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 S. 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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

111 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 - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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