Imiquimod cream is often used to treat a number of skin conditions, including genital warts and a number of cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanomas, and a number of others. Usually surgery will be used to treat cancers, but in some cases Imiquimod cream may be prescribed. The cream has shown itself to be particularly effective on stubborn warts when other treatments have failed.
In some cases the cream can be used to enhance the growth of certain lesions, making them more susceptible to an attack from the patient’s own immune system, when this happens it can prove very effective. Imiquimod cream is prescribed in two strengths, 3.75% and 5%, and neither should be prescribed for long term use. Doctors will generally start the patient on the weaker concentration, although it depends on how developed the problem is.
The earlier skin conditions are discovered and treated with this cream, the better the results. It will have only a small effect, if any, on late stage skin cancers. You are always advised to wash your hands straight after application, or apply it with disposable gloves.
Imiquimod does have a number of well-known side effects, which is why it is not recommended for long term use. It can cause inflammation of the skin in the treated area, especially in the case of molluscum and warts, usually because the skin has been broken due to scratching. If it is being used for skin cancers then it can cause problems with skin dryness, blisters and discomfort. Patients may end up with a black crust over some skin cancers when using this treatment.
If you are prescribed this cream, then use it exactly as directed. It is a powerful medication that can damage the skin if used incorrectly. Never use it for anything other than what it was prescribed for.