(Rx) - indicates only available by prescription
Aldara Cream is used in the treatment of certain types of precancerous skin lesions of the face or scalp known as actinic keratosis (AK). This medicine may also be used to treat external genital and perianal warts in patients 12 years of age and older or to treat superficial basal cell carcinoma (sBCC) of the body, neck, arms, or legs. This is a form of medication known as an immune response modifier (IRM) used in adults with normal immune systems. There may be other conditions where Aldara Cream is a good choice of medication for you and so do not be surprised if your doctor prescribes you this medication for another condition. However you can expect a full explanation for why he or she has done so.
As is the case with all drugs, it is vital that you carefully follow the instructions given to you by your doctor. In most cases this will be written on the label of the medicine bottle or box and you must read this information very carefully. If you do happen to have any questions about how to take this medicine then you should talk to your pharmacist, nurse or doctor and they will be happy to help you. The dosing schedule will depend on the condition that you have. Talk to your doctor regarding how often to apply the cream. You must use this on the skin only. Make sure you wash and allow the area to dry for ten minutes before application. You can then apply only a thin layer to the affected area and rub it in until it looks evenly distributed. Wash you hands right away after use. Do not let the medicine get into you vagina or anus when applying it to warts. You must not bandage or wrap the affected area unless told to by your doctor. You may wear cotton underwear if the affected area is that of your genital region. Discard any unused medicine so that others do not come into contact with it. Do not allow the area to get wet until it is time to remove the medicine. Wash with soap and water when it is time to remove the cream.
Where you keep the medicine is very important and in this case it must be stored at room temperature (77 degrees F) away from the sun and in the bottle or box provided or in an airtight container. You must take the medicine as directed by your doctor and if you can apply it at the same time everyday i.e. at breakfast time, then that may help you to remember. It is very important that you take this medicine everyday as directed and do not miss a dose, even if you are feeling better. Failure to take your medicine as directed will likely result in the worsening of your symptoms. In the unfortunate scenario that you do forget to take a dose, you must take the missed dose as soon as you remember unless this is near the time of your next dose. In this case you should just forget about the missed dose and carry on with your normal schedule, as you must never take two doses of a single medication at the same time. If you have any concerns then you should contact your pharmacist, nurse or doctor for more information.
First and foremost you should not take Aldara Cream if you have experienced an allergic or other adverse reaction to it or any other ingredient that is used in the production of Aldara Cream. If you are worried that you may have had an adverse reaction to Aldara Cream in the past then you should discuss this with your doctor. Stopping a medicine suddenly will often result in a worsening of symptoms and side effects and in most cases your doctor will want you to come off a medicine slowly, a process known as tapering. There may be tests that are required by your doctor to check for side effects and/or monitor how effective the medicine is for you, however your doctor will talk to you about what is required. It is important to attend all laboratory and doctor appointments while you are taking Aldara Cream and additional appointments may be necessary when a change to the dose is made and during the initial starting period. You should avoid performing tasks such as driving; operating heavy machinery or any other dangerous activities until you know what effects this medicine has on you. You should never change or alter the dose of any medication unless you have talked it through with your doctor. It is vital that you notify your doctor or pharmacist before you begin any new medication, even if it is only one brought over the counter. Aldara Cream may have adverse effects on the fetus in pregnant women and so all women who may be thinking about getting pregnant should weigh up the pros and cons of taking this medicine during pregnancy with their doctor. Also there is not enough research for us to know if Aldara Cream is excreted in the breast milk and so general advice at this time is to not breast-feed while on this medication. It is important to note that Aldara Cream can cause you to be extra sensitive to sunlight and so you should avoid over exposure to the sun until it is clear how your body will react to this medicine. You must wear protective clothing as well as sunscreen if you intend to be in the sun for long periods of time. It is important that before you undergo any dental work or surgery of any kind that you let the dentist or doctor know that you are taking this medication. You must not touch your eyes or the inside of your mouth or nose until you have washed your hands first.
You must avoid getting this medicine in your nose, mouth or eyes. You must contact your doctor immediately if the skin becomes irritated in an abnormal way by this medicine. Lightening or darkening of the skin may occur as a result of taking this medicine. It is possible that this discoloration may not go away upon completion of treatment. There is no good research to say whether or not this medicine prevents your from spreading genital warts to others and so safe sex practices must be followed. You can always ask a health professional that you trust about safe sex practices. You must not have any type of sexual contact while you are being treated for genital warts and have the cream on your skin. It is possible that this medicine may decrease the effectiveness of contraceptive devices such as condoms or diaphragms and so you should use something else in addition while you are being treated with the cream.
As is the case with most drugs Aldara Cream is not without its side effects. Some of the things that you may notice when taking this medication include: diarrhea, fever, tiredness, muscle aches, back pain, headache, swelling of surrounding areas, changes in skin color, drainage, scabbing, thick or hardened skin, sores or blisters, redness, itching, or burning. These may be minor and go away during the course of treatment, however if they do bother you then you must talk to your doctor. Aldara Cream was prescribed to you, as your doctor believes that the benefits will outweigh the side effects and so it is usual to expect some symptoms. However these symptoms should not cause you major discomfort and if this is the case then please talk to your doctor. You must talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any pain or difficulty urinating if the cream is applied to the vagina. Fortunately it is uncommon for someone to have an allergic reaction to this medicine, however they do occur and if you notice severe dizziness, a rash, itching, trouble breathing or swelling then you must seek immediate medical attention. If you experience any symptoms that worry you, even if they are not listed above, then it is vital that you talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about it.
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