Health Blog | Drugstore Nigeria

Health, health information and fitness blog

Aldara imiquimod Cream

1. Name of the medicinal product

ALDARA 5% cream

2. Qualitative and quantitative composition

Each sachet contains 12.5 mg of imiquimod in 250 mg cream (5 %).

100 mg of cream contains 5 mg of imiquimod.

Excipients with known effects:

Methyl hydroxybenzoate (E 218) 2.0 mg/g cream

Propyl hydroxybenzoate (E 216) 0.2 mg/g cream

Cetyl alcohol 22.0 mg/g cream

Stearyl alcohol 31.0 mg/g cream

For the full list of excipients, see section 6.1.

3. Pharmaceutical form

Cream.

White to slightly yellow cream.

4. Clinical particulars

4.1 Therapeutic indications

Imiquimod cream is indicated for the topical treatment of:

• External genital and perianal warts (condylomata acuminata) in adults.

• Small superficial basal cell carcinomas (sBCCs) in adults.

• Clinically typical, nonhyperkeratotic, nonhypertrophic actinic keratoses (AKs) on the face or scalp in immunocompetent adult patients when size or number of lesions limit the efficacy and/or acceptability of cryotherapy and other topical treatment options are contraindicated or less appropriate.

4.2 Posology and method of administration

Posology

The application frequency and duration of treatment with imiquimod cream is different for each indication.

External genital warts in adults:

Imiquimod cream should be applied 3 times per week (example: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) prior to normal sleeping hours, and should remain on the skin for 6 to 10 hours. Imiquimod cream treatment should continue until the clearance of visible genital or perianal warts or for a maximum of 16 weeks per episode of warts.

For quantity to be applied see section 4.2 Method of administration.

Superficial basal cell carcinoma in adults:

Apply imiquimod cream for 6 weeks, 5 times per week (example: Monday to Friday) prior to normal sleeping hours, and leave on the skin for approximately 8 hours.

For quantity to be applied see 4.2 Method of administration.

Actinic keratosis in adults

Treatment should be initiated and monitored by a physician. Imiquimod cream should be applied 3 times per week (example: Monday, Wednesday and Friday) for four weeks prior to normal sleeping hours, and left on the skin for approximately 8 hours. Sufficient cream should be applied to cover the treatment area. After a 4-week treatment-free period, clearance of AKs should be assessed. If any lesions persist, treatment should be repeated for another four weeks.

An interruption of dosing should be considered if intense local inflammatory reactions occur (see section 4.4) or if infection is observed at the treatment site. In this latter case, appropriate other measures should be taken. Each treatment period should not be extended beyond 4 weeks due to missed doses or rest periods.

If the treated area does not show complete clearance at a follow-up examination about 8 weeks after the last 4-weeks course of treatment, an additional 4-weeks course of Aldara treatment may be considered.

A different therapy is recommended if the treated lesion(s) shows insufficient response to Aldara.

Actinic keratosis lesions that have cleared after one or two courses of treatment and subsequently recur can be re-treated with one or two further courses of Aldara cream following an at least 12 weeks treatment pause (see section 5.1).

Information applicable to all indications:

If a dose is missed, the patient should apply the cream as soon as he/she remember and then he/she should continue with the regular schedule. However the cream should not be applied more than once a day.

Paediatric population

Use in the paediatric patient population is not recommended. There are no data available on the use of imiquimod in children and adolescents in the approved indications.

Aldara should not be used in children with molluscum contagiosum due to lack of efficacy in this indication (see section 5.1).

Method of administration

External genital warts:

Imiquimod cream should be applied in a thin layer and rubbed on the clean wart area until the cream vanishes. Only apply to affected areas and avoid any application on internal surfaces. Imiquimod cream should be applied prior to normal sleeping hours. During the 6 to 10 hour treatment period, showering or bathing should be avoided. After this period it is essential that imiquimod cream is removed with mild soap and water. Application of an excess of cream or prolonged contact with the skin may result in a severe application site reaction (see sections 4.4, 4.8 and 4.9). A single-use sachet is sufficient to cover a wart area of 20 cm2 (approx. 3 inches2). Sachets should not be re-used once opened. Hands should be washed carefully before and after application of cream.

Uncircumcised males treating warts under the foreskin should retract the foreskin and wash the area daily (see section 4.4).

Superficial basal cell carcinoma:

Before applying imiquimod cream, patients should wash the treatment area with mild soap and water and dry thoroughly. Sufficient cream should be applied to cover the treatment area, including one centimetre of skin surrounding the tumour. The cream should be rubbed into the treatment area until the cream vanishes. The cream should be applied prior to normal sleeping hours and remain on the skin for approximately 8 hours. During this period, showering and bathing should be avoided. After this period it is essential that imiquimod cream is removed with mild soap and water.

Sachets should not be re-used once opened. Hands should be washed carefully before and after application of cream.

