Active Ingredient History
Pimecrolimus, an ascomycin macrolactam derivative, is an inhibitor of T-cell and mast-cell activation, developed and launched by Novartis for the potential treatment of psoriasis and allergic, irritant and atopic dermatitis. The topical formulation had been launched in the US by February 2002 for mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis in patients aged two years and older. Pimecrolimus is an immunomodulating agent. The mechanism of action of pimecrolimus in atopic dermatitis is not known. While the following have been observed, the clinical significance of these observations in atopic dermatitis is not known. It has been demonstrated that pimecrolimus binds with high affinity to macrophilin-12 (FKBP-12) and inhibits the calcium dependent phosphatase, calcineurin. Therefore, it inhibits T cell activation by blocking the transcription of early cytokines. In particular, pimecrolimus inhibits at nanomolar concentrations Interleukin-2 and interferon gamma (Th1-type) and Interleukin-4 and Interleukin-10 (Th2-type) cytokine synthesis in human T-cells. In addition, pimecrolimus prevents the release of inflammatory cytokines and mediators from mast cells in vitro after stimulation by antigen/IgE. Following the administration of a single oral radiolabeled dose of pimecrolimus numerous circulating O-demethylation metabolites were seen. Studies with human liver microsomes indicate that pimecrolimus is metabolized in vitro by the CYP3A sub-family of metabolizing enzymes. No evidence of skin mediated drug metabolism was identified in vivo using the minipig or in vitro using stripped human skin. NCATS
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