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Pimecrolimus (On the skin)

Treats atopic dermatitis, which is a form of eczema.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Pimecrolimus is used to treat mild to moderate atopic dermatitis (eczema) in patients who have already been treated with other medicines that did not work well. Pimecrolimus belongs to a class of medicines known as topical calcineurin inhibitors that decrease inflammation. It helps to suppress the symptoms of atopic dermatitis (e.g., itching, redness, or inflammation of the skin) which are caused… Read more
Brand names include
Elidel
Drug classes About this
Dermatological Agent

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Topical pimecrolimus for eczema

This review of clinical trials aimed to find out whether topical pimecrolimus is better than topical corticosteroids or tacrolimus for treating eczema in infants, children and adults by assessing the improvement of eczema and adverse events associated with treatments.

Effect of pimecrolimus on oral lichen planus: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Gong Z C, Lin Z Q, Adili M, Wang L, Xiong H, Liao F, Long X.  Effect of pimecrolimus on oral lichen planus: a systematic review . Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2008; 8(4): 261-266

Pimecrolimus for the Treatment of Adults with Atopic Dermatitis, Seborrheic Dermatitis, or Psoriasis: A Review of Clinical and Cost-Effectiveness [Internet]

Due to the expanded clinical use of pimecrolimus, a review of both the evidence of its efficacy and of its potential economic evaluation is of importance for a more evidence- based clinical and policy decision making process. This is particularly relevant in reference to three clinical conditions: adult atopic dermatitis, adult seborrheic dermatitis, and adult psoriasis.

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Summaries for consumers

Topical pimecrolimus for eczema

This review of clinical trials aimed to find out whether topical pimecrolimus is better than topical corticosteroids or tacrolimus for treating eczema in infants, children and adults by assessing the improvement of eczema and adverse events associated with treatments.

Topical treatments for psoriasis

Mild psoriasis can usually be treated effectively using medication applied directly to the skin (topical treatments). Corticosteroids and vitamin D analogues have proven to help and be well tolerated. The treatment options for psoriasis include medication applied to the skin, phototherapy, and medication that is swallowed or injected. Topical (externally applied) treatments are often effective in mild to moderate cases of psoriasis. The medications are applied to the affected areas of skin (plaques) in the form of ointments, creams, solutions or foams. The type of product used will depend on various factors, including the location of the plaque and the condition of the skin. Some people only use the medication during acute episodes of psoriasis, while others use it regularly as a long-term treatment. It is then applied to the affected areas of skin during "quieter" phases too, with the aim of preventing further flare-ups. In order to avoid side effects, steroid medications aren't applied every day, but rather on two days per week – for instance at weekends. In addition to using medicated topical treatments, people are advised to take good care of their skin, for instance by using lipid-replenishing ointments or creams (emollients) to moisturize it. The aim of this continuous basic treatment is to relieve itching and prevent the skin from drying out.

Eczema: Steroids and other topical medications

A lot of people are wary of steroids. If used properly, though, they rarely lead to side effects. And they are only used for acute flare-ups, not for long-term treatment. Preventive intermittent treatment with topical corticosteroids can help with frequent flare-ups. In mild eczema, a special skin care routine may be enough to keep the condition at bay. If the skin is inflamed and itchy, a topical corticosteroid ointment or cream is used on the rash too. Topical means “applied to the skin.” These products can effectively reduce the itching and inflammation. They are used until the symptoms go away. If for some reason steroids shouldn’t be used, the medications pimecrolimus or tacrolimus can be considered. These belong to a group of medications called calcineurin inhibitors. They are used if, for instance, sensitive areas such as the face or genitals are affected.

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