Aldara® is a topical cream used for the treatment of external genital and perianal warts.
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How Does Aldara Work?
External genital and perianal warts are cause by a virus called Human Papilloma Virus. These wart-like growths are oftentimes referred to as condyloma acuminata. While Aldara itself has not been demonstrated to have any of its own antiviral activity, Aldara cream is an immune response modifier that stimulates the body's own immune response system and helps the body fight this virus. It may do this via the induction of cytokines like alpha-interferon. Alpha-interferon is a complex compound normally produced by the human body that does have potent antiviral activity.
How Effective Is Aldara?
In a large clinical trial 50% of patients had complete clearing of their warts. The mean time to complete wart clearing was 10 weeks.
How Quickly Does Aldara Work?
Aldara cream can effectively clear genital warts as quickly as 4 weeks, although the average time to healing is 10 weeks and may take as long as 16 weeks. Results vary from person to person.
How Do I Use Aldara Cream?
- Wash hands and open a new packet of Aldara cream just before bedtime.
- Apply a thin layer of cream on the wart(s).
- Rub the cream in until it vanishes.
- Discard the open packet and wash hands.
- Leave the cream on the wart(s) for 6 to 10 hours.
- After 6 to 10 hours, wash the area where Aldara cream was applied with mild soap and water.
When Should I Use Aldara Cream?
Typically, dosing is once a day, 3 days a week:
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
Apply Aldara cream at bedtime, after bathing, so you do not wash off the cream. Treatment with Aldara cream should continue until the warts are completely gone, or up to 16 weeks.
Can I Have Sex While Using Aldara Cream?
Sexual contact should be avoided while the cream is on the skin. If you decide to have sexual relations, apply Aldara cream after - not before - sexual activity. If you have already applied the cream, it should be washed off before sexual activity. In addition, Aldara cream may weaken condoms and diaphragms; therefore the cream should not be left on during sexual activity. The effect of Aldara cream on the transmission of genital warts is unknown.
Aldara cream doesn't destroy healthy skin. Most people who use Aldara cream don't complain of pain. One of the most common side effects is redness. This may be a sign that your immune system is working. Other common side effects are peeling of the skin, itching, flaking, and swelling around the warts.
Important Additional Information
Because Aldara cream doesn't cure Human Papilloma Virus, the cause of genital and perianal warts, new warts may form during treatment.
Aldara cream may weaken condoms and diaphragms, so sexual contact should be avoided while the cream is on the skin.
How Aldara cream affects the spread of genital warts to a partner is not known.
A woman who is or becomes pregnant while using Aldara cream should notify her health care provider immediately.
Do not use Aldara to treat internal (inside the vagina or anus) warts.
Skin color changes to the application site have also been reported.
Do not cover warts with bandages or other closed dressings.
Avoid using overly large amounts of cream.
A thin layer that completely covers each wart is enough.