Aldara is a commonly prescribed medicine for the treatment of genital warts. As a topical cream designed to be applied directly to the warts themselves, this antiviral treatment acts locally on the affected area. Produced by the pharmaceutical company Meda Pharmaceuticals, Aldara is based on the active ingredient called imiquimod which was first approved for medical use back in 1997.
With very limited side effects, this simple to use topical cream can be used for up to 16 weeks at the time and as such, it is exceptionally suitable for the treatment of very persistent cases of genital warts. More details regarding Aldara will be considered bellow, but before diving into the specifics, we will provide you with a quick overview of genital warts.
What’s on this page?
Genital warts: A short overview of human papillomavirus
Human papillomavirus or HPV for short is a sexually transmitted viral infection that is characterised by nodules and warts appearing in the genital area. This condition can be transmitted from one person to another through different intimate contacts, including penetrative and non-penetrative sexual intercourse (skin-to-skin contact). While it is not as present in the media narratives and public attention, genital warts are relatively common in the UK with roughly 62.000 new cases being reported annually.
However, in a significant portion of those affected, symptoms of HPV infection can be absent, or appear with a significant delay. As it can be passed just through skin-to-skin contact, using proper precautions and barrier contraceptive is absolutely vital for stopping the spread of genital warts.
Genital warts treatment
There are a couple of genital warts medicines currently available on the market. Aldara doesn’t belong to what we could call first-line treatments, but is usually prescribed if other medicines have proven to be insufficient. The active ingredient of Aldara, imiquimod, works by enhancing the efficiency of the body’s immune system. It achieves this by attaching to skin cells in the affected area and stimulating them to release a naturally produced compound, a protein called cytokines. This compound plays a crucial role in eliminating and disrupting the growth of the infected cells, causing them to die off and be subsequently replaced by healthy skin tissue. It is important to note that this mechanism of action will not cure the virus – it’s not sure that it will even send it to dormancy, but it will alleviate the symptoms, providing relief from the immediate symptoms and healing the affected areas of skin.
What should I do if I have genital warts?
If this is the first time you have a genital warts outbreak, then it is highly advisable to contact a doctor in person – either your general practitioner or a local GUM or STI clinic. This condition can easily be diagnosed through simple visual examination of the affected area so if the symptoms have already manifested, an STI test might not be necessary. On the other hand, if you only suspect you might have been exposed to HPV, taking a test is still a must.
Once your diagnosis has been confirmed, you can obtain the prescribed treatment either the conventional way – by taking a prescription from a doctor and taking it to the pharmacy where you will use it to buy your HPV treatment or alternatively, you can buy Aldara online through an online clinic. This can be done very easily, by simply contacting a doctor through the on-site add-on. You will be presented with a customized medical questionnaire which the doctor will use to assess your condition and determine whether your preferred treatment is suitable for you.
If everything is in order, the prescription be issued and used that very moment to order a medicine and send it to your address in a plain, discreet packaging.
Imiquimod – the active ingredient of Aldara
The secret to effectiveness and success of Aldara lies at its active ingredient, imiquimod. It first appeared on the markets in 1997 when it was at the forefront of immunomodulator treatments. With a mechanism of action somewhat different than other commonly prescribed genital warts treatments, Aldara is typically used in those instances where other products failed to produce the desired results.
Imiquimod achieves its goal by bonding to certain cells in the skin, facilitating the release of specific naturally-produced compunds, alpha interferon and a protein called cytokine. In this way, imiquimod contributes to inhibiting the growth of infected cells, eventually causing them to die out while being replaced by healthy skin cells. Although it will not cure the virus entirely, Aldara will eliminate the visible symptoms.
How is Aldara used?
Aldara is very simple and easy to use. Since it is a topical cream that is applied directly to the warts themselves, treatment with Aldara is no rocket science. However, despite this, it is still important to precisely follow the instructions provided by your doctor or pharmacist. In addition to this, official patient information leaflet can also provide you with valuable information on using Aldara efficiently.
- Always use as prescribed
- One-week cycle includes applying treatment before bedtime on three alternate days
- Repeated courses can be recommended by doctor if the symptoms are persistent
- The maximum duration of the treatment is 16 weeks
- Wash your hands before use and make sure the application site is clean and dry
- Use a new sachet each time you apply a dose
- Squeeze the appropriate amount of cream onto your fingertip
- Apply a thin layer onto the affected area and rub it in
- Do not wash the affected area for 6 to 10 hours after using the cream
- Afterwards, wash with soap and water
- Never exceed the prescribed dose
Aldara side effects
As mentioned, Aldara is a very safe genital warts treatment with only a small percentage of those using it experiencing any side effects. However, this doesn’t mean that adverse effects haven’t been documented in some cases. These include:
|Frequency of occurrence||Side effects|
|Common (1 in 10 users)
|Redness, burning sensation, damage to the skin (wearing away, hardening, crusting, flaking or swelling)|
|Uncommon (1 in 100 users)
|Headache, general malaise, ED, increased perspiration, nausea, migraine, loss of appetite, flushing, insomnia, swollen glands|
|Rare (1 in 1000 users)
|Difficulty passing urine|
Is it safe for me to use Aldara?
There are some cases when Aldara use might be contraindicated, but these situations are relatively rare. As opposed to many other medicines, Aldara doesn’t have any known adverse interactions with other medicines. However, it would still be beneficial to inform your prescriber about other treatments you might be using at the same moment.
However, there are some health conditions which might make Aldara use unsafe. These include:
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Actinic keratosis
Finally, use of Aldara during pregnancy or while breastfeeding might not be recommended in all cases, but in order to get the most precise info on this question, be sure to contact your doctor or a pharmacist.