Aldara is a cream treatment that is available on prescription to treat outbreaks of genital warts. It is also known as imiquimod and is able to stimulate the natural immune defences of the body to fight more effectively against the human papilloma virus that causes the warts. Though it is not a cure for genital warts, Aldara cream can reduce the duration of an outbreak and alleviate associated discomfort. This treatment is MHRA-approved and has a low risk of side effects.

How does this medication work?

The active ingredient in Aldara cream, imiquimod, acts as a stimulant to the body’s natural defences. It does this, it is believed, by binding itself to the relevant immune cells, triggering the release of cytokines. Cytokines are defence chemicals which assist the immune system in their fight against viral infections. They do this by stopping the viral cells from multiplying so the infection cannot grow and spread. The cream targets the HPV virus specifically, which in turn helps to treat the outbreak of genital warts.

How do you use Aldara cream?

Aldara cream has the benefit of being very easy to use, as it only needs to be applied directly to the affected area three times a week. You will need to rub the cream in a thin layer over any external warts until it is no longer visible. The cream should be left for between six and ten hours, after which time the area should be washed gently with non-abrasive soap. It is recommended that the cream is applied at night.

Are there any side effects?

Aldara cream is a prescription treatment with only a small risk of side effects. If they do arise they are usually very mild and occur in the form of skin irritation at the application site. It is also possible that you may experience flu-like symptoms, a sore throat, muscle pain, nausea or backache. If you are concerned about any side effect for any reason you should contact your doctor for advice.