Open-label study to assess the safety and efficacy of imiquimod 5% cream applied once daily three times per week in cycles for treatment of actinic keratoses on the head

J Cutan Med Surg. 2008 May-Jun;12(3):97-101. doi: 10.2310/7750.2008.07045.


Background: Local skin reactions are common during imiquimod treatment of actinic keratosis (AK). Cyclical application of imiquimod may improve tolerability while maintaining efficacy.

Objective: To assess the tolerability of imiquimod and clearance rate of AK lesions after imiquimod application.

Methods: Imiquimod 5% cream was administered three times per week for 4 weeks followed by 4 weeks of rest (cycle 1) to AK lesions on the head. If AK lesions remained visible at the end of cycle 1, a second treatment cycle was instituted.

Results: Fifty percent (30 of 60) of patients experienced complete clearance of AK lesions, and 75% (30 of 40) of patients experienced partial clearance of AK lesions after imiquimod treatment at the end of cycle 2. Moreover, 77% of patients who achieved complete clearance had no visible AK lesions 12 weeks post-treatment. Imiquimod was well tolerated.

Conclusion: Imiquimod cycle therapy may be a safe and effective treatment option for AK lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage*
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects
  • Administration, Topical
  • Aged
  • Aminoquinolines / administration & dosage*
  • Aminoquinolines / adverse effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Head*
  • Humans
  • Imiquimod
  • Keratosis / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Ointments
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Aminoquinolines
  • Ointments
  • Imiquimod