Pimecrolimus identifies a common genomic anti-inflammatory profile, is clinically highly effective in psoriasis and is well tolerated

J Invest Dermatol. 2002 Oct;119(4):876-87. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1747.2002.00694.x.


The ascomycin macrolactam pimecrolimus is a novel inflammatory cytokine release inhibitor that so far has not been administered systemically to humans. In this phase I/II randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled, multiple rising dose proof of concept study psoriasis patients were treated with oral pimecrolimus or placebo. Gene profiling identified a common genomic profile with a downregulation of genes associated with inflammation but no changes in gene expression linked to drug-related side-effects. A steady state of pimecrolimus was reached after 5-10 d, Cmax, and area under the curve (0-24) was 54.5 ng per ml and 589.9 ng h per ml, respectively, at steady state at the highest dose. There was clear clinical efficacy in patients receiving 20 mg pimecrolimus twice daily and 30 mg twice daily with a reduction of Psoriasis Area and Severity Index by 60% and 75%, respectively. Histopatho logically and immunopathologically there was a reversion of the psoriatic phenotype towards normal. There were no notable clinical, laboratory, kidney function, or immunologic side-effects. We conclude that pimecrolimus taken orally is highly effective in a concentration-dependent manner in patients with psoriasis and on a short-term basis it is well tolerated and this is confirmed by its pharmacogenomic profile. The latter also indicates that pimecrolimus should be equally effective in other inflammatory skin diseases.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / genetics
  • Psoriasis / immunology
  • Recurrence
  • Tacrolimus / adverse effects
  • Tacrolimus / analogs & derivatives*
  • Tacrolimus / pharmacokinetics
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • pimecrolimus
  • Tacrolimus