Skin Home > Imiquimod Side Effects

It is common for people to develop some type of skin reaction while using imiquimod. Side effects that occurred most frequently during clinical trials on the drug included redness, dryness, and crusting of the skin. Although serious reactions are uncommon, seek medical attention if you develop potentially serious problems like fever, difficulty passing urine, or problems breathing.

An Introduction to Side Effects of Imiquimod

Just like any medicine, imiquimod (Aldara®, Zyclara®) can cause side effects. In fact, most people who use the medication will develop some sort of skin reaction. Sometimes, these reactions can be quite severe. However, serious side effects unrelated to the skin are uncommon.
Although almost all people using this medication will develop some sort of skin reaction to the product, most of these reactions are minor.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with imiquimod. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Imiquimod Side Effects to Report

Some side effects of imiquimod are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as:
    • Fatigue
    • Nausea
    • Fever
    • General ill feeling
    • Joint pain
    • Muscle pain
    • Chills
  • Severe vulvar swelling (in females using the drug to treat genital warts), possibly causing difficulty passing urine
  • Severe skin reactions
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling of the mouth or throat
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
Imiquimod is not particularly likely to cause allergic reactions, although allergic reactions are possible with just about any medication. Most of the skin reactions to imiquimod are not allergic reactions, but are normal and expected side effects.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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