the virus can easily be passed to your partner. Therefore, you should not have sex while using this treatment, as it’s exclusively used when you have a genital wart outbreak. However, if you do decide to have sex when you have warts, you should be sure to use a condom during intercourse and apply this treatment AFTER sex, not before. You should also be aware that although using a condom during sex will help to reduce your chances of passing on genital warts, it will not prevent it entirely as any skin that is not covered by the condom can still transmit HPV.
Can this cream be used in men and women?
Aldara cream can be used by people of all genders as it’s designed to treat penile, vaginal, and anal genital warts as well as actinic keratosis and superficial basal cell carcinoma. If you are using this product to treat genital warts then you should be careful to only apply the cream to external genitalia and not inside the urethra, vagina, or rectum. If you’re unsure how to apply this cream to your genitals then you should ask your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
Can I use this cream if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
You may be able to use Aldara cream during pregnancy as there is currently no evidence to indicate that this treatment will have any harmful effects. However, you should only use this product if it’s prescribed to you by a medical professional. They will be able to assess your individual needs and treatment options and help you to get the best possible medication for both you and your baby. You should not use this genital warts cream when you’re breastfeeding as it’s unknown whether the active ingredient passes into breastmilk or not. With that in mind, you should not use this product until you’ve finished breastfeeding to avoid potential harm to your baby.
Can I use this treatment at the same time as my regular medication?
Imiquimod is not currently known to interact with any other medications, so you should be able to use Almara cream with your regular medication with no problems. However, you should always tell the prescriber what medication you’re taking during your consultation so they can be sure that this treatment is right for you.
When should this product not be used?
Aldara cream should not be used in children or adolescents (teens). Do not use this product if you are allergic to imiquimod or any of the other listed ingredients. For external use only, avoid contact with eyes, lips, and nostrils. Do not cover the treated area with any bandages or dressings after application. If the area becomes too uncomfortable after use, gently wash it off with mild soap and water. Do not use sunbeds or try to tan the area of application. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist before using this product if you:
- Have ever used Aldara cream, imiquimod, or any other similar medicines before
- Have any problems with your immune system (e.g. those who are HIV positive)
- Have recently had a treatment or surgical procedure in the area where you’d need to apply the cream
- Have an abnormal blood count
Does Aldara cream have side effects?
Like all medications, Aldara cream can have side effects, although not everyone will experience them. Some of the most common side effects of this treatment include:
- Changes in skin colour where the cream has been applied. This will often improve with time but may be permanent
- A bad skin reaction, if this happens, stop applying the cream, wash it away with soap and water and speak to your doctor or pharmacist right away
- Lowering of blood counts which may make it more likely that you will get infections, you may bruise more easily, or it may cause fatigue (tiredness)
- Hair loss where you applied the cream or in the surrounding area
- Redness of the skin
- Wearing away of the skin
- Flaky skin and swelling
- Hardening under the skin
- Small open sores
- A crust forming over the area during healing
- Small bubbles under the skin
- An itching or burning sensation or pain where you’ve applied the cream
For a complete list of potential side effects of this product, including those that are specific to the condition you are treating, please read the patient information leaflet included with your medication. If you experience these or any other side effects you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist. If any of your side effects are severe (for example, a severe allergic reaction) you should stop using this medication and seek immediate medical assistance. For more information about reporting the side effects of medication, please see the MHRA’s Yellow Card Scheme.
Do I need a prescription for Aldara?
You do need a prescription for Aldara in the UK. Our healthcare professionals can provide prescriptions if they think this treatment would be right for you and your condition. When you click the button which reads “Start Consultation” at the top of this page, you’ll see a short questionnaire set up by our healthcare team which is designed to help them understand your medical needs. Just like an in-person consultation with your GP, our doctors will assess your answers to their questions and write a prescription for the treatment they think will be best for you. You’ll then be able to pay for your medication and we’ll send it out to you quickly and in discreet packaging.
How to store this product
Store in a cool, dry place which is below 25 degrees C. Do not use this product if the expiry date printed on the original packaging has passed. Once opened, use each sachet right away and do not re-use opened sachets. Keep out of sight and reach of children.
This product is a medicine; make sure to speak to your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist before taking this product if you have an underlying medical problem or are taking any other medicine or complementary therapy. If your symptoms get worse or continue after taking this product, contact us or your doctor. For medical services in your area, please refer to https://www.nhs.uk
If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor or our pharmacist before taking this product. If you suffer from any allergies, ask your doctor or our pharmacist if this medicine is right for you.
Store all medicines out of sight and reach of children.
Please read the included leaflet carefully before using this product.
Please contact your GP if appropriate regarding this product.
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The active substance is imiquimod. Each sachet contains 250 mg cream (100 mg cream contains 5 mg imiquimod).
The other ingredients are isostearic acid, benzyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, white soft paraffin, polysorbate 60, sorbitan stearate, glycerol, methyl hydroxybenzoate (E 218), propyl hydroxybenzoate (E 216), xanthan gum, purified water.
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