ElidelElidel (pimecrolimus) is used to control the symptoms of atopic dermatitis (a skin disease that is also called eczema). Pimecrolimus is only used to treat patients who cannot take other medications for atopic dermatitis, or whose symptoms were not controlled by other medications. Pimecrolimus is in a class of medications called immunosuppressants. It works by stopping the immune system from producing substances that cause eczema.
ELIDEL DRUG INFO
Why is this medication prescribed?
Pimecrolimus is used to control the symptoms of atopic dermatitis (a skin disease that is also called eczema). Pimecrolimus is only used to treat patients who cannot take other medications for atopic dermatitis, or whose symptoms were not controlled by other medications. Pimecrolimus is in a class of medications called immunosuppressants. It works by stopping the immune system from producing substances that cause eczema.
How should this medicine be used?
Pimecrolimus comes as a cream to apply to the skin. It is usually applied twice a day for up to 6 weeks at a time. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Apply pimecrolimus cream exactly as directed. Do not apply more or less of it or apply it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
You should not use pimecrolimus cream regularly for a long time. You should only apply pimecrolimus cream when you have symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Call your doctor when your symptoms go away to find out if you should stop using pimecrolimus. Also call your doctor as soon as you notice that your symptoms have come back to find out if you should start using pimecrolimus again.
It may take 2 weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of pimecrolimus, but your symptoms should improve within 6 weeks. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen at any time during treatment or do not improve after 6 weeks of treatment.
To use the cream, follow these steps:
Other uses for this medicine
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Apply a thin layer of pimecrolimus cream to all affected areas of your skin. You can apply pimecrolimus to all affected skin surfaces including your head, face, and neck. Be careful not to get the cream in your eyes or mouth.
- Rub the cream into your skin gently and completely.
- Wash your hands with soap and water to remove any leftover pimecrolimus cream. Do not wash your hands if you are treating them with pimecrolimus cream.
- You may cover the treated areas with normal clothes, but do not use any bandages, dressings, or wraps.
- Be careful not to wash the cream off affected areas of your skin. Do not swim, shower, or bathe immediately after applying pimecrolimus cream.
Elidel may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using pimecrolimus topical?
Before using pimecrolimus topical, tell your doctor if you have:
- skin cancer or a skin infection (including herpes or chicken pox);
- Netherton's syndrome (a genetic skin disorder);
- a weak immune system (from cancer treatments, HIV/ AIDS or certain medicines such as steroids);
- kidney disease; or
- swelling, redness, or irritation of large areas of your skin.
If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use pimecrolimus or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.
Elidel can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to get sick from a virus such as chicken pox or herpes (cold sores or shingles). Tell your doctor if you have been exposed to any illness.
FDA pregnancy category C: This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not use pimecrolimus without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
Pimecrolimus passes into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
A small number of people have developed skin cancer after using pimecrolimus or tacrolimus (Protopic) skin medications. However, it is not known if either of these medicines causes skin cancer. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Talk to your doctor about drinking grapefruit juice while taking Elidel.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply extra cream to make up for a missed dose.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Elidel may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- burning warmth, or redness in the areas where you applied pimecrolimus (call your doctor if this lasts more than 1 week)
- red, stuffy or runny nose
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:
- sore or red throat
- flu-like symptoms
- ear pain, discharge, and other signs of infection
- warts, bumps, or other growths on skin
- swollen glands in the neck
Some patients developed skin cancer or lymph node cancer while they were using pimecrolimus cream. It is not known if pimecrolimus cream caused the cancer to develop or if the patients would have developed cancer even if they had not used the medication. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using pimecrolimus cream.
Pimecrolimus may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
If someone swallows Elidel, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Do not use pimecrolimus cream to treat a skin condition other than the one for which it was prescribed. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.