Aldara 5% Cream

  • Used to treat Genital Warts
  • Helps to kill the cells within warts preventing it from spreading
  • Typically clears genital warts in 8 weeks
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About Aldara 5% Cream
  1. What is Aldara?

    Aldara is a cream for both men and women. It is the brand name for imiquimod, which is the active ingredient contained in the cream. Aldara is an immune response modifier.

    This cream is prescribed to treat genital and external anal warts. Each box of Aldara contains 12 sachets of cream, which equates to four weeks’ worth of treatment. It should be applied three times a week. 

    You must have a prescription to buy Aldara cream.

    What is Aldara used to treat?

    Aldara cream is commonly used in the treatment of genital warts. Using this cream makes it less likely that the problem will reoccur.

    Genital warts are small growths and bumps around your genitals or anus. They are quite a common and mostly harmless sexually transmitted infection (STI) or viral infection created by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

    Why is Aldara cream recommended for treating genital warts?

    Aldara's active ingredient, imiquimod, has been clinically tested and found to be a safe and effective treatment for genital warts in both men and women

    Aldara can be used for both genital and anal warts. Aside from treating the warts, this cream can also help to relieve any pain or discomfort they may cause.

    How does Aldara work?

    Aldara cream is an immune response modifier that works to eliminate the human papillomavirus (HPV) by helping the body to create defence mechanisms of its own. This helps your body to fight the virus by itself by producing cytokines, which prevent the virus's cells from multiplying and spreading the infection.

    Thanks to the imiquimod contained in the cream, your immune system will release chemicals that can kill the virus. This should help to eradicate your warts and reduce the likelihood of them returning in the future.

    Who can use Aldara?

    You should inform your doctor before you start to use Aldara if:

    • You are HIV positive
    • You are currently being treated for basal cell carcinoma or keratosis

    This cream is only suitable to be used by adults; it should not be given to children or adolescents.

    Make sure you read the patient information leaflet for full details on who this treatment is not suitable for.

    Can you buy Aldara cream over the counter?

    No, you must have been prescribed Aldara Cream to be able to purchase it.

    Can you buy Aldara cream online in the UK?

    To buy Aldara cream online in the UK, you should only order it from a regulated UK pharmacy, like Medicine Direct. This will ensure your medication is genuine and safe to use. We are a fully registered pharmacy, find out more on our About Us page.

    As Aldara cream is a prescription-only medicine (POM), you will need to complete an online consultation before you can order it from our pharmacy. All you have to do is answer some questions about your medical history and condition. These answers will be reviewed by one of our doctors, pharmacists or prescribers to make sure that Aldara is suitable for you.

    Next day delivery is available if you order by 2pm.

    Aldara cream alternatives

    Several genital wart treatments are available to order from Medicine Direct. As this can be an embarrassing condition to cope with, the discretion that comes from ordering your medicine online has provided peace of mind to many.

    Warticon is a widely prescribed medication for the treatment of external genital warts. Warticon comes as either a cream or solution. While both contain the same active ingredient and work in the same way, women generally find that the cream makes for a more convenient treatment. At the same time, men may find that the solution (which comes with an applicator) is easier for them to treat their genital warts.

    Condyline also contains the same active ingredient as Warticon (a plant extract called podophyllotoxin, which is an antiviral).

  2. Aldara Dosage

    Our prescribers follow NICE guidelines when prescribing Aldara Cream.

    Use Aldara three times a week, such as on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Keep applying the cream until your genital warts have cleared completely.

    Do not use Aldara for longer than 16 weeks for each outbreak.

    How to use Aldara cream

    Always read the patient information leaflet for comprehensive instructions before you start using a new medicine.

    Use Aldara cream exactly as you have been told by your doctor.

    Always use a new sachet each time you apply the cream. Carefully dispose of any remaining cream after each application, do not save it for the next application.

    Apply it before going to bed

    1. Before you go to bed, wash your hands and the affected area with water and a mild soap. Dry the area thoroughly.
    2. Open a new sachet of Aldara cream and squeeze some of the cream onto your fingertip.
    3. Using your fingertip, apply a thin layer of cream onto the affected area. Rub it in gently until the cream has been absorbed.
    4. Once you have applied Aldara, throw away the sachet and wash your hands with soap and water.
    5. Allow the cream to stay on the warts for between 6 and 10 hours. Do not wash the skin during this length of time.
    6. After 6 to 10 hours, wash the affected area with a mild soap and water.
  3. Aldara Side Effects

    As with all medications, Aldara can cause side effects, although not everyone will suffer from them.

