Zyclara (Imiquimod) and/or alternatives
No Generic Alternative.
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General Information On Zyclara
Zyclara is a medication used for the treatment of actinic keratoses on the face or scalp. AKs are pre-cancerous growths on the patient’s skin, which are usually caused due to too much exposure. The generic name of the drug is Imiquimod, and it belongs to the class of immune response modifiers. You can buy Zyclara in the form of a topical cream. It works by activating the patient’s immune system so that his/her body can fight these abnormal growths on skin. Zyclara can also be used for treating genital warts. It is not meant to be used in patients less than 12 years of age.
Side Effects for Zyclara
Some of the common side effects associated with Zyclara include changes in color of the treated skin, cold sores, symptoms of cold such as sneezing, stuffy nose and sore throat, nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, blisters, back pain, chest pain, dizziness, and headache. Local skin reactions may also take place, including mild skin irritation, flaking, dryness, itching, redness, crusting, and hardening at the site of application. Some serious effects may include chills, fever, body ache, swollen glands, or extreme tiredness. If you are using Zyclara for treating genital warts, you may develop urination problems or severe swelling. In that case, you should immediately stop using the drug and contact your doctor.
Seek medical help immediately if you show signs of an allergic reaction after applying the cream. Such signs may include difficulty breathing, swollen face, tongue, throat or lips, hives and rashes. If you experience severe itching, oozing, burning, bleeding, or changes in skin after applying Zyclara, you should wash off the cream immediately and contact your doctor.
You should not buy Zyclara if you are already suffering from sunburn, graft-versus-host disease, autoimmune disorder, weak immunity, or if you have recently undergone surgical treatment for genital warts or actinic keratosis. You should also inform your doctor if you have recently had a cord blood transplant or bone marrow transplant. If you are using this drug for treating genital warts, you should avoid intercourse just after applying the cream. It may weaken the rubber of diaphragms or condoms, and it may result in an unwanted pregnancy. Therefore, you can use a hormonal form of contraception during Zyclara treatment. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should use Zyclara only if clearly indicated, because its safety during these conditions is not yet established.
You may be advised to apply Zyclara cream on your skin once a day for 2 weeks, but it may depend on the intensity of your condition and your response to treatment. Use the medicine at almost the same time every day, so that you do not miss any doses.
Do not use any other topical application on your skin that contains the same ingredient, which is Imiquimod. Apart from that, do not use any other cosmetic products on your skin, as they may cause irritation. Tell your doctor about all the medicinal products you are using at present, especially topical applications.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.