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Studies: Patients welcome Elidel non-steroid treatment for atopic eczema

BASEL, SWITZERLAND, August 29, 2003 -- New clinical evidence suggests that ease of use and patient satisfaction are important factors in achieving patient compliance and continued use of treatments for chronic condition such as atopic eczema.

The results of two new studies presented on the new steroid-free eczema treatment Elidel (pimecrolimus) Cream 1%, show that it not only prevents progression to flare and controls atopic eczema but is also considered to be easy to use by patients. Participants declared a high intention to continue with the treatment as they found the cream easy to apply and spread and appreciated that Elidel cream is not sticky.

Presenting the Elidel data at the International Symposium on Atopic Dermatitis (ISAD) in Rome, Italy, Dr Richard Langley, Director of Research, Division of Dermatology at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada, commented: "Patient compliance and satisfaction are crucial success factors for treating a chronic disease such as atopic eczema. The study results show how much patients appreciate using a new non-steroid cream that is not only efficacious and safe, but also convenient for treating their condition."

These are among the latest results of two important clinical studies with Elidel (pimecrolimus) Cream 1% reported at this medical meeting. Together, the studies involved more than 1,500 patients with atopic eczema, followed up to six months.

The first study, called NOBEL, was an international open-label clinical trial1, designed to reflect "real-life" clinical practice and involved 947 patients from 12 countries worldwide. Results showed that the majority of those who took part in the study said they would willingly incorporate Elidel into their daily skin care routine. Between 69 and 74% of patients rated Elidel as "good" or "excellent" in terms of spreadability, ease of application and rub-in, and the fact that Elidel did not feel sticky * 70% would "definitely" or "most likely":

  • continue to use Elidel after completion of the study
  • recommend Elidel to other eczema sufferers

A similar pattern emerged in the second study2, called the RAINBOW Study, to which 515 Canadian patients with atopic eczema were recruited: More than 92% of patients were satisfied with the cosmetic effects from using Elidel; 80% of patients continued to use Elidel for more than 28 days; 78% said they would almost certainly continue to use Elidel once the study had finished; 78% of those who had used ointments before preferred Elidel; 67% said they were worried for a variety of reasons about using steroid creams, especially:

  • skin thinning (77%)
  • becoming immune to steroid effects (52%)
  • other long-term concerns (59%)

Nearly one-third (29%) said these concerns had stopped them from using topical steroids prescribed by a doctor.

Leading dermatologists' and patients' group representatives confirm the importance of patient satisfaction with Elidel treatment.

Dr. Langley explained "We know that today patients wait too long before seeing their physician about their atopic eczema, which means that they experience flares that are more severe and last longer, causing significant disruption to their lives. Thus, a treatment that patients are happy to use early on and that can give them more 'flare-free' days will have a considerable positive impact."

Patient group spokesman Thomas Schwennesen, Chairman of the German Atopic Dermatitis Federation, was equally enthusiastic. He said: "All atopic eczema sufferers know how demoralized and helpless you feel when a new flare is about to start and to disrupt you and your family's life. Now there is a new treatment option that patients actually enjoy putting on their skin and feel comfortable using at the earliest signs and symptoms. We have waited for a long time for this breakthrough to bring eczema under control and enable us to lead a more normal life."

For more than half-a-century, eczema has been managed by using emollients to moisturize skin, with steroid creams to treat flares when they occur. The main drawback of such strategies is that they are essentially short-term measures to treat what is a long-term, chronic skin disorder.

Elidel is a new non-steroid cream for the treatment of atopic eczema and the prevention of flare progression, which frequently occurs with this chronic skin condition. It is an anti-inflammatory cytokine inhibitor that delivers rapid and sustained relief of pruritus (itch) and inflammation.

Source: Novartis

Posted: August 2003