Response of the treated tumour to imiquimod cream should be assessed 12 weeks after the end of treatment. If the treated tumour shows an incomplete response, a different therapy should be used (see section 4.4).

A rest period of several days may be taken (see section 4.4) if the local skin reaction to imiquimod cream causes excessive discomfort to the patient, or if infection is observed at the treatment site. In this latter case, appropriate other measures should be taken.

Actinic keratosis:

Before applying imiquimod cream, patients should wash the treatment area with mild soap and water and dry thoroughly. Sufficient cream should be applied to cover the treatment area. The cream should be rubbed into the treatment area until the cream vanishes. The cream should be applied prior to normal sleeping hours and remain on the skin for approximately 8 hours. During this period, showering and bathing should be avoided. After this period it is essential that imiquimod cream is removed with mild soap and water. Sachets should not be re-used once opened. Hands should be washed carefully before and after application of cream.

4.3 Contraindications

4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use

  • External genital warts, superficial basal cell carcinoma and actinic keratosis:
  • Avoid contact with the eyes, lips and nostrils.
  • Imiquimod has the potential to exacerbate inflammatory conditions of the skin.
  • Imiquimod cream should be used with caution in patients with autoimmune conditions (refer to section 4.5). Consideration should be given to balancing the benefit of imiquimod treatment for these patients with the risk associated with a possible worsening of their autoimmune condition.
  • Imiquimod cream should be used with caution in organ transplant patients (refer to section 4.5). Consideration should be given to balancing the benefit of imiquimod treatment for these patients with the risk associated with the possibility of organ rejection or graft-versus-host disease.
  • Imiquimod cream therapy is not recommended until the skin has healed after any previous drug or surgical treatment. Application to broken skin could result in increased systemic absorption of imiquimod leading to a greater risk of adverse events (refer to section 4.8 and 4.9)
  • The use of an occlusive dressing is not recommended with imiquimod cream therapy.
  • The excipients methyl hydroxybenzoate (E 218) and propyl hydroxybenzoate (E 216) may cause allergic reactions (possibly delayed). Cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol may cause local skin reactions (e.g. contact dermatitis).
  • Rarely, intense local inflammatory reactions including skin weeping or erosion can occur after only a few applications of imiquimod cream. Local inflammatory reactions may be accompanied, or even preceded, by flu-like systemic signs and symptoms including malaise, pyrexia, nausea, myalgias and rigors. An interruption of dosing should be considered.
  • Imiquimod should be used with caution in patients with reduced haematologic reserve (refer to section 4.8d).

External genital warts:

There is limited experience in the use of imiquimod cream in the treatment of men with foreskin-associated warts. The safety database in uncircumcised men treated with imiquimod cream three times weekly and carrying out a daily foreskin hygiene routine is less than 100 patients. In other studies, in which a daily foreskin hygiene routine was not followed, there were two cases of severe phimosis and one case of stricture leading to circumcision. Treatment in this patient population is therefore recommended only in men who are able or willing to follow the daily foreskin hygiene routine. Early signs of stricture may include local skin reactions (e.g. erosion, ulceration, oedema, induration), or increasing difficulty in retracting the foreskin. If these symptoms occur, the treatment should be stopped immediately. Based on current knowledge, treating urethral, intra-vaginal, cervical, rectal or intra-anal warts is not recommended. Imiquimod cream therapy should not be initiated in tissues where open sores or wounds exist until after the area has healed.

Local skin reactions such as erythema, erosion, excoriation, flaking and oedema are common. Other local reactions such as induration, ulceration, scabbing, and vesicles have also been reported. Should an intolerable skin reaction occur, the cream should be removed by washing the area with mild soap and water. Treatment with imiquimod cream can be resumed after the skin reaction has moderated.

The risk of severe local skin reactions may be increased when imiquimod is used at higher than recommended doses (see section 4.2). However, in rare cases severe local reactions that have required treatment and/or caused temporary incapacitation have been observed in patients who have used imiquimod according to the instructions. Where such reactions have occurred at the urethral meatus, some women have experienced difficulty in urinating, sometimes requiring emergency catheterisation and treatment of the affected area.

No clinical experience exists with imiquimod cream immediately following treatment with other cutaneously applied drugs for treatment of external genital or perianal warts. Imiquimod cream should be washed from the skin before sexual activity. Imiquimod cream may weaken condoms and diaphragms, therefore concurrent use with imiquimod cream is not recommended. Alternative forms of contraception should be considered.

In immunocompromised patients, repeat treatment with imiquimod cream is not recommended.

While limited data have shown an increased rate of wart reduction in HIV positive patients, imiquimod cream has not been shown to be as effective in terms of wart clearance in this patient group.

Superficial basal cell carcinoma:

Imiquimod has not been evaluated for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma within 1 cm of the eyelids, nose, lips or hairline.

