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Steroid-Free Ointment OKd for Skin Ailment

Elidel cream will be marketed to treat eczema

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19, 2001 (HealthDayNews) -- Elidel, the first non-steroidal prescription cream for the treatment of a form of eczema, has been given marketing approval by the FDA.

Manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Elidel Cream (pimecrolimus) is used for atopic dermatitis. The cream can be used by patients who haven't responded to conventional cortisone treatments or can't tolerate the side effects.

Long-term use of cortisteroids has given rise to studies that indicate some serious side-effects, such as skin thinning and growth retardation in children.

A year-long study of 713 children and teens between the ages of 2 and 17 showed 51 percent of those who received Elidel at the first sign of atopic dermatitis had no disease flares or need of topical corticosteroids. Only 28 percent of those receiving conventional treatment were flare-free during the study.

The most common side-effect is a sensation of warmth or burning where the cream is applied. It's usually mild and disappears quickly.

Elidel will be available in the United States in early 2002. For more information on atopic dermatitis, see the National Eczema Association for Science and Education.

Here is how Elidel's use was reported in the Pharmaceutical Journal.

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