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Precautions and Warnings With Pimecrolimus

Although pimecrolimus is an effective eczema treatment for many people, it can increase the risk for skin reactions, cancer, and infections in some people. Because this medicine is not suitable for everyone, make sure your healthcare provider is aware of any other medications you are taking. Also, pimecrolimus safety precautions include warnings of potential risks for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to using pimecrolimus (Elidel®) if you have:
  • A history of, or currently have, lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes), skin cancer, or any other type of cancer
  • A rare genetic skin condition called Netherton's syndrome
  • Any infection on your skin, including chickenpox or herpes
  • A weakened immune system due to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), or any other cause
  • Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Pimecrolimus Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using this medication include the following:
  • There have been rare reports of certain types of cancer, including skin cancer and lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes), in people using pimecrolimus and other similar medications. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice any skin changes or develop lumps in your neck, underarms, or groin area (swollen lymph nodes), as these could be signs of skin cancer or lymphoma.
  • This medicine may increase your risk for infections, including skin infections such as chickenpox, shingles, and warts. To reduce your risk for these infections, do not use more pimecrolimus than necessary or use it more often than prescribed. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you have sores on your skin that do not heal, or notice any symptoms of an infection, such as:
    • Fever
    • Muscle aches
    • Sweats
    • Chills.
  • Pimecrolimus may cause skin reactions, such as burning, stinging, redness, soreness, or itching, on areas of the skin where you apply the medicine. These reactions are more common when you first start using the cream, and should subside as your eczema improves. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience severe skin reactions, or if they do not go away after about a week.
  • This medication should only be used in people who otherwise have a healthy immune system (are not immunocompromised).
  • You should avoid prolonged or excessive sun exposure, including artificial sun (such as sunlamps and tanning beds) during pimecrolimus treatment -- even when the medicine is not on your skin. When you are out in the sun, protect your skin by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, such as a hat and a loose-fitting, long-sleeve shirt. Your healthcare provider can recommend an appropriate sunscreen for your skin.
  • Pimecrolimus may cause your face to flush and become red and warm when you drink alcohol, especially on the areas where you apply the medicine. Talk to your healthcare provider about possible ways to reduce this effect if it becomes bothersome for you.
  • People with certain skin conditions may have an increased risk for absorbing too much pimecrolimus through the skin into the bloodstream, which could increase the risk for side effects. Make sure your healthcare provider knows your complete medical history before starting treatment. Also, make sure he or she knows if you have any type of skin infection.
  • This drug should only be applied on the skin. Avoid getting it into your eyes, nose, mouth, or other body openings, as it could cause irritation or burning. If you do get pimecrolimus in any of these areas, wipe away the medicine, and then rinse the area well with cold water.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen, or if they do not improve within six weeks of starting treatment. You may not have eczema, and could need a different treatment.
  • This cream should only be applied to areas of the skin that are affected with eczema. Also, do not apply this medicine to areas of the skin that have cancer or pre-cancer.
  • This product is a pregnancy Category C medication, which means it may not be safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using this medication while pregnant (see Elidel and Pregnancy).
  • It is unknown if pimecrolimus passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to using this product (see Elidel and Breastfeeding).
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Pimecrolimus Drug Information

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