Imiquimod: A treatment for some skin cancers, genital warts
Imiquimod (ih-mih-kwih-mod) is a prescription medicine that you use at home. It comes in a cream that you apply to your skin. Your dermatologist may prescribe imiquimod to treat:
Actinic keratosis (AK)
Basal cell carcinoma (the earliest form of this skin cancer)
People with sun-damanged skin have a higher risk for developing actinic keratosis (AKs).
Sometimes, a dermatologist will prescribe imiquimod to treat another skin condition.
For your dermatologist to prescribe imiquimod, you must:
Be willing to apply the medicine as instructed
Return for follow-up appointments
Have a normally functioning immune system
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
Treated this skin condition in the past and what treatment you used
You also should tell your dermatologist if you take:
Any medicine (including ones you buy without a prescription, such as aspirin)
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.
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Dermatologists continue to lead research studies that look at how much imiquimod can help improve the lives of their patients.
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