Optimal frequency of imiquimod (aldara) 5% cream for the treatment of external genital warts in immunocompetent adults: a meta-analysis

Sex Transm Dis. 2008 Apr;35(4):346-51. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31815ea8d1.


Background: Postmarketing research has explored the optimal application schedule of imiquimod 5% cream for treatment of external anogenital warts.

Objectives: We systemically reviewed the published literature on the efficacy and safety of the medication when applied either by a three times per week or once-daily regimen for 16 weeks.

Methods: MEDLINE (1966 to Feb 10, 2007), Scopus (1996 to Feb 10, 2007), and Cochrane Library (Issue 1, 2007) databases were searched for randomized trials on the medication. Primary efficacy outcome was the proportion of patients completely cleared of warts by end of treatment. Two primary safety outcomes were as follows: (a) proportion of patients who withdrew and (b) proportion of patients who required at least one rest period from treatment because of drug-related adverse events.

Results: Six studies were selected for subgroup analysis of circumcised men, uncircumcised men, and women. The once-daily compared to three times per week regimen did not improve treatment efficacy in any of the 3 subgroups (P <0.05), but resulted in greater incidence and severity of local skin reactions. There was no difference in medication-related withdrawals between the 2 regimens, although significantly more women and uncircumcised men required at least one rest period with the once-daily than the three times per week treatment schedule (P <0.05).

Conclusions: The optimal application schedule of imiquimod 5% cream for external anogenital warts is three times per week.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aminoquinolines / administration & dosage*
  • Aminoquinolines / adverse effects
  • Circumcision, Male
  • Condylomata Acuminata / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imiquimod
  • Immunocompetence*
  • Interferon Inducers / administration & dosage*
  • Interferon Inducers / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Aminoquinolines
  • Interferon Inducers
  • Imiquimod