Imiquimod (trade name Aldara™) is a small molecule of the imidazoquinoline family, a group of nucleoside analogs that were first synthesized as potential antiviral agents. It has since been discovered to activate both innate and adaptive immunity, as well as apoptosis. Clinically, it has been approved for three indications thus far: external genital warts, actinic keratosis, and superficial basal cell carcinoma. In addition to these applications, a number of off-label uses have been reported in the literature. In this review, we summarize and discuss the literature describing imiquimod’s mechanism of action, its approved and off-label clinical uses, and its safety and tolerability.
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