To compare the efficacy and safety of tacrolimus ointment 0.1% and pimecrolimus cream 1% in adult patients with moderate to very severe atopic dermatitis (AD).
A total of 281 patients (141 treated with tacrolimus and 140 treated with pimecrolimus) were randomized to a multicenter, investigator-blinded, 6-week study.
Tacrolimus-treated patients had significantly greater improvements in the Eczema Area Severity Index score compared with pimecrolimus-treated patients (mean percent reduction from baseline to study end: 57% vs 39%, respectively; p=0.0002). Treatment success was also significantly greater among the tacrolimus-treated patients compared with pimecrolimus-treated patients (40% vs 22% at study end; p=0.001), as was the improvement in percentage of total body surface area affected (a reduction of 49% vs 34% at study end; p=0.01). Both treatment groups had similar improvements in patient assessment of itch. There were no significant differences in the incidences of adverse events, including application-site burning and application-site pruritus, the two most commonly reported adverse events. Significantly more pimecrolimus-treated patients than tacrolimus-treated patients withdrew from the study due to lack of efficacy (10 vs 1, p=0.005).
Tacrolimus ointment is more effective than pimecrolimus cream in adults with moderate to very severe AD. Both agents have a similar safety profile.