What Is Pimecrolimus Used For?
Adults and children as young as two years old who have atopic dermatitis (eczema) may benefit from pimecrolimus. This prescription skin cream is specifically approved to treat mild-to-moderate cases of atopic dermatitis and should only be used if other treatments have failed. It works by suppressing the immune system, which helps relieve symptoms. Pimecrolimus may also be prescribed "off-label" to treat other skin conditions.
Pimecrolimus (Elidel®) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis (eczema). It is a topical medication used in people who cannot use certain other medications, or whose symptoms are not adequately controlled by other medications.
Atopic dermatitis is a type of skin rash that causes the skin to become dry, itchy, and inflamed. The condition is often commonly called eczema, which is a general term that refers to skin inflammation from a number of different causes. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema.
Atopic dermatitis can affect any area of the skin, but most commonly occurs on the face, inside the elbows, behind the knees, and on the hands and feet. The most common symptoms include:
- Skin that appears red and scaly
- Skin that is thick and leathery
- Small raised bumps that may ooze fluid or crust over
- Itching, which may be more severe at night.
Most people with atopic dermatitis will experience periods when their symptoms are worse, or "flares," alternating with periods when the skin appears normal or has minimal symptoms. Many things can trigger atopic dermatitis flares, including irritants that contact the skin, such as certain fabrics, soaps, or perfumes, or allergens in the air, such as pollens or molds. Specific triggers can vary widely from person to person.
(Click What Makes Atopic Dermatitis Worse? for more information about possible triggers.)
Pimecrolimus is used to treat the symptoms of atopic dermatitis for short periods. The medication should be stopped once symptoms have subsided, but can be used again after a break in treatment. It is only approved for use in people who otherwise have a healthy immune system.