Occlusive treatment of chronic hand dermatitis with pimecrolimus cream 1% results in low systemic exposure, is well tolerated, safe, and effective. An open study

Dermatology. 2003;207(1):37-42. doi: 10.1159/000070939.


Background: Pimecrolimus cream 1% (Elidel, SDZ ASM 981) is a novel, non-steroid inflammatory cytokine inhibitor, effective in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Here, we evaluate the treatment of chronic hand dermatitis with pimecrolimus cream 1%.

Objectives: To determine pimecrolimus blood concentrations, and evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy following application of pimecrolimus cream 1% to subjects with chronic hand dermatitis.

Method: In this open-label, multiple-topical-dose, non-controlled, pharmacokinetic study, pimecrolimus cream 1% was applied twice daily to dorsal and palmar areas (affected and unaffected) of both hands. Evening applications (except day 8) were immediately followed by overnight occlusion (> or =6 h). Full pharmacokinetic profile (days 1, 8 and 22), trough concentrations (days 3 and 15), physical examinations, laboratory measurements and adverse events were recorded. Efficacy was assessed via Investigators' Global Assessment (IGA), total key signs and symptoms and the subject's overall self-assessment.

Results: Twelve patients completed the study. The majority of pimecrolimus blood concentrations (73.6%) remained below the limit of quantitation (0.1 ng/ml). The maximum concentration observed was 0.91 ng/ml and the maximum area under the concentration-time curve from 0-12 h post dose was 7.6 ng.h/ml. Treatment was well tolerated locally and systemically. No serious adverse events occurred; 4/13 subjects showed a total of 6 adverse events at the application site: burning (n=4), and pruritus (n=2). No clinically relevant or drug-related changes were observed. Clear efficacy of the treatment was shown by all 3 assessment methods. Disease state at day 22 had improved in 11 (85%) subjects compared with baseline (IGA).

Conclusion: Twice daily topical treatment of moderate to severe chronic hand dermatitis with pimecrolimus cream 1% results in low pimecrolimus blood levels, is well tolerated, safe, and effective.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Biological Availability
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hand Dermatoses / diagnosis
  • Hand Dermatoses / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Male
  • Maximum Tolerated Dose
  • Middle Aged
  • Ointments
  • Tacrolimus / administration & dosage*
  • Tacrolimus / analogs & derivatives
  • Tacrolimus / pharmacokinetics*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Ointments
  • pimecrolimus
  • Tacrolimus