What is Elidel?

Elidel (pimecrolimus) is an immunosuppressant. It works by weakening your body’s defense system (immune system) to help your skin condition.

Elidel is used to treat the symptoms of eczema (atopic dermatitis).

Elidel may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Health Benefits

Elidel offers a number of potential health benefits.

For instance, it may help to:

Reduce inflammation

Suppress the immune system

Treat eczema

Inhibit the growth of certain types of cancer cells

Side Effects & Safety

Elidel is generally considered safe for most people. However, it may cause some side effects, such as burning, stinging, itching, and redness at the application site. It may also cause headaches, diarrhea, and nausea. If these effects are severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Rare but serious side effects have been reported with Elidel, including:

Cataracts

Skin infections

Herpes simplex

Serious allergic reactions

Elidel should not be used on broken or inflamed skin. It should also be avoided by people who are allergic to Elidel or any of its ingredients.

Dosages

Elidel is available in cream and ointment form. It’s applied to the affected area of skin two or three times per day.

The recommended dosage for adults and children over 2 years old is:

For mild eczema: Apply a thin layer of Elidel 2 times per day

For moderate eczema: Apply a thin layer of Elidel 3 times per day

For severe eczema: Apply a thin layer of Elidel 4 times per day

If your symptoms don’t improve after 6 weeks of treatment, talk to your doctor. They may recommend a different treatment.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Elidel is not recommended for use during pregnancy. There’s some concern that it may be linked to an increased risk of cancer in pregnant women and their babies. If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.

Elidel is also not recommended for use during breastfeeding. It’s not known if Elidel passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. If you’re breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.

Interactions

Elidel may interact with other medications or supplements you’re taking. To avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell them about all the medications and supplements you take, even if they’re natural. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbs, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Never stop taking a medication without first talking to your doctor.

Elidel cream and ointment are both available in generic form.

Mechanism of Action

Elidel works by inhibiting the production of certain immune cells that are involved in the inflammatory process. In doing so, it helps to reduce inflammation and the symptoms of eczema. Elidel may also have anti-tumor effects and may help to inhibit the growth of certain types of cancer cells.

Pharmacokinetics

Elidel is rapidly absorbed through the skin and has an elimination half-life of 12 to 18 hours. It’s metabolized in the liver and excreted in the urine.

Clinical Trials

Elidel has been studied extensively in clinical trials. In a study of 1,119 infants and children with eczema, Elidel was found to be effective in treating the condition. The most common side effects were mild and included burning, stinging, itching, and redness at the application site.

Another study of 380 adults with eczema found that Elidel was significantly more effective than the placebo in reducing the symptoms of eczema. The most common side effects were also mild and included burning, stinging, itching, and redness at the application site.

Elidel has also been studied in people with cancer. In one study of 30 people with skin cancer, Elidel was found to be effective in treating the condition. The most common side effect was redness at the application site.