Topical imiquimod: a review of its use in the management of anogenital warts, actinic keratoses, basal cell carcinoma and other skin lesions

Drugs. 2007;67(15):2187-210. doi: 10.2165/00003495-200767150-00006.


Topical imiquimod 5% cream (Aldara) is an immune response modulator that is indicated for the treatment of external anogenital warts, superficial basal cell carcinoma and actinic keratoses. The cream is applied two to five times per week for varying periods, depending on the indication. Topical imiquimod cream has also been evaluated in the treatment of several other skin conditions. Immunomodulatory therapy with topical imiquimod 5% is an effective option for the approved indications. The drug appears to be relatively well tolerated, with the option of breaks from treatment as required for local skin reactions (which are common). Systemic reactions have been reported. Treatment of human papillomavirus- and UV-associated skin lesions with topical imiquimod offers a noninvasive, tissue-sparing alternative to ablative treatment options. However, well designed trials of the sustained, long-term efficacy and tolerability of topical imiquimod versus those of common treatment approaches including surgery and other topical alternatives are required before the place of the drug in the management of these lesions can be finalised. Nonetheless, while other treatments for anogenital warts, superficial basal cell carcinoma or actinic keratoses are available, the advantages of self treatment linked with the demonstrated efficacy of topical imiquimod offer an attractive alternative for many patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aminoquinolines / administration & dosage
  • Aminoquinolines / adverse effects
  • Aminoquinolines / pharmacokinetics
  • Aminoquinolines / pharmacology
  • Aminoquinolines / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Condylomata Acuminata / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Imiquimod
  • Photosensitivity Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Aminoquinolines
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Imiquimod