During therapy and until healed, affected skin is likely to appear noticeably different from normal skin. Local skin reactions are common but these reactions generally decrease in intensity during therapy or resolve after cessation of imiquimod cream therapy. There is an association between the complete clearance rate and the intensity of local skin reactions (e.g. erythema). These local skin reactions may be related to the stimulation of local immune response. If required by the patient’s discomfort or the severity of the local skin reaction, a rest period of several days may be taken. Treatment with imiquimod cream can be resumed after the skin reaction has moderated.

The clinical outcome of therapy can be determined after regeneration of the treated skin, approximately 12 weeks after the end of treatment. No clinical experience exists with the use of imiquimod cream in immunocompromised patients.

No clinical experience exists in patients with recurrent and previously treated BCCs, therefore use for previously treated tumours is not recommended.

Data from an open label clinical trial suggest that large tumours (>7.25 cm2) are less likely to respond to imiquimod therapy.

The skin surface area treated should be protected from solar exposure.

Actinic keratosis

Lesions clinically atypical for AK or suspicious for malignancy should be biopsied to determine appropriate treatment.

Imiquimod has not been evaluated for the treatment of actinic keratoses on the eyelids, the inside of the nostrils or ears, or the lip area inside the vermilion border.

There are very limited data available on the use of imiquimod for the treatment of actinic keratoses in anatomical locations other than the face and scalp. The available data on actinic keratosis on the forearms and hands do not support efficacy in this indication and therefore such use is not recommended.

Imiquimod is not recommended for the treatment of AK lesions with marked hyperkeratosis or hypertrophy as seen in cutaneous horns.

During therapy and until healed, affected skin is likely to appear noticeably different from normal skin. Local skin reactions are common but these reactions generally decrease in intensity during therapy or resolve after cessation of imiquimod cream therapy. There is an association between the complete clearance rate and the intensity of local skin reactions (e.g. erythema). These local skin reactions may be related to the stimulation of local immune response. If required by the patient’s discomfort or the intensity of the local skin reaction, a rest period of several days may be taken. Treatment with imiquimod cream can be resumed after the skin reaction has moderated.

Each treatment period should not be extended beyond 4 weeks due to missed doses or rest periods.

The clinical outcome of therapy can be determined after regeneration of the treated skin, approximately 4-8 weeks after the end of treatment.

No clinical experience exists with the use of imiquimod cream in immunocompromised patients.

Information on re-treating actinic keratosis lesions that have cleared after one or two courses of treatment and subsequently recur is given in section 4.2.

Data from an open-label clinical trial suggest that subjects with more than 8 AK lesions showed a decreased rate of complete clearance compared to patients with less than 8 lesions.

The skin surface area treated should be protected from solar exposure.

4.5 Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction

No interaction studies have been performed. This includes studies with immunosuppressive drugs. Interactions with systemic drugs would be limited by the minimal percutaneous absorption of imiquimod cream.

Due to its immunostimulating properties, imiquimod cream should be used with caution in patients who are receiving immunosuppressive medication (see section 4.4).

4.6 Fertility, pregnancy and lactation

Pregnancy

For imiquimod no clinical data on exposed pregnancies are available. Animal studies do not indicate direct or indirect harmful effects with respect to pregnancy, embryonal/foetal development, parturition or postnatal development (see section 5.3). Caution should be exercised when prescribing to pregn.

Breast-feeding

As no quantifiable levels (> 5 ng/ml) of imiquimod are detected in the serum after single and multiple topical doses, no specific advice can be given on whether to use or not in lactating mothers.

4.7 Effects on ability to drive and use machines

Aldara cream has no or negligible influence on the ability to drive and use machines.

4.8 Undesirable effects

a) General Description:

External genital warts:

In the pivotal trials with 3 times a week dosing, the most frequently reported adverse drug reactions judged to be probably or possibly related to imiquimod cream treatment were application site reactions at the wart treatment site (33.7% of imiquimod treated patients). Some systemic adverse reactions, including headache (3.7%), influenza-like symptoms (1.1%), and myalgia (1.5%) were also reported.

Patient reported adverse reactions from 2292 patients treated with imiquimod cream in placebo controlled and open clinical studies are presented below. These adverse events are considered at least possibly causally related to treatment with imiquimod.

Superficial basal cell carcinoma:

In trials with 5 times per week dosing 58% of patients experienced at least one adverse event. The most frequently reported adverse events from the trials judged probably or possibly related to imiquimod cream are application site disorders, with a frequency of 28.1%. Some systemic adverse reactions, including back pain (1.1%) and influenza-like symptoms (0.5%) were reported by imiquimod cream patients.

Patient reported adverse reactions from 185 patients treated with imiquimod cream in placebo controlled phase III clinical studies for superficial basal cell carcinoma are presented below. These adverse events are considered at least possibly causally related to treatment with imiquimod.

