Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Friday, February 25, 2005

Elidel and Protopic Linked to Cancer

The FDA reports that Pimecrolimus (Elidel) and Tacrolimus (Protopic) are linked with development of skin cancers and lymphoma. Oops. As a pediatric allergist/immunologist who has prescribed both of these a fair amount this makes me a bit scared. I've also used them off label for kids <2, although apparently no cancers have been seen in this age group.

Both medicines act by inhibiting T cells and when used systemically Tacrolimus predisposes to lymphoma, so the mechanism is plausible.

Of course, both medicines, and Elidel in particular were heavily marketed as "steroid free" since parents are so steroid-phobic. I sometimes explain to parents "these medicines are powerful immunosuppressants originally designed for organ transplant recipients. Some cowboy decided to make a cream out of them and put them on the skin of kids with atopic dermatitis. Now do you feel better that you aren't using steroids, which have been used for years with minimal side effects when used correctly?"

The overall risk is quite low. According to the link, there were nearly 5 million combined prescriptions in a year and maybe 27 total malignancies over several years. Of course, this is a passive reporting system, so it underestimates risk.

8 Comments:

At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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I have a cervix cancer site. It pretty much covers cervix cancer related stuff.

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At 1:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just prescribed Eladil for perioral dermatitis, and did a little research online, pulling up your blog post about its relationship to cancer, as well as several other sites about that same link.

Are there particular alternatives I should quiz my doctor about, or research on my own? As a fair-skinned redhead living in our increasingly polluted world, deliberately increasing exposure to things linked to cancer is of little interest!

 
At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used Elidel and Protopic and got cancer on the exact site of application (breast & lymph nodes/underarm). I used for approximately 11 months. I think these drugs are very dangerous. I'd like to hear from others who have used these drugs. Thanks email: rtrmreilly@yahoo.com

 
At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been using Protopic for a month and a half now on two of my fingers on my right hand, and only today happened to discover the cancer risk online. For one thing, I am absolutely furious that my doctor never alerted me to this risk, and the medication instructions indicate no risk of this either! I will no longer use this cream. Do I have reason to be greatly concerned?

 
At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I WAS PRESCRIBED ELIDEL SEVERAL YEARS AGO FOR ECZEMA ON BOTH OF MY FEET AND HANDS. I USED IT AND DID NOT GET ANY RELIEF AS A MATTER OF FACT MY SKIN BECAME REDDENED . NOW I AM EXPERIENCING A FLARE UP AND DECIDED TO GIVE IT ANOTHER TRY. ONCE AGAIN MY SKIN IS REDDENED , THIN,EXTREMELY ITCHY, I CANT GROW A DECENT LAYER OF SKIN ON THESE AREAS FOR ALL THE SCRATCHING AND THE SKIN IS VERY FRAGILE.
I THREW THE TUBE IN THE GARBAGE.
THIS STUFF SCARES ME EVEN MORE THAN CORTISONE.
DONT USE ELIDEL ESPECIALLY ON CHILDREN.

 
At 9:09 AM, Anonymous kamagra said...

I read a little report of this in national geographic magazine, supposedly a scientist in germany have discover a way to prevent this happen.

 
At 1:29 AM, Anonymous vicodin 5 500 mg dosage said...

glad to hear the risk is low... u make me scare dr...


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