What is PIMECROLIMUS?
(PIMECROLIMUS) Pimecrolimus is used to treat certain skin conditions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis) in people who should not use or have not responded to other eczema medications (such as topical steroids). Eczema is an allergic-type condition that causes red, irritated, and itchy skin. This drug works by changing the skin's defense (immune) system, thereby decreasing the allergic reaction that causes eczema. Pimecrolimus belongs to a class of drugs known as topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs). This medication is not recommended if you have a history of a certain rare genetic disorder (Netherton's syndrome). Also, this medication should not be used by anyone who has a weakened immune system (such as following an organ transplant).
How should I use PIMECROLIMUS?
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using pimecrolimus and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions regarding the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Wash your hands with soap and water before using this medication. Apply a thin layer to the affected areas of skin as directed by your doctor, usually twice daily. Rub the medication into the skin gently and completely. Wash your hands after using this product unless your hands are being treated. If your doctor recommends a moisturizer, apply it after this medication. Pimecrolimus is for use on the skin only. Avoid getting this medication in your eyes or on the inside of your nose or mouth. Do not apply this medication to open wounds or infected areas. Do not cover the treated area with plastic or waterproof bandages unless directed to do so by your doctor. Do not bathe, shower or swim right after applying this medication. Use this medication exactly as directed. Your doctor may instruct you to stop using it once your eczema has cleared up and to start using it again if signs or symptoms reappear. Consult your doctor for details. Inform your doctor if your condition does not improve after 6 weeks of using this medication or if your condition worsens at any time.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take PIMECROLIMUS?
Before using pimecrolimus, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: current infections (such as mononucleosis), use of light therapy (such as UVA or UVB), skin infections (such as herpes, chickenpox, shingles, warts), immune system problems. This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
What may interact with PIMECROLIMUS?
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug are: topical steroids, other ointments/lotions/creams.
What should I watch for while using PIMECROLIMUS?
Patients have benefited from use of pimecrolimus when it is used correctly. Long-term safety for this drug is not known at this time. There have been rare reports of cancers (such as skin cancer, lymphoma) in patients using pimecrolimus. It is not known whether pimecrolimus caused these cancers when used on the skin. Further studies to determine the long-term safety of this product are ongoing. In the unlikely event that unusual lumps, swollen glands, or growths (especially on the skin) occur, contact your doctor right away. The FDA recommends the following: This drug should be used only if other drugs have failed or if other medications are not considered appropriate by your doctor. Pimecrolimus should be used on the skin for short treatment periods only. If needed, treatment may be repeated with breaks in between. Use the smallest amount that will treat your condition properly, and apply only on the affected skin. Also, this medication should not be used by children younger than 2 years. As with all medications, discuss the risks, benefits, and proper use of this medication with your doctor.
What if I miss a dose of PIMECROLIMUS?
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Use your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
What side effects may I notice from receiving PIMECROLIMUS?
Mild burning or irritation at the application site may occur during the first few days of treatment. Headache may also occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever). A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Where should I keep PIMECROLIMUS?
Store at room temperature. Do not freeze. Make sure the cap on the tube is tightly closed. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.