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    Aldara wart treatment cream

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    What is Aldara (Imiquimod) cream?

    Aldara wart cream is a prescription-only treatment for hard or soft genital warts or external warts in and around the anus. The cream contains the active ingredient imiquimod, which helps your immune system to destroy the warts. It also helps to relief any pain or discomfort. 

    Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), they can be passed on during vaginal and anal sex as well as sharing sex toys. Many people can pass on the virus when they don’t have visible genital warts.

    How does Aldara cream work?

    The active ingredient in Aldara cream (imiquimod) stimulates your body's immune system. This helps your body to destroy both hard and soft warts in the affected area. 

    Using Aldara wart treatment cream

    Apply Aldara wart cream 3 times each week. For example, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The cream must be rubbed in and left for 6-10 hours, so using it before bed is suggested. Use for up to 16 weeks at a time.

    How to apply Aldara cream

    To apply:

    1. Wash your hands and the treatment area with mild soap and water.
    2. Dry thoroughly.
    3. Open a sachet of cream and squeeze some onto your fingertip.
    4. Dab a thin layer of Aldara cream onto the wart area. Rub gently into the skin until the cream disappears.
    5. Once all warts have been treated, throw away the open sachet and wash your hands – do not keep a sachet to use again
    6. Leave Aldara cream on the warts for 6-10 hours. Do not shower or wash during this time. 

    How effective is Aldara wart treatment?

    Most people find their warts disappear after 12 weeks. However, some people will need to apply the cream for longer. It is unlikely that the warts will reappear after treatment.

    For Aldara to be effective it must be used as prescribed. 

    Side effects of Aldara wart treatment

    There are some side effects associated with using Aldara. These can include: 

    • Skin irritation
    • Rash
    • Soreness
    • Ulceration around the areas where you apply the cream 

    Rarely, you may experience flu-like symptoms.

    For full information on side effects and correct use, see the patient information leaflet. If any side effects concern you, contact us via your Patient Record.

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      Aldara wart treatment FAQs

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      How long does Aldara take to remove warts?

      Warts usually shrink and disappear within 1 to 4 months of using treatment. You’ll need to use the cream as instructed until all the warts have gone.

      Genital warts can’t be cured, so you’ll need to treat each new outbreak.

      Can I buy Aldara cream over the counter?

      Aldara cream is a prescription only treatment. It’s not available to buy over the counter. One of our clinicians can prescribe Aldara for you, if suitable.

      When should you not use Aldara cream?

      You shouldn’t use Aldara cream if:

      • You have open sores; you should wait for these to heal.
      • You have internal warts. Do not apply the cream internally.
      • You have issues with your immune system because of an illness (HIV) or medication. Let our clinicians know about any conditions or medication when requesting treatment.  

      Aldara cream can weaken condoms and diaphragms, so you may need to use additional contraception if you’re having sex. It’s recommended that you don’t have vaginal or oral sex until the warts have gone.  

      Do warts come back after Aldara?

      Genital warts can’t be cured, only managed with treatment. It’s unlikely that they will reappear after using Aldara, however when your immune system is under stress you may have an outbreak.  

      Important information about Aldara wart treatment

      The virus that causes genital warts can be passed on during sex. Aldara cream may make latex condoms and diaphragms weaker, increasing the risk that they will break. If you still plan to be sexually active while you still have warts, you should apply Aldara cream after sex, not before, and use condoms.

      Please inform us of all medical conditions in your questionnaire. If you are HIV positive or pregnant, this could affect how suitable Aldara is for you. 

      Can you take other medicines whilst using Aldara wart cream?

      You should be able to use Aldara cream alongside other medicines. However, it is important that you let us know which prescription, over-the-counter medicines and recreational drugs you are taking so that we can prescribe Aldara cream safely.

      Alternative treatments

      If your genital warts are soft to the touch, we can prescribe you Warticon wart cream (containing podophyllotoxin). This is an effective treatment for soft warts.

      Other stronger creams may contain the active ingredient trichloroacetic acid (TCA). These can only be administered by a medical professional as it can cause physical damage and pain if incorrectly applied.

      In some cases, having warts physically removed may be appropriate, either through laser surgery, excision, electrosurgery or cryotherapy. 

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      Wart treatments comparison

      Name Warticon wart treatment Aldara wart treatment cream
      Works best on Small fleshy warts Larger warts
      How long it takes to work Up to 4 weeks Up to 16 weeks
      How it works Physically burns off the wart Helps your body’s immune system fight the warts
      Effectiveness Warts may return Warts less likely to return

      How our service works

      1. Complete our simple, confidential online consultation

        5 mins

      2. One of our clinicians confirms your suitability and notifies you by email

        About 30 mins (Mon-Sun 9am-5pm)

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        Next day delivery

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