Actinic keratosis

In the pivotal trials with 3 times per week dosing for up to 2 courses each of 4 weeks, 56% of imiquimod patients reported at least one adverse event. The most frequently reported adverse event from these trials judged probably or possibly related to imiquimod cream was application site reactions (22% of imiquimod treated patients). Some systemic adverse reactions, including myalgia (2%) were reported by imiquimod treated patients.

Patient reported adverse reactions from 252 patients treated with imiquimod cream in vehicle controlled phase III clinical studies for actinic keratosis are presented below. These adverse events are considered at least possibly causally related to treatment with imiquimod.

External genital warts:

Investigators of placebo controlled trials were required to evaluate protocol mandated clinical signs (skin reactions). These protocol mandated clinical sign assessments indicate that local skin reactions including erythema (61%), erosion (30%), excoriation/flaking/scaling (23%) and oedema (14%) were common in these placebo controlled clinical trials with imiquimod cream applied three times weekly (see section 4.4). Local skin reactions, such as erythema, are probably an extension of the pharmacologic effects of imiquimod cream.

Remote site skin reactions, mainly erythema (44%), were also reported in the placebo controlled trials. These reactions were at non-wart sites which may have been in contact with imiquimod cream. Most skin reactions were mild to moderate in severity and resolved within 2 weeks of treatment discontinuation. However, in some cases these reactions have been severe, requiring treatment and/or causing incapacitation. In very rare cases, severe reactions at the urethral meatus have resulted in dysuria in women (see section 4.4).

Superficial basal cell carcinoma:

Investigators of the placebo controlled clinical trials were required to evaluate protocol mandated clinical signs (skin reactions). These protocol mandated clinical sign assessments indicate that severe erythema (31%) severe erosions (13%) and severe scabbing and crusting (19%) were very common in these trials with imiquimod cream applied 5 times weekly. Local skin reactions, such as erythema, are probably an extension of the pharmacologic effect of imiquimod cream.

Skin infections during treatment with imiquimod have been observed. While serious sequelae have not resulted, the possibility of infection in broken skin should always be considered.

Actinic keratosis

In clinical trials of imiquimod cream 3 times weekly for 4 or 8 weeks the most frequently occurring application site reactions were itching at the target site (14%) and burning at the target site (5%). Severe erythema (24%) and severe scabbing and crusting (20%) were very common. Local skin reactions, such as erythema, are probably an extension of the pharmacologic effect of imiquimod cream. See 4.2 and 4.4 for information on rest periods.

Skin infections during treatment with imiquimod have been observed. While serious sequelae have not resulted, the possibility of infection in broken skin should always be considered.

d) Adverse events applicable to all indications:

Reports have been received of localised hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation following imiquimod cream use. Follow-up information suggests that these skin colour changes may be permanent in some patients. In a follow-up of 162 patients five years after treatment for sBCC a mild hypopigmentation was observed in 37% of the patients and a moderate hypopigmentation was observed in 6% of the patients. 56% of the patients have been free of hypopigmentation; hyperpigmentation has not been reported.

Clinical studies investigating the use of imiquimod for the treatment of actinic keratosis have detected a 0.4% (5/1214) frequency of alopecia at the treatment site or surrounding area. Postmarketing reports of suspected alopecia occurring during the treatment of sBCC and EGW have been received.

Reductions in haemoglobin, white blood cell count, absolute neutrophils and platelets have been observed in clinical trials. These reductions are not considered to be clinically significant in patients with normal haematologic reserve. Patients with reduced haematologic reserve have not been studied in clinical trials. Reductions in haematological parameters requiring clinical intervention have been reported from postmarketing experience. There have been postmarketing reports of elevated liver enzymes.

Rare reports have been received of exacerbation of autoimmune conditions.

Rare cases of remote site dermatologic drug reactions, including erythema multiforme, have been reported from clinical trials. Serious skin reactions reported from postmarketing experience include erythema multiforme, Stevens Johnson syndrome and cutaneous lupus erythematosus.

e) Paediatric population:

Imiquimod was investigated in controlled clinical studies with paediatric patients (see sections 4.2 and 5.1). There was no evidence for systemic reactions. Application site reactions occurred more frequently after imiquimod than after vehicle, however, incidence and intensity of these reactions were not different from that seen in the licensed indications in adults. There was no evidence for serious adverse reaction caused by imiquimod in paediatric patients.

Reporting of suspected adverse reactions

Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.

4.9 Overdose

When applied topically, systemic overdosage with imiquimod cream is unlikely due to minimal percutaneous absorption. Studies in rabbits reveal a dermal lethal dose of greater than 5 g/kg. Persistent dermal overdosing of imiquimod cream could result in severe local skin reactions.

Following accidental ingestion, nausea, emesis, headache, myalgia and fever could occur after a single dose of 200 mg imiquimod which corresponds to the content of approximately 16 sachets. The most clinically serious adverse event reported following multiple oral doses of ≥ 200 mg was hypotension which resolved following oral or intravenous fluid administration.

