To evaluate pimecrolimus cream 1% and tacrolimus ointment 0.03% in pediatric patients with moderate atopic dermatitis (AD).
141 patients (aged 2-17 years) were randomized to treatment with pimecrolimus cream 1% (n=71) or tacrolimus ointment 0.03% (n=70) twice daily for 6 weeks.
At day 4, local, application-site reactions were less common and of shorter duration with pimecrolimus than with tacrolimus. Incidence of erythema/irritation was 8% (6/71) with pimecrolimus compared with 19% (13/70) with tacrolimus (P=.039). Fewer patients receiving pimecrolimus (0%, 0/6) experienced erythema/irritation lasting >30 minutes, compared with those receiving tacrolimus (85%, 11/13; P <.001). Fewer patients reported itching with pimecrolimus (8%; 6/71) than with tacrolimus (20%; 14/70; P=.073). Incidence of warmth, stinging, and burning was similar in both groups; however, reactions lasting >30 minutes were fewer with pimecrolimus (0%, 0/14) than with tacrolimus (67%, 8/12; P <.001). More patients receiving pimecrolimus rated ease of application as 'excellent' or 'very good', compared with tacrolimus (76% vs 59%, respectively; P <.020). Efficacy was similar in both groups at day 43. Both treatments were generally well tolerated with no unexpected adverse events.
Pimecrolimus cream 1% had better formulation attributes and local tolerability than tacrolimus ointment 0.03% while providing similar efficacy and overall safety in pediatric patients with moderate AD.