Objective: The safety and efficacy of a 1% cream formulation of pimecrolimus, a selective, nonsteroid immunomodulator, was studied in infants with atopic dermatitis (AD).
Methods: During a 6-week double-blind phase, 186 infants with mild/moderate AD were randomly assigned to twice-daily pimecrolimus cream 1% or vehicle. All patients were subsequently treated with open-label pimecrolimus for 20 weeks.
Results: At the end of the double-blind phase, 54.5% and 23.8% of patients in the pimecrolimus and vehicle groups, respectively, were clear or almost clear of AD (P <.001). Similar improvements were observed in the Eczema Area and Severity Index, pruritus assessment, and the care giver's assessment. By the first return visit, 69.9% and 36.5% of pimecrolimus and vehicle-treated patients, respectively, achieved absent or mild pruritus. Efficacy during the double-blind phase was maintained throughout the open-label phase. Vehicle-treated patients transferring to open-label pimecrolimus rapidly achieved disease control comparable to those receiving continuous pimecrolimus. There were no significant differences between groups in application site reactions or skin infections. Most adverse events were mild or moderate and unrelated to treatment.
Conclusions: Pimecrolimus was safe in infants with AD, with rapid and sustained efficacy. Pimecrolimus holds promise as a valuable new treatment option for the youngest patients with AD.