1. Name of the medicinal product

ALDARA 5% cream

2. Qualitative and quantitative composition

Each sachet contains 12.5 mg of imiquimod in 250 mg cream (5 %).

100 mg of cream contains 5 mg of imiquimod.

Excipients with known effects:

Methyl hydroxybenzoate (E 218) 2.0 mg/g cream

Propyl hydroxybenzoate (E 216) 0.2 mg/g cream

Cetyl alcohol 22.0 mg/g cream

Stearyl alcohol 31.0 mg/g cream

For the full list of excipients, see section 6.1.

3. Pharmaceutical form

Cream.

White to slightly yellow cream.

4. Clinical particulars

4.1 Therapeutic indications

Imiquimod cream is indicated for the topical treatment of:

• External genital and perianal warts (condylomata acuminata) in adults.

• Small superficial basal cell carcinomas (sBCCs) in adults.

• Clinically typical, nonhyperkeratotic, nonhypertrophic actinic keratoses (AKs) on the face or scalp in immunocompetent adult patients when size or number of lesions limit the efficacy and/or acceptability of cryotherapy and other topical treatment options are contraindicated or less appropriate.

4.2 Posology and method of administration

Posology

The application frequency and duration of treatment with imiquimod cream is different for each indication.

External genital warts in adults:

Imiquimod cream should be applied 3 times per week (example: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) prior to normal sleeping hours, and should remain on the skin for 6 to 10 hours. Imiquimod cream treatment should continue until the clearance of visible genital or perianal warts or for a maximum of 16 weeks per episode of warts.

For quantity to be applied see section 4.2 Method of administration.

Superficial basal cell carcinoma in adults:

Apply imiquimod cream for 6 weeks, 5 times per week (example: Monday to Friday) prior to normal sleeping hours, and leave on the skin for approximately 8 hours.

For quantity to be applied see 4.2 Method of administration.

Actinic keratosis in adults

Treatment should be initiated and monitored by a physician. Imiquimod cream should be applied 3 times per week (example: Monday, Wednesday and Friday) for four weeks prior to normal sleeping hours, and left on the skin for approximately 8 hours. Sufficient cream should be applied to cover the treatment area. After a 4-week treatment-free period, clearance of AKs should be assessed. If any lesions persist, treatment should be repeated for another four weeks.

An interruption of dosing should be considered if intense local inflammatory reactions occur (see section 4.4) or if infection is observed at the treatment site. In this latter case, appropriate other measures should be taken. Each treatment period should not be extended beyond 4 weeks due to missed doses or rest periods.

If the treated area does not show complete clearance at a follow-up examination about 8 weeks after the last 4-weeks course of treatment, an additional 4-weeks course of Aldara treatment may be considered.

A different therapy is recommended if the treated lesion(s) shows insufficient response to Aldara.

Actinic keratosis lesions that have cleared after one or two courses of treatment and subsequently recur can be re-treated with one or two further courses of Aldara cream following an at least 12 weeks treatment pause (see section 5.1).

Information applicable to all indications:

If a dose is missed, the patient should apply the cream as soon as he/she remember and then he/she should continue with the regular schedule. However the cream should not be applied more than once a day.

Paediatric population

Use in the paediatric patient population is not recommended. There are no data available on the use of imiquimod in children and adolescents in the approved indications.

Aldara should not be used in children with molluscum contagiosum due to lack of efficacy in this indication (see section 5.1).

Method of administration

External genital warts:

Imiquimod cream should be applied in a thin layer and rubbed on the clean wart area until the cream vanishes. Only apply to affected areas and avoid any application on internal surfaces. Imiquimod cream should be applied prior to normal sleeping hours. During the 6 to 10 hour treatment period, showering or bathing should be avoided. After this period it is essential that imiquimod cream is removed with mild soap and water. Application of an excess of cream or prolonged contact with the skin may result in a severe application site reaction (see sections 4.4, 4.8 and 4.9). A single-use sachet is sufficient to cover a wart area of 20 cm2 (approx. 3 inches2). Sachets should not be re-used once opened. Hands should be washed carefully before and after application of cream.

Uncircumcised males treating warts under the foreskin should retract the foreskin and wash the area daily (see section 4.4).

Superficial basal cell carcinoma:

Before applying imiquimod cream, patients should wash the treatment area with mild soap and water and dry thoroughly. Sufficient cream should be applied to cover the treatment area, including one centimetre of skin surrounding the tumour. The cream should be rubbed into the treatment area until the cream vanishes. The cream should be applied prior to normal sleeping hours and remain on the skin for approximately 8 hours. During this period, showering and bathing should be avoided. After this period it is essential that imiquimod cream is removed with mild soap and water.

Sachets should not be re-used once opened. Hands should be washed carefully before and after application of cream.

