Pimecrolimus 1% cream is an effective, non-corticosteroid, topical antiinflammatory treatment for atopic dermatitis (AD). The aim of this article was to review published clinical data that have examined how pimecrolimus can address the medical needs of AD patients. Clinical studies have demonstrated that early treatment with pimecrolimus decreases the progression to disease flares, rapidly improves pruritus and significantly enhances quality of life. Patients find the formulation easy to apply, which may result in improved adherence with the treatment regimen. Pimecrolimus, in contrast to topical corticosteroids (TCSs), does not induce skin atrophy or epidermal barrier dysfunction and is highly effective for the treatment of AD in sensitive skin areas. Furthermore, pimecrolimus reduces the incidence of skin infections compared with TCSs and is not associated with other TCS-related side effects such as striae, telangiectasia and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis suppression. An additional benefit of pimecrolimus is its substantial steroid sparing effect. On the basis of these data, a new treatment algorithm for patients with mild-to-moderate AD is proposed in which pimecrolimus is recommended as a first line therapy for patients with established mild AD at the first signs and symptoms of disease. Pimecrolimus is also recommended for mild-to-moderate AD after initial treatment with a TCS. After resolution of lesions, maintenance treatment with pimecrolimus may effectively prevent subsequent disease flares. In conclusion, the clinical profile of pimecrolimus suggests that it may be considered the drug of choice for the treatment of mild-tomoderate AD in children as well as adults and particularly in sensitive skin areas.
- Atopic dermatitis
- Topical calcineurin inhibitor
- Topical corticosteroid
- Treatment algorithm
ASJC Scopus subject areas