Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Pimecrolimus Safety Letter

The manufacturer of Pimecrolimus (Elidel®) has written to healthcare professionals regarding rare reports of cancers in patients using pimecrolimus. Based on current data, the letter states, "a causal link can neither be confirmed nor refuted."

The letter reiterates the EMEA recommendations made earlier this year, reported here. It recommends that:

  • It should only be prescribed for short term and intermittent long term therapy of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis where use of topical steroids is inadvisable or not possible.
  • It is not recommended for use in those aged under 2 years.
  • Treatment should only be initiated by clinicians with experience in diagnosis and treatment of atopic dermatitis.
  • It should not be used in immunocompromised patients.
  • It should be applied sparingly twice a day to affected areas only.
  • Once the affected area has cleared, treatment should be discontinued.
  • If no improvement after 6 weeks or in case of disease exacerbation, diagnosis should be re-evaluated and other treatments considered.
  • Avoid use on potentially malignant or pre-malignant skin conditions.

Action: Clinicians should be aware of these recommendations and ensure they are being followed.

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