    Some side effects will only last for a short time. Below is a list of very common reactions that will normally stop about 2 weeks after you have completed your treatment:

    • Wearing away of the skin
    • Flakiness or swelling
    • Hardening of the skin
    • Small open sores (a crust may form during healing, as may small bubbles under the skin)
    • Itching or a burning sensation
    • Pain in the applied areas

    Speak to your doctor if you become worried or any of these symptoms do not go away.

    Other side effects include:

    • Headaches
    • Flu-like symptoms (fever, joint or muscle pain)
    • Pain during intercourse for females
    • Erectile dysfunction
    • Feeling sick
    • Depression
    • Loss of appetite
    • Insomnia
    • Pins and needles
    • Migraines
    • Swollen glands
    • Bacterial, viral of fungal infection
    • Vaginal infections including thrush
    • Coughs, colds and a sore throat
    • Ringing of the ears
    • Stomach and bowel problems
    • Increase in sweating

    In rare cases, you may experience:

    • Painful skin reactions at the opening of the vagina, making it difficult to urinate

    If you experience any of these, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

    This list is not exhaustive, always refer to the patient information leaflet for a comprehensive list of side effects.

  4. Aldara Warnings and Drug Interactions

    You should always inform your doctor of any other medicines you are already taking before starting a new course of treatment for any condition. This includes both prescription and non-prescription medication, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements.

    Always read the patient information leaflet to see if there are any specific drugs that can interact with Aldara.

    Pregnancy and breastfeeding

    It has not been proven one way or another as to whether Aldara is harmful to unborn babies. You should make sure your doctor is aware if you are currently pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant.

    If you become pregnant during the course of treatment, you should also inform your doctor.

    Aldara cream is not recommended to be used by women who are currently breastfeeding. It is not known whether this medication can be passed onto your baby through your breast milk and potentially harm it.

  5. Aldara Ingredients

    The main active ingredient within this medicine is: Imiquimod

    For a full list of the inactive ingredients, please read the Summary of Product Characteristics.

  6. How much does it cost to buy Aldara cream online in the UK?

    Quantity Buy Online UK Price
    12 sachets £74.99
    24 sachets £129.99
  7. How long does Aldara cream take to work?

    On average, women will require around 8 weeks of treatment before their warts have cleared. Men will likely need 12 weeks. However, some patients see results in as little as 4 weeks. It is important you are consistent while using Aldara, as this will provide the most effective treatment. Do not use the cream for more than 16 weeks.

    Can I use Aldara every day?

    You should only use Aldara cream three times a week. Using too much of this cream could result in severe skin reactions.

    Will Aldara cure HPV?

    Aldara’s active ingredient, imiquimod, helps the immune system to fight the viruses that cause warts. However, it will not eradicate the virus from your system as you can still be infected with HPV.

    Can I use Aldara to treat internal warts?

    No, Aldara should not be applied internally. If you have any internal warts, you should talk to your doctor, who will be able to advise on the best course of treatment.

    Is it okay to have sex while using Aldara?

    Genital warts are caused by HPV, which is highly contagious and can be passed on during sex, even if you wear a condom. For this reason, you are advised to avoid sex until your genital warts have cleared.

    What happens if I leave Aldara on for too long?

    If you leave Aldara on for longer than the 6 to 10 hours recommended time, this may result in irritation or a reaction of the skin.

    How do I know if Aldara is working?

    Aldara may trigger swelling, tenderness, itching, redness and inflammation to the area it has been applied to. This reaction is a good indication that your body is trying to fight against the infection. If you are applying Aldara but are not experiencing any reaction, it is likely that Aldara will be ineffective. 

    When should I stop using Aldara?

    You should not use Aldara for more than 16 weeks. If during this time your genital warts have not successfully cleared, it is likely that you will be prescribed an alternative treatment.

    Can Aldara cause herpes?

    No, herpes is a different condition altogether. However, the active ingredient in Aldara can cause the skin to become sore or irritated, which may cause symptoms that appear similar to genital herpes.

    What side effects will I experience when using Aldara?

    Aldara can cause redness, itching, swelling, inflammation and burning of the skin. This can also lead to developing scabs, dry, peeling or flaking skin on the affected area.

    How long does it take for Aldara scabs to heal?

    After you have finished your treatment, your skin should begin to settle back to normal within 4 to 12 weeks. Do not peel the scabs off as this can result in scarring, instead apply Vaseline to the scabs twice daily to allow them to naturally separate from the skin.
medically reviewed by Hussain Abdeh MPharm: 2211840

Updated on: 27/08/2021

This content has been written by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan

Hussain Abdeh Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Pharmacist Independent Prescriber

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