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Arch Dis Child. Nov 2003; 88(11): 969–973.
PMCID: PMC1719352

Systemic exposure, tolerability, and efficacy of pimecrolimus cream 1% in atopic dermatitis patients


Aims: To measure pimecrolimus blood concentrations and to evaluate tolerability and efficacy in children and infants treated topically for atopic dermatitis with pimecrolimus cream 1% for three weeks.

Methods: Three open label, non-controlled, multiple topical dose studies were conducted in children aged 8–14 years (study A, ten patients), and in infants aged 8–30 months (study B, eight patients) and 4–11 months (study C, eight patients). Pimecrolimus blood concentrations were determined on days 4 and 22 of treatment, and at end of study. Efficacy was assessed using the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI).

Results: Pimecrolimus blood concentrations were consistently low, typically (81%) below 1 ng/ml, with more than half of the measurements below the assay limit of quantitation (0.5 ng/ml) in studies A and B. The highest blood concentration measured throughout the three studies was 2.6 ng/ml. The cream was well tolerated, locally and systemically. The most common adverse event suspected to be related to study medication was a transient mild to moderate stinging sensation at the application site in 5/26 patients. There was no indication of any systemic adverse effect. The patients responded well to therapy with a rapid onset of action, usually within four days. Median reductions of EASI from baseline at day 22 were 55% (study A), 63% (study B), and 83% (study C).

Conclusion: Three weeks treatment of children and infants with extensive atopic dermatitis, using pimecrolimus cream 1% twice daily, is well tolerated and results in minimal systemic exposure, at which no systemic effect is expected.

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Selected References

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Figures and Tables

Figure 1
Pimecrolimus blood concentrations in children and infants on day 4 and day 22 of a three week treatment course.
Figure 2
Blood concentrations of pimecrolimus versus body surface area at baseline (day 1).
Figure 3
Median reduction (%) of EASI from baseline (day 1) during three weeks of treatment of paediatric atopic dermatitis patients with pimecrolimus 1% cream.

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