Elidel (pimecrolimus) is a brand-name drug that’s prescribed to treat atopic dermatitis in certain adults and children. Elidel comes as a topical cream that’s typically applied to the skin twice per day.

Elidel is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat mild to moderate atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema). It’s prescribed to certain adults and some children ages 2 years and older.

Elidel is typically prescribed to people who:

  • cannot use other topical drugs, and
  • have tried other topical drugs in the past that didn’t work

Elidel belongs to a drug class called calcineurin inhibitors. Elidel is available in a generic version.

Keep reading for specific information about the dosage of Elidel, including its strength and how to use the medication. For a comprehensive look at Elidel, see this article.

Note: This article describes the typical dosage for Elidel provided by the drug’s manufacturer. When applying Elidel, always follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor.

Below is information about Elidel’s recommended dosage.

Elidel form

Elidel comes as a topical cream that you apply to the affected areas of your skin.

Elidel strength

Elidel comes in one strength: 1%. This means that 1 gram (g) of Elidel cream contains 10 milligrams (mg) of pimecrolimus.

Elidel comes in a tube that’s available in three sizes: 30 g, 60 g, and 100 g.

Typical dosages

Your doctor will most likely prescribe the smallest dosage for the shortest amount of time that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly prescribed or recommended. However, be sure to follow the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for eczema

Doctors may prescribe Elidel to treat mild to moderate atopic dermatitis. The typical dosage of Elidel is a thin layer of cream applied twice per day to skin affected by atopic dermatitis.

Children’s dosage

Elidel is approved to treat mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in children ages 2 years and older. Elidel should not be prescribed to children younger than age 2 years.*

The dosage for children is the same as the dosage for adults. Apply a thin layer of cream twice per day to the areas of skin affected by atopic dermatitis.

Talk with your child’s doctor or a pharmacist if you have questions about the dosage of Elidel for children.

* Elidel has a boxed warning from the FDA that specifies the ages at which Elidel can be used in children. A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. See the boxed warning section above for additional information.

Long-term treatment

Elidel isn’t meant to be a long-term treatment. Treatment with Elidel for longer than 1 year hasn’t been studied.* Your doctor will typically prescribe Elidel for the shortest amount of time needed to treat your atopic dermatitis symptoms.

Your doctor will likely recommend that you stop using the cream when your eczema symptoms (such as rash, skin discoloration, or itching) go away. They will tell you what to do if your symptoms come back.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about how long you can expect to need treatment with Elidel.

* Elidel has a boxed warning from the FDA for risks associated with long-term use. A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. See the boxed warning section above for additional information.

Elidel comes as a cream that you apply to skin that’s affected by atopic dermatitis. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to apply Elidel.

You’ll apply a thin layer of the cream to your skin. You should apply the smallest amount of cream that will cover the areas of your skin affected by atopic dermatitis. You should not apply the cream to any skin that doesn’t have atopic dermatitis.

Here are some more tips for using Elidel:

  • Wash your hands before applying Elidel.
  • If you’re applying Elidel after a bath or shower, make sure your skin is completely dry before applying the cream.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water again after applying the cream (unless you’re treating atopic dermatitis on your hands). If you’re applying Elidel cream to another person, wash your hands with soap and water after applying it to their skin.
  • Avoid showering, bathing, or swimming right after you apply Elidel. This could wash off the cream.
  • Do not use bandages, dressings, or wraps to cover the area where Elidel is applied. Doing so can cause more of the drug than is recommended to be absorbed into your body.
  • During treatment with Elidel cream, try to limit or avoid exposure to the sun. This includes the use of artificial sunlight, such as from tanning beds, sun lamps, or UV light therapy. If you must be in the sun, wear loose-fitting clothing that covers the treated areas. Your doctor can recommend additional ways to protect your skin from the sun.
  • Do not use Elidel on the eyes, nose, mouth, rectum, or vagina.

If you have any questions on how to apply Elidel cream, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.


Some pharmacies offer labels with large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy doesn’t have these options, your doctor or pharmacist might be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.

If you’re having difficulty opening medication bottles, ask your pharmacist about putting Elidel in an easy-open container. They also may recommend tools that can make it easier to open bottles.

If you miss a dose of Elidel, apply it as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time to apply your next dose, skip the missed dose and apply your regular dose at the next scheduled time. Do not apply extra cream to try and make up for the missed dose.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or putting a note where you’ll see it, such as on your bathroom mirror or bedside table. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Do not apply more Elidel than your doctor recommends. This could lead to unwanted or harmful side effects.

If you use more than the recommended amount of Elidel

Call your doctor right away if you believe you’ve applied too much Elidel. Another option is to call America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number or go to the nearest emergency room.

Below are some frequently asked questions about Elidel.

How long does it take for Elidel to start working?

Elidel starts to work after you apply the first dose. Because of how the drug works, you likely won’t feel it working. In clinical trials of Elidel, symptom reduction was typically reported within the first few weeks of treatment with the drug. Your doctor will monitor you during treatment to check whether the drug is working to treat your condition.

If your symptoms worsen or don’t ease within 6 weeks, your doctor may reexamine your skin to make sure you have atopic dermatitis, to recommend another treatment option, or both.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about what to expect with Elidel treatment.

Is the dosage of Elidel similar to the dosage of Lidex?

No, it isn’t. Elidel and Lidex are both medications that can be prescribed to treat eczema. However, Elidel and Lidex (fluocinonide) have different dosages.

Elidel is a cream that’s applied to the skin twice per day. Lidex, on the other hand, is an ointment that’s applied to the skin two to four times per day, depending on the severity of the condition being treated.

To learn more about how these drugs compare, talk with your doctor.

The dosages in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Elidel for you, they will prescribe the dosage that’s right for you. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes.

As with any drug, never change your dosage of Elidel without your doctor’s recommendation. If you have questions about the dosage of Elidel that’s best for you, talk with your doctor.

Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Elidel. These additional articles might be helpful:

  • More about Elidel: For information about other aspects of Elidel, refer to this article.
  • List of other drugs for eczema: For information about other drugs for treating eczema, explore this page.
  • Details about eczema: For details about eczema, see our eczema hub.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.