Aldara, also known as Imiquimod, is a medication for external warts around the genital and rectal areas, but it is never used on warts inside the vagina, penis,, or rectum. How it works is by helping the immune system protect the body from viruses that result in warts.  It is a topical treatment rubbed on the surface of the war; this stimulates the immune system to attack the cause of the growth which is the human papilloma virus or HPV. The class of drugs to which it belongs is called immune response modifiers or IRMs.  The exact process of action is not known but it is believed that aldara cream’s active ingredient binds immune cells in the skin causing them to release defense chemicals called cytokines. These cytokines go on attack mode and inhibit the replication of viral particles. Note that this medication can’t fight virus-causing warts directly but it helps control wart production and relieves it as well.

Actinic keratoses, a skin condition in the face and scalp can also be treated with Aldara. Its treatment capabilities can also extend to certain types of skin cancer called superficial basal cell carcinoma or sBCC.  It is not clear yet how aldara can help actinic keratoses or skin cancer.  One can only avail of aldara through a doctor’s prescription.

According to people who have tried the medication, the visible effects happen after two weeks when warts start to reduce in size.  Within a month, most warts have been cleared. The results vary among users from 2 weeks until 6 weeks for all warts to disappear. 

 Although there are side effects of itch, irritation and mild burning,   the overall result is positive.  The warts get inflamed and itchy, but this meant the medication was working according to the dermatologist,. Within a week of getting inflamed and itchy, the warts get scabbed up and started peeling off 

Some of the more severe side effects include chemical burns or intense burning sensation when instructions are not followed properly.  Aldara is so concentrated, it requires proper application.
Each one’s symptoms may be different based on the immune system’s response to the warts.

Aldara wart treatment cream’s efficacy with an 88.9% clear up rate was observed in children’s treatment of recalcitrant non-genital warts.  The cream was applied twice daily with a duration treatment of two to 12 months (Grussendorf-Conen El, Jacobs S. Efficacy of imiquimod 5% cream in the treatment of recalcitrant warts in children.  Pediatr Dermatol 2002; 19:263-6).

Ideally Aldara: cream is applied before bedtime right after taking a bath and after the affected area is dry. The cream is left on the wart for about 8 hours before washing it off.  Do not cover with a bandage unless directed by the doctor.  Cotton gauze can be used instead. Avoid tight-fitting clothes that may cause additional discomfort.

Aldara is a good alternative from the common practice of using liquid nitrogen treatment which hardly works. The biggest complaint about aldara is the price, as it costs over $400.

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