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Review: Imiquimod side effects

In this review, we analyze Imiquimod side effects by the time on the drug, gender and age (0-60+) of the people who have side effects while taking Imiquimod. The review is based on 137 people who have side effects while taking Imiquimod from FDA and social media, and is updated regularly.

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What is Imiquimod

Imiquimod (latest outcomes from 143 users) has active ingredients of imiquimod. It is often used in actinic keratosis.

Other drugs that have the same active ingredients (imiquimod): Aldara, Zyclara.

On Nov, 30, 2014: 137 people who reported to have side effects when taking Imiquimod are studied

 outcomes

Most common side effects over time * :

< 1 month1 - 6 months6 - 12 months1 - 2 years2 - 5 years5 - 10 years10+ yearsnot specified
Application Site PainApplication Site Painn/aUvulitis (inflammation of the uvula)n/an/an/aPyrexia (fever)
Nausea (feeling of having an urge to vomit)Application Site Pruritus (application site severe itching of the skin)Back Pain
Application Site Pruritus (application site severe itching of the skin)Gastric Ulcer Haemorrhage (bleeding ulcer of stomach)Dizziness
Application Site InflammationScab (a hard coating on the skin formed during the wound healing)Myalgia (muscle pain)
VomitingApplication Site Erythema (redness of the skin at application site)Malaise (a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness)
Salivary Gland PainPainAsthenia (weakness)
Application Site UlcerSkin Discolouration (change of skin colour)Erythema (redness of the skin)
Parotid Gland EnlargementApplication Site DischargeBasal Cell Carcinoma (a skin cancer, it rarely metastasizes or kills)
Neutrophil Count Decreased (less than normal number of neutrophil a type of blood cell)Rash (redness)Pain
Differential White Blood Cell Count AbnormalLip Ulceration (ulcer of lip)Neoplasm Malignant (cancer tumour)

Most common side effects by gender * :

FemaleMale
Application Site PainPyrexia (fever)
Nausea (feeling of having an urge to vomit)Pain
VomitingDizziness
Differential White Blood Cell Count AbnormalAsthenia (weakness)
Neutrophil Count Decreased (less than normal number of neutrophil a type of blood cell)Malaise (a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness)
Rash (redness)Back Pain
Application Site Pruritus (application site severe itching of the skin)Renal Tubular Necrosis (death of kidney tubules)
Application Site InflammationVomiting
Erythema (redness of the skin)Myalgia (muscle pain)
Infected Skin UlcerMulti-organ Failure (multisystem organ failure)

Most common side effects by age * :

0-12-910-1920-2930-3940-4950-5960+
n/aPyrexia (fever)Suicidal IdeationNeutrophil Count Decreased (less than normal number of neutrophil a type of blood cell)Papilloma Viral InfectionPyrexia (fever)Application Site PainScab (a hard coating on the skin formed during the wound healing)
SwellingMood Swings (an extreme or rapid change in mood)Differential White Blood Cell Count AbnormalSkin Lesion (redness)DizzinessInfected Skin UlcerPain
Neoplasm Skin (skin tumour)AggressionNausea (feeling of having an urge to vomit)Squamous Cell Carcinoma (a cancer of a kind of epithelial cell)Anuria (failure of the kidneys to produce urine)Application Site InflammationRash (redness)
Skin InjurySalivary Gland PainBowen's Disease (early stage of skin cancer)Asthenia (weakness)Dysuria (painful or difficult urination)Application Site Pain
Neoplasm Malignant (cancer tumour)Parotid Gland EnlargementPain Of SkinRenal Tubular Necrosis (death of kidney tubules)Application Site Pruritus (application site severe itching of the skin)Myalgia (muscle pain)
Disease ProgressionVomitingNail Growth AbnormalBack PainApplication Site UlcerPruritus (severe itching of the skin)
Nausea (feeling of having an urge to vomit)Multi-organ Failure (multisystem organ failure)Graft Versus Host Disease (the donated bone marrow or stem cells view the recipient's body as foreign, and the donated cells/bone marrow attack the body)Renal Failure Acute (rapid kidney dysfunction)HypersensitivityApplication Site Erythema (redness of the skin at application site)
VomitingPerirectal AbscessInfectionOropharyngeal PainHypotension (abnormally low blood pressure)Basal Cell Carcinoma (a skin cancer, it rarely metastasizes or kills)
Headache (pain in head)Clostridial Infection (infectious conditions by clostridium bacteria)Skin Papilloma (a general medical term for a tumour of the skin or mucous membrane with finger-like projections)Malaise (a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness)VomitingApplication Site Pruritus (application site severe itching of the skin)
Pseudomonal Sepsis (pseudomonas infections are diseases caused by a bacterium from the genus pseudomonas)Alopecia (absence of hair from areas of the body)Cytomegalovirus Colitis (an inflammation of the colon from virus)Erythema (redness of the skin)Pyrexia (fever)

* Some reports may have incomplete information.

