Imiquimod AldaraGive a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.UU
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This site is not affiliated with nor sanctioned by 3M Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Aldara® - 5% imiquimod cream.

Aldara Cream

Aldara® Cream is a controversial prescription skin cream manufactured by 3M Pharmaceuticals that is used to treat skin cancers and warts on the genitals or skin. It is not used on warts inside the vagina, penis, or rectum. It helps to relieve and control wart production, not by directly fighting the viruses that cause warts, but rather by modifying the body's immune system. This medication does not cure warts. New warts can appear, even during treatment.

How it Works

The active ingredient in Aldara is Imiquimod which activates the body's immune response through the Toll-like receptor. [Hemmi, H., et al. Small anti-viral compounds activate immune cells via the TLR7 MyD88-dependent signaling pathway. Nat Immunol.. 2002 3(2):196-200.] Imiquimod disrupts the cytokine activity and simultaneously attacks the body's mucus membrane tissues. Cytokines are important for proper immune system response and any disruption might lead to autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

The Controversy

Some users of Aldara are reporting unforeseen long term effects that can be deadly.

One man, Richard Beasley reports that his use of Aldara for less than a month lead to substantial health issues. He writes:

"Today, over four years later, I now have (for 24 hours a day) dry-eyes, stomach pains, deteriorating hearing loss, Fibromyalgia, Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, headaches, lesions in my mouth and scalp, unbearable joint and muscle pains all over, fatigue, excruciating headaches, eye pains and blurred vision events, and highly increased rate of skin cancers." [Reference]

He sued 3M Pharmaceuticals in 2002, settling out of court just weeks before the case went to trial. He then created a website to inform the world of the hazards of Aldara. [Richard's Website]

A woman, Elaine Hollingsworth, reports that Aldara caused her to go into anaphylactic shock. She writes,

"I foolishly used Aldara, and it didn't kill my skin cancer, but it nearly killed me, leaving me with a damaged immune system." [Townsend Letter Article by Elaine Hollingsworth]

She, too, has created a website sharing her experiences with Aldara. [DoctorsAreDangerous]

Side Effects Of Aldara

How to Use Aldara:

Aldara comes as a cream to be applied to the skin in single-dose envelopes.

Wash your hands before and after applying Aldara.

Rub the cream into the skin until no more cream is visible. Do not bandage the area, but instead leave it open to the air. Aldara should remain on the skin for 6 to 10 hours before washing it off with mild soap and water. Follow the label's directions carefully. Discuss any questions or issues with your physician or pharmacist.

Use Aldara exactly as directed. Do not alter the dose or frequency of use.

Special Precautions:

Before Use:

  • Tell your physician and pharmacist if you are allergic to any drugs.
  • Tell your physician and pharmacist about any other health issues and any other medications you take, including vitamins.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant or breast feeding.

Missed Applications:

If you have missed a does, apply Aldara just before going to bed, later that day. Do not apply a double dose. Restart the every-other-day schedule, for example Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, depending on when you resume treatment.

Reported Side Effects:

Tell your physician or health care provider if any of these symptoms are severe or remain:

  • change in skin color
  • swelling or pain where Aldara was applied
  • flaking of the skin
  • redness, burning, or itching of the skin
  • blisters, bumps, or scabs on the skin
  • fever
  • fungal infection
  • muscle pain or weakness
  • headache
  • flu-like symptoms


  • Keep out of the reach of children
  • Store at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom.
  • Keep in the container it came in, tightly closed.
  • Throw away any outdated medication or any medication that is no longer needed.
  • Ask your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

Additional Information:

Be sure to keep all appointments with your physician. Use Aldara externally only, and avoid applying near any cuts or lesions. Aldara may weaken condoms or diaphragms. Avoid sexual contact while the cream is on your skin.

Do not dress or apply bandages, lotions, cosmetics, or other skin medications to the area without express instruction from your doctor.

Do not share your medication with anyone else. Ask your pharmacist about refills. Tell your doctor if your condition does not clear up quickly.

Aldara is sometimes prescribed for other reasons. Ask your physician or pharmacist for more information.

Coming Soon

Share your questions, and see the answers at our Community Health Forum. Coming Soon.


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3M Company, (3M Pharmaceuticals) does not endorse, review, nor approve the contents on this page; nor do they accept legal recourse on any unapproved material. The information published on this website is for entertainment purposes only and is in no way intended to dispense medical advice or to be a substitute for professional medical care, be it advice, diagnosis or treatment, by a medical professional. If you feel ill or have a medical issue, you should consult a health care professional.
Aldara® is a registered trademark of 3M Company, (3M)

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