Response of the treated tumour to imiquimod cream should be assessed 12 weeks after the end of treatment. If the treated tumour shows an incomplete response, a different therapy should be used (see section 4.4).

A rest period of several days may be taken (see section 4.4) if the local skin reaction to imiquimod cream causes excessive discomfort to the patient, or if infection is observed at the treatment site. In this latter case, appropriate other measures should be taken.

Actinic keratosis:

Before applying imiquimod cream, patients should wash the treatment area with mild soap and water and dry thoroughly. Sufficient cream should be applied to cover the treatment area. The cream should be rubbed into the treatment area until the cream vanishes. The cream should be applied prior to normal sleeping hours and remain on the skin for approximately 8 hours. During this period, showering and bathing should be avoided. After this period it is essential that imiquimod cream is removed with mild soap and water. Sachets should not be re-used once opened. Hands should be washed carefully before and after application of cream.

4.3 Contraindications

4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use

  • External genital warts, superficial basal cell carcinoma and actinic keratosis:
  • Avoid contact with the eyes, lips and nostrils.
  • Imiquimod has the potential to exacerbate inflammatory conditions of the skin.
  • Imiquimod cream should be used with caution in patients with autoimmune conditions (refer to section 4.5). Consideration should be given to balancing the benefit of imiquimod treatment for these patients with the risk associated with a possible worsening of their autoimmune condition.
  • Imiquimod cream should be used with caution in organ transplant patients (refer to section 4.5). Consideration should be given to balancing the benefit of imiquimod treatment for these patients with the risk associated with the possibility of organ rejection or graft-versus-host disease.
  • Imiquimod cream therapy is not recommended until the skin has healed after any previous drug or surgical treatment. Application to broken skin could result in increased systemic absorption of imiquimod leading to a greater risk of adverse events (refer to section 4.8 and 4.9)
  • The use of an occlusive dressing is not recommended with imiquimod cream therapy.
  • The excipients methyl hydroxybenzoate (E 218) and propyl hydroxybenzoate (E 216) may cause allergic reactions (possibly delayed). Cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol may cause local skin reactions (e.g. contact dermatitis).
  • Rarely, intense local inflammatory reactions including skin weeping or erosion can occur after only a few applications of imiquimod cream. Local inflammatory reactions may be accompanied, or even preceded, by flu-like systemic signs and symptoms including malaise, pyrexia, nausea, myalgias and rigors. An interruption of dosing should be considered.
  • Imiquimod should be used with caution in patients with reduced haematologic reserve (refer to section 4.8d).

External genital warts:

There is limited experience in the use of imiquimod cream in the treatment of men with foreskin-associated warts. The safety database in uncircumcised men treated with imiquimod cream three times weekly and carrying out a daily foreskin hygiene routine is less than 100 patients. In other studies, in which a daily foreskin hygiene routine was not followed, there were two cases of severe phimosis and one case of stricture leading to circumcision. Treatment in this patient population is therefore recommended only in men who are able or willing to follow the daily foreskin hygiene routine. Early signs of stricture may include local skin reactions (e.g. erosion, ulceration, oedema, induration), or increasing difficulty in retracting the foreskin. If these symptoms occur, the treatment should be stopped immediately. Based on current knowledge, treating urethral, intra-vaginal, cervical, rectal or intra-anal warts is not recommended. Imiquimod cream therapy should not be initiated in tissues where open sores or wounds exist until after the area has healed.

Local skin reactions such as erythema, erosion, excoriation, flaking and oedema are common. Other local reactions such as induration, ulceration, scabbing, and vesicles have also been reported. Should an intolerable skin reaction occur, the cream should be removed by washing the area with mild soap and water. Treatment with imiquimod cream can be resumed after the skin reaction has moderated.

The risk of severe local skin reactions may be increased when imiquimod is used at higher than recommended doses (see section 4.2). However, in rare cases severe local reactions that have required treatment and/or caused temporary incapacitation have been observed in patients who have used imiquimod according to the instructions. Where such reactions have occurred at the urethral meatus, some women have experienced difficulty in urinating, sometimes requiring emergency catheterisation and treatment of the affected area.

No clinical experience exists with imiquimod cream immediately following treatment with other cutaneously applied drugs for treatment of external genital or perianal warts. Imiquimod cream should be washed from the skin before sexual activity. Imiquimod cream may weaken condoms and diaphragms, therefore concurrent use with imiquimod cream is not recommended. Alternative forms of contraception should be considered.

In immunocompromised patients, repeat treatment with imiquimod cream is not recommended.

While limited data have shown an increased rate of wart reduction in HIV positive patients, imiquimod cream has not been shown to be as effective in terms of wart clearance in this patient group.

Superficial basal cell carcinoma:

Imiquimod has not been evaluated for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma within 1 cm of the eyelids, nose, lips or hairline.