Browse Imiquimod side effects from A to Z:

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Are you taking Imiquimod?

Comments from related studies:

  • From this study (4 months ago):

  • I used Aldara for a total of 4x applications over a period of approximately 1 week. I stopped treatment immediately after the fourth treatment due to soreness around my anus (which, I now gather would be due to the known effects of the cream on healthy skin and damage to the local mucous membrane).

    Around a day after stopping the treatment I fell ill with mild flu-like symptoms and headaches. I had no idea that these symptoms had anything to do with my use of Aldara, but it now appears likely that these were a direct result of this cream, which has POWERFUL and, as I understand, in some cases IRREVERSIBLE ADVERSE EFFECTS on the immune system. One week later, I continue to feel sluggish, sickly, with some weird additional infections in my eyes.

    I believe this drug is highly dangerous. I only used for four applications and I can only wonder at the havoc potentially wrought upon one's body if this is used for more protracted periods. My advice to anyone prescribed this drug would be to AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE. Advice presented in the packaging does not, in my opinion, adequately outline the dangers or proper use for the treatment of genital warts (i.e., to be used extremely sparingly - no more than toothpick sized amounts, applied directly to the warts only).

    I do not believe the medical community is sufficiently informed regarding the long term effects of Aldara, and I will be writing to my local NHS trust regarding what I believe to be a highly hazardous material. DO NOT USE THIS
    "MEDICINE".

    Reply

    O&O on Jul, 25, 2014:

    As you may have seen from my other posts, I am a lawyer in Ontario, Canada who has been speaking with a number of people who have experienced side-effects (some very severe) after using Aldara.

    I have seen quite a few references on the Internet to the kinds of side-effects that you are describing. I find it hard to believe that this cream would be prescribed for such a sensitive area as the genital area. I have a very extensive scientific and medical background, and in my view, application in the genital area would enhance absorption into the blood stream, certainly making a systemic side-effect far more likely.

    It is really important to get all these side-effects out there in the public sphere. I have media interest in a story, but I need more people with first-hand experience with this either Aldara or Zyclara so we can establish that it is the imoquimod that is causing these problems. Please take the time to contact me at aoakley@oakleylegal.com.

    If you are living outside of the area where I can reasonably assist you, then I may be able to find a lawyer in your area who might be able to assist.

    Reply

    O&O on Jul, 25, 2014:

    As you may have seen from my other posts, I am a lawyer in Ontario, Canada who has been speaking with a number of people who have experienced side-effects (some very severe) after using Aldara.

    I feel it is really important to get all these side-effects out there in the public sphere. I have media interest in a story, but I need more people with first-hand experience with this either Aldara or Zyclara so we can establish that it is the imoquimod that is causing these problems. Please take the time to contact me at aoakley@oakleylegal.com.

    If you are living outside of the area where I can reasonably assist you, then I may be able to find a lawyer in your area who might be able to assist.

    Reply

    Nursing Student on Jan, 7, 2013:

    I too have used 4 applications of Aldara for genital warts and had exact same experience, if not worse. After the 3rd application, i had open sores with puss in my perineal area with excruciating pain. I cried in pain and could barely walk or concentrate on anything else but the burning pain. It feel like someone took a sharp knife and constantly slitting at my perineum. I am too afraid to even look at the area thru the mirror. The pantyliner that i wear and change occasionally is soaked with puss and blood. I have UTI symptoms as well with painful urination and present of blood. This is the worst pain I have ever experienced. Not to mention, i've also developed a cold and sore throat, which is not very common for me. This drug is dangerous and I am extremely upset that the FDA even approved this medication to the public! I have stopped this medication and praying that the pain, ulcers, and pain urination stops soon! I lay in my bed depressed since this has started..i almost want to die.

    Reply

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NOTE: The study is based on active ingredients and brand name. Other drugs that have the same active ingredients (e.g. generic drugs) are NOT considered.

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