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Aldara is a topical cream for genital warts, made by Meda Pharmaceuticals. It contains an ingredient called imiquimod, which mobilises the immune system to kill off wart cells.

Renew your prescription for Aldara online with our secure consultation service. Our pharmacy ships all medications in secure, discreet packaging by next-day courier.

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Aldara topical cream is available from our pharmacy in one strength. This will typically be applied before going to bed, on three alternating days. This comprises a one-week course.

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Aldara is a topical cream for genital warts, made by Meda Pharmaceuticals. It contains an ingredient called imiquimod, which mobilises the immune system to kill off wart cells.

Renew your prescription for Aldara online with our secure consultation service. Our pharmacy ships all medications in secure, discreet packaging by next-day courier.

This content was reviewed by a clinician on

23 April 2021
dr daniel

Dr Daniel Atkinson

(GP Clinical Lead - GMC No. 4624794) 23 April 2021
Product information

Aldara is a medicine for genital warts. It is a topical cream, designed to be applied directly to the warts themselves. The product is made by Meda Pharmaceuticals, and contains an ingredient called imiquimod. This ingredient was first approved for medical use in 1997.

  1. Simple-to-apply topical cream
  2. Usable for up to 16 weeks
  3. Effective for persistent cases

Genital warts are characterised by small nodules on the skin. They are caused by a condition called human papillomavirus. More commonly known as HPV, this illness is most typically passed from one person to another through either penetrative or non-penetrative sexual intercourse. Although it is not as well-known as other STIs such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, HPV is common in the UK; in 2016, there were around 62,000 new cases of genital warts recorded by health officials in England alone.

In many cases, HPV does not produce visible symptoms, and may only manifest in warts after a delayed period following infection. As they can be transferred through skin-to-skin contact, it is important to take the appropriate sexual precautions during periods of activity, and seek treatment.

A doctor may suggest Aldara in the event that other medicines have proved insufficient. Imiquimod works by stimulating the body’s immune system. It does this by attaching to cells in the skin and facilitating the release of certain proteins called cytokines. These help to fight off the viral cells responsible for warts, by disabling their growth pattern, and causing them to perish. While it will not cure the virus, it will heal those areas of the skin affected.

See your GP or visit a sexual health clinic if you have developed genital warts for the first time. Following assessment of your symptoms, they will be able to identify the best course of treatment and start a prescription for you.

If you have used this treatment before and are looking to renew your prescription, you can buy Aldara online with our discreet consultation and pharmacy service. Complete our medical questionnaire to have your case checked by a doctor or pharmacy prescriber. Once they have issued a prescription, this will be sent to our dispensing pharmacy to be fulfilled. Treatments are then shipped in secure packaging, by next-day parcel.

Active Ingredient

The working component of Aldara is a substance called imiquimod. It was first made available for use in 1997, and belongs to a category of medicines called immunomodulators. As it treats genital warts in a slightly different way than other wart treatments, Aldara might typically be used in those instances where other products have not proved successful.

Imiquimod works by bonding with certain cells in the skin, which manage immunity. In doing so, it triggers the release of alpha interferon, a type of protein called a cytokine. This provides immune system cells in the skin with the stimulation they require to compromise and break down wart cells. As a result, wart cells expire and regular, healthy skin cells develop to replace them.

This topical cream will not cure the user of HPV, but can help to reduce visible symptoms of the virus.

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Page last reviewed:  23/04/2021


It is vital during the application of any treatment for genital warts to adhere to the directions set out by your doctor, and those in the patient information leaflet. Doing so will help to assure maximum effectiveness and reduce the potential for side effects.

