Imiquimod: What to tell your dermatologist

Imiquimod treats many patients safely and effectively, but it is not right for everyone. If your dermatologist mentions imiquimod as a possible treatment, be sure to tell your dermatologist if you have:

  • A disease that affects your immune system, such as HIV, AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriasis, or graft vs. host disease.
  • Allergies. 
  • Treated this skin condition in the past and what treatment you used.

If your dermatologist prescribes imiquimod, tell your dermatologist if you cannot return for follow-up appointments.

You also should tell your dermatologist if you take:

  • Any medicine (including ones you buy without a prescription, such as aspirin).
  • Vitamins.
  • Minerals.
  • Herbal supplements.

Talk with your dermatologist about concerns

If you have any concerns about using imiquimod, you should tell your dermatologist. Dermatologists have been prescribing this medicine for years. In fact, dermatologists led many of the clinical trials for imiquimod. This makes dermatologists very familiar with the medicine and knowledgeable about whom it can help.

Before talking about concerns, it may be helpful to know the advantages and disadvantages of using this medicine, which are shown below.

Imiquimod has advantages and disadvantages

Advantages

  • Well tolerated
  • Non-invasive
  • Excellent to good cosmetic results
  • Can clear AKs not yet visible, causing them to appear and clear
  • Little scarring
  • No skin discoloration
  • Good option for treating face, when difficult to perform more-invasive treatment
  • No patient downtime 

Disadvantages

  • Irritation usually develops on treated skin —redness, flaking, and scabbing typical
  • Not effective for all patients
  • Patient must apply medication as directed
  • Longer treatment time
  • Cost 

 
Dermatologists continue to lead research studies that look at how imiquimod can help improve the lives of their patients.

Learn more about imiquimod:

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