Elidel is a prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001. Elidel is approved to treat mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis in people ages two years and older. In cases of psoriasis, Elidel may be prescribed for use on sensitive areas such as the face, skin folds, or genitals. Elidel is also known by its drug name, pimecrolimus.
Elidel should not be used by anyone with active infections, a compromised immune system, or a history of hypersensitivity to pimecrolimus. Elidel may not be suitable for use by pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding.
Elidel is an immunosuppressant, or drug that suppresses the immune system. It is believed that Elidel works in cases of psoriasis by controlling inflammation.
How do I take it?
Elidel is available as a topical cream. Elidel is applied to the affected areas twice a day. Apply Elidel at the same times each day. Only apply Elidel to dry skin. Elidel should not be applied to broken or infected skin. Avoid getting Elidel into your eyes or mouth or on unaffected areas of skin. Be careful not to wash Elidel off your skin immediately after applying it. If you apply a moisturizing product, first apply Elidel and allow it to absorb completely into your skin. Wash your hands thoroughly after applying Elidel, unless you have applied it to affected areas on your hands.
Avoid exposure to people with viruses such as chickenpox, shingles, and measles while using Elidel. If you believe you have been exposed to a virus, notify your doctor.
Ask your doctor about drinking alcohol and consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice while using Elidel.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds while using Elidel. Cover skin with clothing or sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher if you go out into the sunshine.
Do not wrap or apply bandages to the area treated with Elidel cream unless your doctor instructs you to.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when using Elidel.
A 2013 article reviewed the clinical literature on pimecrolimus (Elidel) as a treatment for psoriasis. The authors conclude that pimecrolimus is an effective treatment for psoriasis occurring on the face, genitals, and skin folds, but recommend that further studies are needed.
Side effects of Elidel may include stinging, burning, or itching. These symptoms may ease after a few days when your body becomes accustomed to the drug.
In rare cases, Elidel may increase your risk of developing skin cancer. The risk is increased if you apply Elidel to broken or infected skin.
Inform your doctor if you develop flu-like symptoms, ear pain or discharge, cold sores, blisters, swelling in your extremities, or a worsening of your psoriasis while using Elidel.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that, in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.