  1. Use as directed by your prescriber. This will normally be one treatment before bedtime, on three alternate days (for instance, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday). This makes up a one-week cycle of treatment.
  2. A doctor may suggest repeated courses if symptoms do not go away, for up to a maximum of 16 weeks.
  3. Wash your hands before use, and make sure the application site is cleaned and carefully dried.
  4. Use a new sachet each time you apply a dose.
  5. Squeeze the appropriate amount of cream onto your fingertip.
  6. Distribute a thin layer over the affected area, and rub in until it disappears.
  7. Allow the cream 6 to 10 hours to work.
  8. After this, wash the area with soap and water.
  9. Never exceed the prescribed dose.
  10. Men with warts underneath the foreskin should take care to peel back the foreskin and apply the cream as prescribed, and wash the area of application after 6 to 10 hours.

You can find more detailed instructions in the leaflet supplied. If you are still not sure, ask your doctor or your pharmacist for advice.

Page last reviewed:  23/04/2021
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Aldara 5%

Side effects & Warnings

Side effects

While side effects may only occur in a minority of those who use this product, you should always familiarise yourself with them so that you can safeguard yourself from further illness, or injury. Adverse effects may include but are not limited to:

Common (1 in 10 people or more):

Redness; wearing away, hardening, cracking, crusting, flaking or swelling of the skin; itching or burning sensations.

Uncommon (1 in 100 people or more):

Headaches; flu-like symptoms; erectile difficulties; increased perspiration; nausea; vomiting; migraine; loss of appetite; dizziness; tiredness; facial flushing; insomnia; viral, bacterial or fungal infections; feelings of depression; swollen glands; pins and needles.

Rare (1 in 1000 people or more):

Difficulty passing urine.

This is not a complete list of side effects. A more detailed account can be located in the leaflet supplied. If you experience any of the above, seek immediate medical attention.

Taking it with other medicines

Aldara is not known to affect the efficacy of other medications, but you should inform your prescriber of any other treatments you are using during consultation. Never use more than one product for genital warts at any one time.

Conditions to look out for

Disclose your medical history to your doctor before using this medicine. Those persons with a history of HIV, basal cell carcinoma, or actinic keratosis may not be able to use this product.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Check with your doctor before using Aldara if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Use is not recommended if you are breastfeeding.

Driving and using machinery

Your capacity to drive or use machines should not be inhibited by this medicine.

Page last reviewed:  23/04/2021
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Aldara 5%


Can I still drink alcohol?

Alcohol is not thought to affect the potency or function of Aldara. In any event, you should ensure you only ever drink responsibly so that you can continue to apply the cream as prescribed.

Will I still be able to drive?

Although it should not affect your ability to drive in most cases, avoid doing so if you experience any side effects which may make it dangerous or unsafe.

Can I continue having sex whilst I’m using Aldara?

Sexual contact is not generally recommended while you are treating genital warts. You should ideally wait until your warts have gone and your skin has healed. If you do have sex, use a condom, as the warts can be passed to your partner and also the Aldara can cause irritation for your partner.

Can I take the medicine while pregnant?

No. This medication is not suitable for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and those who are should seek further advice from a doctor.

How should I store it?

Make sure you never store the item above room temperature. Keep it out of the reach of children and away from sources of light and moisture.

Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?

The components of this product are as follows: imiquimod, isostearic acid, benzyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, white soft paraffin, polysorbate 60, sorbitan stearate, glycerol, methyl hydroxybenzoate (E218), propyl hydroxybenzoate (E216), xanthan gum, and purified water. Do not use this item if you are unable to tolerate or allergic to any of the above.

Is it available over-the-counter?

No. As a prescription-only medication, you can only buy Aldara in the UK after prior consultation with a doctor. 

Is it right for me?

Speak to your GP or visit your GUM clinic to find out. They will be able to discuss treatment options with you an issue a prescription where required.

If you’ve used Aldara before and want to renew your prescription for it, you can do so using our online consultation platform. Orders are checked by practising clinicians, and dispensed at our UK pharmacy when authorised. We only ever ship using discreet packaging, by next-day delivery; so you can expect to receive your treatment in one working day.

Page last reviewed:  23/04/2021 is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 3209 customers on TrustPilot!
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