Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis is painful and troublesome form of skin inflammation. One major type of drug used to treat this condition is the topical immunosuppressant. This category of medication is applied to the skin of patients who do not respond to steroids.
Two specific drugs, Elidel (pimecrolimus) and Protopic (tacrolimus), approved for treatment of eczema, are not without controversy. They have been closely associated with a possible cancer risk in studies done on animals.
The FDA issued a public health advisory to doctors advising them of the possible cancer risk, but the drugs have not been pulled from the market. It is thought that until further studies have been done with human subjects, there is no basis for a recall.
An updated label approved by the FDA carries the agency's strongest caution, a "black box" warning. The label emphasizes the proper use as a second-line treatment, after attempted steroid use.
Novartis, maker of Elidel, and Astellas, maker of Protopic, have stressed that there is only a possible increase in cancer risk, but even if it is not proven, patients should be aware of the dangers.
If you feel that you or a loved one has experienced harmful side effects while using topical immunosuppressants for eczema, contact us today to find out if you may have a personal injury claim.