- What is pimecrolimus, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the side effects of pimecrolimus?
- What is the dosage for pimecrolimus?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with pimecrolimus?
- Is pimecrolimus safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about pimecrolimus?
What is pimecrolimus, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Pimecrolimus is a chemical that is used to treat atopic dermatitis (eczema). Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition characterized by redness, itching, scaling, and inflammation of the skin. The cause of atopic dermatitis is not known; however, scientists believe that it may be due to activation of the immune system by various environmental or emotional triggers. Scientists do not know exactly how pimecrolimus reduces the manifestations of atopic dermatitis, but pimecrolimus reduces the action of T-cells and mast cells which are part of the immune system and contribute to responses of the immune system. Pimecrolimus prevents the activation of T-cells by blocking the effects of chemicals (cytokines) released by the body that stimulate T-cells. Pimecrolimus also reduces the ability of mast cells to release chemicals that promote inflammation. Pimecrolimus was approved by the FDA in December 2001.
What brand names are available for pimecrolimus?
Is pimecrolimus available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for pimecrolimus?
What are the side effects of pimecrolimus?
The most common side effects of pimecrolimus are:
- reactions at the site of application,
- itching, and
Other important side effects include:
- sore throat,
- stuffy nose,
- respiratory tract and
- viral infections.
Skin cancer and lymphoma have rarely occurred during treatment with pimecrolimus. Therefore, pimecrolimus should not be used for long-term treatment and should only be applied to affected areas.
What is the dosage for pimecrolimus?
Patients should completely rub in a thin layer of pimecrolimus to the affected areas twice daily. An improvement in symptoms can be seen within 8-15 days, and patients should contact their physician if there is no response after six weeks of use.
Which drugs or supplements interact with pimecrolimus?
Interactions between pimecrolimus and other drugs have not been studied. Since very little pimecrolimus is absorbed from the skin, drug interactions are not expected. However, since some pimecrolimus is absorbed, caution should be exercised when pimecrolimus is used by individuals also taking drugs (for exmaple, ketoconazole [Nizoral, Extina, Xolegel, Kuric], itraconazole [Sporanox], erythromycin, fluconazole [Diflucan], calcium channel blockers [CCBs], cimetidine [Tagamet]) that inhibit the liver enzymes that eliminate pimecrolimus and could increase the levels of pimecrolimus and promote its toxicity.
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Is pimecrolimus safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies that evaluate the use of pimecrolimus during pregnancy.
Use of pimecrolimus by nursing mothers has not been evaluated, and it is not known if pimecrolimus is excreted in breast milk. Nursing mothers should decide whether to stop nursing or use alternative treatments.
Pimecrolimus (Elidel) is a medication prescribed for the short-term treatment of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in persons who are 2 years of age or older, and who cannot use or have failed to respond to other therapies. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) Quiz:
Does dry, itchy, flaky, scaly, red, inflamed skin sound familiar to you? Take the Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) Quiz to learn more...
Picture of Atopic Dermatitis
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Psoriasis Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
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Picture of Inverse Psoriasis
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Picture of Atopic Dermatitis or Eczema
Eczema is a skin condition caused by inflammation. See a picture of Atopic Dermatitis or Eczema and learn more about the health...
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Dandruff (seborrhea) is a skin disorder that results from neither too much moisture nor too much oil. Dandruff can be treated with shampoos that contain tar, salicylic acid, zinc, selenium sulfide, or ketoconazole.
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Keratosis Pilaris (KP)
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Eczema refers to skin inflammation. There are many different types of eczema that produce symptoms and signs that range from oozing blisters to crusty plaques of skin. Treatment varies depending upon the type of eczema the person has.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition. Symptoms and signs include a red, scaling rash on the scalp, face, ears, and torso. Treatment often includes the use of a medicated shampoo and the application of a topical steroid lotion.
Eczema is a general term for many types dermatitis (skin inflammation). Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema. Other types of eczema include: contact eczema, allergic contact eczema, seborrheic eczema, nummular eczema, stasis dermatitis, and dyshidrotic eczema.
Ringworm vs. Eczema
While ringworm is a fungal infection, and eczema is a skin condition, both are characterized by itchiness. Eczema patches are leathery while ringworm involves ring formation on the skin. Over-the-counter antifungals treat ringworm. Topical creams and ointments treat eczema.
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