Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Exposure to sunlight: You should avoid or minimize any exposure to sunlight (including sunlamps) and use protective clothing (such as long sleeves and a hat) during treatment with imiquimod cream due to an increased risk of sunburn. If you get a sunburn, stop using the medication until you are fully recovered.
Immunosuppressed individuals: The safety and effectiveness of imiquimod cream has not been determined for people with medical conditions that affect the immune system (e.g., HIV/AIDS, lupus, psoriasis) or for people who take medications that reduce the effectiveness of the immune system. If you have any condition affecting the immune system, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
New genital warts or actinic keratosis (AK) lesions: During treatment with imiquimod cream, new genital warts or AK lesions may develop, but may clear with treatment. Even though initial genital warts or AK lesions disappear with treatment, new lesions may develop in the future and will require further treatment. Keep in mind that genital warts and AK are considered chronic conditions, and imiquimod cream is not a cure.
Sexual contact: If you are applying this medication to the external genital area, avoid sexual contact while the cream is on your skin. The effect of this medication on the transmission of genital warts is unknown. Wash the medication off before sexual contact and reapply afterwards. This medication may weaken condoms and vaginal diaphragms; therefore, wash off this medication prior to using these barrier methods of birth control.
Skin colour changes: Some people using imiquimod cream notice that the area where the cream was applied has become lighter or darker. Sometimes the change in skin colour is permanent.
Skin conditions: This medication may worsen inflammatory skin conditions including a condition called chronic graft versus host disease.
Skin reactions: If you experience a severe skin reaction to this cream, wash the area with mild soap and water. Once the reaction has cleared, start using the cream again, unless your doctor has told you to stop using it.
Superficial basal cell skin cancer: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for basal cell skin cancer of the face, head, hands, feet, or anal and genital areas.
Uncircumcised men: If you use this medication to treat warts under the penis foreskin, you should pull back the foreskin and clean the area each morning.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if imiquimod passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children less than 18 years of age.