Aldara belongs to a category of medications called immune response modifiers; in fact its generic name (non-brand name) is imiquimod. Doctors prescribe Aldara to patients with a kind of skin damage known as keratosis, which results from the face or scalp being overexposed to the sun. In addition Aldara can be used in the treatment of genital warts – it doesn’t get rid of these warts completely, but it does help to manage the situation – as well as in the treatment of superficial basal cell carcinoma, a non-life-threatening kind of skin cancer.
Aldara comes in the form of a cream. You apply this topical agent to the part of your body you are trying to heal in a layer that’s thin and even. First, however, you'll want to wash both your hands and the portion of your skin where the Aldara will go. When this skin has dried –let at least ten minutes go by – you can spread the cream on. Once you have applied the cream, you will rub it into your skin until it’s no longer visible. Then you should wash your hands once again. You’ll want to leave the area where you’ve rubbed in Aldara untouched for eight hours: in other words, don’t wash this part of your body until the eight hours have elapsed. For that reason, it’s probably best to put on Aldara at night before you go to sleep. Then, when you wake up, you can use a mild soap to wash it off. Generally speaking, Aldara is applied anywhere from twice a week to five times weekly, for a period that can last up to sixteen weeks. Just be sure you are following the instructions your doctor gives you precisely. Also, if you should cut, burn (this would include a sunburn) or otherwise damage the part of your skin where you are applying Aldara, contact your doctor immediately. Do not rub Aldara into any skin that is broken. And be careful not to get any of this topical medicine on the inner vaginal layers, which are very sensitive. Otherwise, this could lead to swelling or even urination that is painful.
Not everyone is eligible to use Aldara. The drug is only appropriate for people twelve years old and older. If you have a weak or compromised immune system, or any type of auto-immune deficiency, make sure your doctor knows about it before he or she prescribes Aldara to you. In that case, an alternate form of treatment may be used.
There are some important things to keep in mind during the period when you’re using Aldara. First, your skin will be extra sensitive to light, so you want to avoid tanning beds altogether and to make sure you take extra care when going out in the sun. Cover up with clothing as much as you can. You should also use a powerful sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher. (For most people, sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher suffices.) Do not engage in sexual activity when you have Aldara on your genitals; wait until you have washed this area off. Also be aware that Aldara can cause condoms or diaphragms to weaken, and so these prophylactics may not be enough to prevent a pregnancy if they are mixed with Aldara. Also be aware that Aldara does not cure genital warts or any other sexually transmitted diseases, and you will still be able to pass these conditions on to sexual partners even during the time when you are using Aldara. Nor will this medication serve as any kind of protection for you from sexually transmitted diseases, as some users of this drug mistakenly believe. And if you do become pregnant during the period of your Aldara usage, speak with your doctor before you apply the cream again. Medical researchers are not sure whether or not this medicine can do harm to a fetus.