During therapy and until healed, affected skin is likely to appear noticeably different from normal skin. Local skin reactions are common but these reactions generally decrease in intensity during therapy or resolve after cessation of imiquimod cream therapy. There is an association between the complete clearance rate and the intensity of local skin reactions (e.g. erythema). These local skin reactions may be related to the stimulation of local immune response. If required by the patient’s discomfort or the severity of the local skin reaction, a rest period of several days may be taken. Treatment with imiquimod cream can be resumed after the skin reaction has moderated.

The clinical outcome of therapy can be determined after regeneration of the treated skin, approximately 12 weeks after the end of treatment. No clinical experience exists with the use of imiquimod cream in immunocompromised patients.

No clinical experience exists in patients with recurrent and previously treated BCCs, therefore use for previously treated tumours is not recommended.

Data from an open label clinical trial suggest that large tumours (>7.25 cm2) are less likely to respond to imiquimod therapy.

The skin surface area treated should be protected from solar exposure.

Actinic keratosis

Lesions clinically atypical for AK or suspicious for malignancy should be biopsied to determine appropriate treatment.

Imiquimod has not been evaluated for the treatment of actinic keratoses on the eyelids, the inside of the nostrils or ears, or the lip area inside the vermilion border.

There are very limited data available on the use of imiquimod for the treatment of actinic keratoses in anatomical locations other than the face and scalp. The available data on actinic keratosis on the forearms and hands do not support efficacy in this indication and therefore such use is not recommended.

Imiquimod is not recommended for the treatment of AK lesions with marked hyperkeratosis or hypertrophy as seen in cutaneous horns.

During therapy and until healed, affected skin is likely to appear noticeably different from normal skin. Local skin reactions are common but these reactions generally decrease in intensity during therapy or resolve after cessation of imiquimod cream therapy. There is an association between the complete clearance rate and the intensity of local skin reactions (e.g. erythema). These local skin reactions may be related to the stimulation of local immune response. If required by the patient’s discomfort or the intensity of the local skin reaction, a rest period of several days may be taken. Treatment with imiquimod cream can be resumed after the skin reaction has moderated.

Each treatment period should not be extended beyond 4 weeks due to missed doses or rest periods.

The clinical outcome of therapy can be determined after regeneration of the treated skin, approximately 4-8 weeks after the end of treatment.

No clinical experience exists with the use of imiquimod cream in immunocompromised patients.

Information on re-treating actinic keratosis lesions that have cleared after one or two courses of treatment and subsequently recur is given in section 4.2.

Data from an open-label clinical trial suggest that subjects with more than 8 AK lesions showed a decreased rate of complete clearance compared to patients with less than 8 lesions.

The skin surface area treated should be protected from solar exposure.

4.5 Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction

No interaction studies have been performed. This includes studies with immunosuppressive drugs. Interactions with systemic drugs would be limited by the minimal percutaneous absorption of imiquimod cream.

Due to its immunostimulating properties, imiquimod cream should be used with caution in patients who are receiving immunosuppressive medication (see section 4.4).

4.6 Fertility, pregnancy and lactation

Pregnancy

For imiquimod no clinical data on exposed pregnancies are available. Animal studies do not indicate direct or indirect harmful effects with respect to pregnancy, embryonal/foetal development, parturition or postnatal development (see section 5.3). Caution should be exercised when prescribing to pregn.

Breast-feeding

As no quantifiable levels (> 5 ng/ml) of imiquimod are detected in the serum after single and multiple topical doses, no specific advice can be given on whether to use or not in lactating mothers.

4.7 Effects on ability to drive and use machines

Aldara cream has no or negligible influence on the ability to drive and use machines.

4.8 Undesirable effects

a) General Description:

External genital warts:

In the pivotal trials with 3 times a week dosing, the most frequently reported adverse drug reactions judged to be probably or possibly related to imiquimod cream treatment were application site reactions at the wart treatment site (33.7% of imiquimod treated patients). Some systemic adverse reactions, including headache (3.7%), influenza-like symptoms (1.1%), and myalgia (1.5%) were also reported.

Patient reported adverse reactions from 2292 patients treated with imiquimod cream in placebo controlled and open clinical studies are presented below. These adverse events are considered at least possibly causally related to treatment with imiquimod.

Superficial basal cell carcinoma:

In trials with 5 times per week dosing 58% of patients experienced at least one adverse event. The most frequently reported adverse events from the trials judged probably or possibly related to imiquimod cream are application site disorders, with a frequency of 28.1%. Some systemic adverse reactions, including back pain (1.1%) and influenza-like symptoms (0.5%) were reported by imiquimod cream patients.

Patient reported adverse reactions from 185 patients treated with imiquimod cream in placebo controlled phase III clinical studies for superficial basal cell carcinoma are presented below. These adverse events are considered at least possibly causally related to treatment with imiquimod.

