The aim of this post hoc analysis was to evaluate whether treatment of patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) with pimecrolimus cream 1% can decrease the development of flares necessitating the use of a topical corticosteroid on the face and thus reduce the need for use of topical corticosteroids in this sensitive skin area.Patients and methods
In a controlled, double-blind, multicentre study, 140 patients, aged 2 to 17 years, with facial involvement and mild to moderate disease after treatment of the initial flare with prednicarbate 0.25% cream were randomized to an intermittent treatment with pimecrolimus cream 1% twice daily or vehicle for 24 weeks. If a flare occurred, defined as an exacerbation (unacceptable severity of itching/scratching or onset of oozing) not controlled by study medication, patients were treated with prednicarbate 0.25% cream instead.Results
Patients in the vehicle group needed prednicarbate treatment on the face on 20.7% of the days vs. 11.7% of the study days in the pimecrolimus group (P = 0.0024). Fifty per cent of patients in the pimecrolimus group had no flare on the face during the treatment period compared with 37.5% of patients in the vehicle group (P = 0.012). The median time to first flare in pimecrolimus-treated patients was twice as long as in patients receiving vehicle (138 vs. 68 days, P = 0.01). Three adverse events (one case of skin burning) suspected to be related to use of the study medication were reported for three patients (3.9%) in the pimecrolimus group.Conclusion
Long-term intermittent treatment of facial AD in children and adolescents with pimecrolimus cream 1% does significantly reduce the need for topical corticosteroids.