Background: Genital aphthous ulcers of Behcet's disease (BD) are painful and usually resistant to local treatments. Pimecrolimus is an ascomycin macrolactam, used in inflammatory skin diseases.
Objective: To discover if pimecrolimus can accelerate the healing of BD genital aphthous ulcers.
Methods: Ninety patients with genital aphthous ulcers were enrolled. Only patients treated with colchicine alone were selected. All patients signed a written consent form. Patients were randomly assigned to pimecrolimus or placebo cream, applied twice daily for 1 week. The primary outcome was the healing period. Up to 7 days, it was considered as a positive result. Results were compared by chi-square test. The mean healing time was compared by analysis of variance. Analyses were done both by the 'intention-to-treat' and 'treatment-completed' methods.
Results: Both groups were similar at the entry (gender, age, ulcer size, pain intensity and treatment delay). By intention-to-treat analysis, in the pimecrolimus group, 18 patients had positive and 27 negative results. In the control group, four had positive and 41 negative results. The difference was significant (chi(2) = 10.167, P = 0.001). By treatment-completed analysis, with pimecrolimus, 18 patients had positive and 22 negative results. With placebo, four had positive, and 41 negative results. The difference was significant (chi(2) = 12.574, P = 0.0004). Comparison of mean healing time in the pimecrolimus versus placebo group, demonstrated a significant acceleration both in intention-to-treat analysis (10.7 vs. 20.7 days, F = 17.466, P < 0.0001) and treatment-completed analysis (8.3 vs. 20.7 days, F = 29.289, P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: Pimecrolimus is safe and efficient in the treatment of BD genital ulcers, by accelerating the healing process.