Actinic keratosis

In the pivotal trials with 3 times per week dosing for up to 2 courses each of 4 weeks, 56% of imiquimod patients reported at least one adverse event. The most frequently reported adverse event from these trials judged probably or possibly related to imiquimod cream was application site reactions (22% of imiquimod treated patients). Some systemic adverse reactions, including myalgia (2%) were reported by imiquimod treated patients.

Patient reported adverse reactions from 252 patients treated with imiquimod cream in vehicle controlled phase III clinical studies for actinic keratosis are presented below. These adverse events are considered at least possibly causally related to treatment with imiquimod.

External genital warts:

Investigators of placebo controlled trials were required to evaluate protocol mandated clinical signs (skin reactions). These protocol mandated clinical sign assessments indicate that local skin reactions including erythema (61%), erosion (30%), excoriation/flaking/scaling (23%) and oedema (14%) were common in these placebo controlled clinical trials with imiquimod cream applied three times weekly (see section 4.4). Local skin reactions, such as erythema, are probably an extension of the pharmacologic effects of imiquimod cream.

Remote site skin reactions, mainly erythema (44%), were also reported in the placebo controlled trials. These reactions were at non-wart sites which may have been in contact with imiquimod cream. Most skin reactions were mild to moderate in severity and resolved within 2 weeks of treatment discontinuation. However, in some cases these reactions have been severe, requiring treatment and/or causing incapacitation. In very rare cases, severe reactions at the urethral meatus have resulted in dysuria in women (see section 4.4).

Superficial basal cell carcinoma:

Investigators of the placebo controlled clinical trials were required to evaluate protocol mandated clinical signs (skin reactions). These protocol mandated clinical sign assessments indicate that severe erythema (31%) severe erosions (13%) and severe scabbing and crusting (19%) were very common in these trials with imiquimod cream applied 5 times weekly. Local skin reactions, such as erythema, are probably an extension of the pharmacologic effect of imiquimod cream.

Skin infections during treatment with imiquimod have been observed. While serious sequelae have not resulted, the possibility of infection in broken skin should always be considered.

Actinic keratosis

In clinical trials of imiquimod cream 3 times weekly for 4 or 8 weeks the most frequently occurring application site reactions were itching at the target site (14%) and burning at the target site (5%). Severe erythema (24%) and severe scabbing and crusting (20%) were very common. Local skin reactions, such as erythema, are probably an extension of the pharmacologic effect of imiquimod cream. See 4.2 and 4.4 for information on rest periods.

Skin infections during treatment with imiquimod have been observed. While serious sequelae have not resulted, the possibility of infection in broken skin should always be considered.

d) Adverse events applicable to all indications:

Reports have been received of localised hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation following imiquimod cream use. Follow-up information suggests that these skin colour changes may be permanent in some patients. In a follow-up of 162 patients five years after treatment for sBCC a mild hypopigmentation was observed in 37% of the patients and a moderate hypopigmentation was observed in 6% of the patients. 56% of the patients have been free of hypopigmentation; hyperpigmentation has not been reported.

Clinical studies investigating the use of imiquimod for the treatment of actinic keratosis have detected a 0.4% (5/1214) frequency of alopecia at the treatment site or surrounding area. Postmarketing reports of suspected alopecia occurring during the treatment of sBCC and EGW have been received.

Reductions in haemoglobin, white blood cell count, absolute neutrophils and platelets have been observed in clinical trials. These reductions are not considered to be clinically significant in patients with normal haematologic reserve. Patients with reduced haematologic reserve have not been studied in clinical trials. Reductions in haematological parameters requiring clinical intervention have been reported from postmarketing experience. There have been postmarketing reports of elevated liver enzymes.

Rare reports have been received of exacerbation of autoimmune conditions.

Rare cases of remote site dermatologic drug reactions, including erythema multiforme, have been reported from clinical trials. Serious skin reactions reported from postmarketing experience include erythema multiforme, Stevens Johnson syndrome and cutaneous lupus erythematosus.

e) Paediatric population:

Imiquimod was investigated in controlled clinical studies with paediatric patients (see sections 4.2 and 5.1). There was no evidence for systemic reactions. Application site reactions occurred more frequently after imiquimod than after vehicle, however, incidence and intensity of these reactions were not different from that seen in the licensed indications in adults. There was no evidence for serious adverse reaction caused by imiquimod in paediatric patients.

Reporting of suspected adverse reactions

Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.

4.9 Overdose

When applied topically, systemic overdosage with imiquimod cream is unlikely due to minimal percutaneous absorption. Studies in rabbits reveal a dermal lethal dose of greater than 5 g/kg. Persistent dermal overdosing of imiquimod cream could result in severe local skin reactions.

Following accidental ingestion, nausea, emesis, headache, myalgia and fever could occur after a single dose of 200 mg imiquimod which corresponds to the content of approximately 16 sachets. The most clinically serious adverse event reported following multiple oral doses of ≥ 200 mg was hypotension which resolved following oral or intravenous fluid administration.

You Might Also Like