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What Is Pimecrolimus?

Allison Boelcke
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Pimecrolimus is a type of medication known as a topical calcineurin inhibitor and is used as a treatment option for atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis, also more commonly referred to as eczema, is a chronic condition affecting the skin that causes severe dryness, redness, and itching. The condition does not have a proven cure and a person may go for long periods of time without showing any symptoms; however, when eczema symptoms do flare up, this medication may help temporarily reduce them.

Eczema is thought to be the result of the body’s immune system malfunctioning and attacking healthy cells as if they were foreign or harmful substances, like disease, bacteria, or fungi. The immune system releases chemicals that cause inflammation as a means to protect the skin from dangerous stimuli. In the case of eczema, the immune system mistakenly reacts as if a threat was present and causes inflammation symptoms for no apparent reason. The symptoms of eczema may be treated by pimecrolimus, which works at by preventing the immune system from releasing the substances that cause inflammation.

Pimecrolimus is typically available as a topical cream that is applied directly onto the affected areas of skin to help temporarily reduce itching, swelling, redness, or other symptoms associated with eczema. It is not recommended for application near or around the rectum, vagina, nose, mouth, or eyes. Although the exact dosage recommendations may vary depending on the severity of the eczema symptoms and the strength of the medication, it is usually applied approximately twice each day only while symptoms are present and is not generally prescribed for long-term use.

There are some risks of side effects that can occur with the use of pimecrolimus; however, the most common effects do not tend to be serious and will usually subside once the body becomes used to the medication. These may include cough, sore throat or nose, or irritation on the area of the skin where the topical cream was applied. Medical attention is generally recommended with these side effects if they become worse over time. Other rare but serious side effects may also occur that will usually require emergency medical attention. These side effects include fever, swelling of the lymph nodes, unexplained new growths on the skin, shortness of breath, or signs of a new skin infection, such as puffiness, rash, itchiness, or pus leakage.

Since pimecrolimus can cause swelling of the lymph nodes, people who have preexisting conditions affecting the lymph nodes may not be recommended to use the medication. The effects of the cream on children has not been conclusively proven, so women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be prescribed a different treatment option for eczema. The medication can also cause further complications for people with bacterial or viral skin infections.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke , Former Writer
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.

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Allison Boelcke

Allison Boelcke

Former Writer

Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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