Tacrolimus ointment is more effective than pimecrolimus cream with a similar safety profile in the treatment of atopic dermatitis: Results from 3 randomized, comparative studies

Amy Paller*, Mark Lebwohl, Alan B. Fleischer, Richard Antaya, Richard G. Langley, Robert S. Kirsner, Robin R. Blum, M. Joyce Rico, Eileen Jaracz, Andrew Crowe, Gregory J. Linowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

112 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To compare the efficacy and safety of tacrolimus ointment and pimecrolimus cream in adult and pediatric patients with mild to very severe atopic dermatitis (AD). Methods: One thousand and sixty-five patients were randomized to treatment in 3 multicenter, randomized, investigator-blinded, 6-week studies. Results: Based on the Eczema Area Severity Index (EASI), tacrolimus ointment was more effective than pimecrolimus cream at the end of the study in adults (54.1% vs. 34.9%, respectively; P < .0001), in children with moderate/severe disease (67.2% vs. 56.4%, respectively; P =. 04), in the combined analysis (52.8% vs. 39.1%, respectively; P < .0001), and at week 1 in children with mild disease (39.2% vs. 31.2%, respectively; P = .04). Tacrolimus was also more effective than pimecrolimus based on the Investigator Global AD Assessment (IGADA), improvement in percentage of total body surface area affected, and improvement in itch scores (P ≤ .05), with a faster onset of action. There was no significant difference in the incidence of adverse events (AEs), including application site reactions in the 2 studies involving 650 children. Adults treated with tacrolimus experienced a greater number of local application site reactions on day 1; both groups reported a similar incidence of application site reactions thereafter. More pimecrolimus-treated patients than tacrolimus-treated patients withdrew from the studies because of a lack of efficacy (P ≤ .03) or adverse events (P = .002; pediatric mild). Conclusion: Tacrolimus ointment is more effective and has a faster onset of action than pimecrolimus cream in adults and children with AD; their safety profiles are similar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)810-822
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume52
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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