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Imiquimod is used to treat skin diseases such as actinic keratosis (rough, flat scaly skin patch caused by excessive sun exposure on the face or scalp), skin cell cancer on trunk, neck or extremities and warts on surface of genitals and anal area (condyloma acuminata).

How it works

Imiquimod belongs to a class of medications called immunomodulators. It works by enhancing the immune response of the body and activates the natural killer cells causing death of the tumour cells.

Common side effects

Edema, Pain, Permanent hyperpigmentation, Permanent hypopigmentation, Abnormal skin pigmentation, Altered heart rate, Application site reaction, Application site irritation, Diarrhoea, Dizziness, Skin redness, Excoriation, Fatigue, Hair loss, Headache, Itching, Scaling of skin, Skin erosion, Skin flakes, Scab, Ulcer, Upper respiratory tract infection, Urinary tract infection, Viral infection, Vomiting, Skin inflammation


Expert advice

  • Inform you doctor if you have or ever had unusual sensitivity to sunlight, any skin disease such as psoriasis, graft vs. host disease, recent surgery to the affected area, any other type of skin cancer,  any condition that affects the immune system (such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), Human Papilloma virus (HPV) infection.
  • Do not cover the treated area with bandages or dressings.
  • Avoid contact with vagina, eyes, nose, mouth, lips and exposure to sunlight. Women should take special care when applying cream at the opening of the vagina. 
  • Do not administrate imiquimod until the wound is completely healed from any previous drug or surgical treatment and also on normal or inflamed skin and open wounds.
  • Caution should be exercised if you have autoimmune disorder, broken, damaged or inflamed skin.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Do not take if Patients is allergic to imiquimod or any of its ingredients.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is imiquimod a steroid and is it over the counter medicine?
Imiquimod is non-steroidal topical cream and it is not sold over the counter.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)