Efficacy and safety of ruxolitinib cream for the treatment of atopic dermatitis: Results from 2 phase 3, randomized, double-blind studies

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2021 Oct;85(4):863-872. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2021.04.085. Epub 2021 May 4.


Background: Ruxolitinib (RUX) cream demonstrated potent anti-inflammatory and antipruritic efficacy in a phase 2 study in adults with atopic dermatitis (AD).

Objective: To evaluate 8-week efficacy and safety in 2 phase 3 studies of RUX cream in patients with AD.

Methods: Topical Ruxolitinib Evaluation in Atopic Dermatitis Study 1 (NCT03745638) and Study 2 (NCT03745651) enrolled patients aged ≥12 years with AD for ≥2 years, an Investigator's Global Assessment score of 2/3, and 3%-20% affected body surface area. Patients were randomized 2:2:1 to twice-daily 0.75% RUX cream, 1.5% RUX cream, or vehicle cream for 8 continuous weeks. The primary endpoint was Investigator's Global Assessment treatment success at week 8 (Investigator's Global Assessment score of 0/1 and ≥2-grade improvement from baseline).

Results: In the Topical Ruxolitinib Evaluation in Atopic Dermatitis Study 1 and 2, 631 and 618 patients were randomized (631/577 analyzed for efficacy). Significantly more patients achieved Investigator's Global Assessment treatment success with 0.75% RUX cream (50.0%/39.0%) and 1.5% RUX cream (53.8%/51.3%) versus vehicle (15.1%/7.6%; P < .0001) at week 8. Significant itch reductions versus vehicle were reported within 12 hours of first application of 1.5% RUX (P < .05). Application site reactions were infrequent (<1%) and lower with RUX versus vehicle; none were clinically significant.

Limitations: Longer-term safety data are not yet available.

Conclusions: RUX cream showed anti-inflammatory and prompt antipruritic effects with superior efficacy versus vehicle and was well tolerated.

Keywords: JAK inhibitor; Janus kinase; atopic dermatitis; itch; ruxolitinib; topical.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antipruritics / therapeutic use
  • Dermatitis, Atopic* / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Atopic* / drug therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eczema*
  • Emollients / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Nitriles
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antipruritics
  • Emollients
  • Nitriles
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • ruxolitinib

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03745638
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03745651