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What Are Some Common Reactions to Imiquimod?

Common Side Effects

Imiquimod has been studied extensively in clinical trials. In these studies, the side effects that occurred in a group of people using imiquimod were documented and compared to those that occurred in another group of people using a similar cream that did not contain any active ingredients (a placebo). As a result, it was possible to see what side effects occurred, how often they appeared, and how they compared to the placebo.
 
In these studies, the most common imiquimod side effects were skin reactions. Some of the most common skin reactions included:
 
  • Redness -- in up to 96 percent to 100 percent of people
  • Flaking, scaling, or dryness -- up to 91 percent to 93 percent
  • Skin hardening or lumps -- up to 84 percent
  • Scabbing or crusting -- up to 83 percent to 93 percent
  • Swelling -- up to 75 percent to 78 percent
  • Erosion or ulceration (open sores) -- up to 62 percent to 66 percent
  • Itching -- up to 32 percent
  • Fluid-filled bumps -- up to 31 percent
  • Oozing -- up to 22 percent to 51 percent.
 
These side effects are normal and expected, and do not necessarily mean a person is allergic to imiquimod. In some cases, however, these side effects are so severe that treatment must be stopped temporarily to allow the skin to heal.
 
(Click Aldara Side Effects or Zyclara Side Effects for more detailed information, including side effects that are unrelated to the skin.)
 

Final Thoughts

You may experience some or none of the side effects listed in this article. Unfortunately, there is no way for your healthcare provider to know beforehand if you will have problems with a medicine that you have never tried.
 
Therefore, make sure to let your healthcare provider know if you develop any side effects while using imiquimod or if something "just does not seem right." While it may not be related to the medication, your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose and treat the problem.
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