Charles W Lynde, MD, FAAD1, James Bergman, MD, FRCPC2, Loretta Fiorillo, MD3, Lyn Guenther, MD, FAAD4, Marissa Joseph, MD5, Jill Keddy Grant, MD6, Danielle Marcoux, MD, FAAD7, Catherine McCuaig, MD, FAAD8, Michele Ramien, MD9

1Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
2Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
3Clinical Professor, Director of Pediatric Dermatology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
4Professor, Western University, London, ON, Canada
5Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
6Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
7Division of Dermatology, Sainte-Justine University Medical Center; Clinical Professor in Pediatrics, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada
8Division of Dermatology, Sainte-Justine University Medical Center; Clinical Professor in Pediatrics, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada
9Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada

This Supplement was developed using the Authors’ Expert Opinion, supported by an unrestricted Educational Grant from Pfizer Canada.
Use crisaborole ointment in off-label settings is left up to the discretion of the treating health care professional after careful clinical evaluation.

Background: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is associated with epidermal barrier dysfunction. The chronic skin condition presents clinically with pruritus and recurrent skin lesions. The psychosocial impact of the condition is severe for most patients and their families.
Crisaborole, a topical PDE4 inhibitor, has demonstrated efficacy in patients with mild-to-moderate AD.

Objectives: A diversity of cases are presented that reflect real-world clinical use of topical crisaborole ointment, as a mechanism to help optimize patient care.

Methods: Evidence from the literature coupled with the panels’ expert opinion, experiences and, key insights reflect the panels’ clinical use of topical crisaborole ointment for AD and irritant dermatitis (off-label use) and how patients can benefit from its use, i.e., “what experienced specialists are doing across Canada.”

Results: The panel treated and presented cases that report on crisaborole ointment used as monotherapy, combination therapy, sequential therapy, and maintenance therapy. The presented cases aim to illustrate the diversity of crisaborole use concerning age range, skin type/ethnicity, and body location. Each case presents a summary of the learning points.

Conclusions: The presented cases reflect the panels’ real-world clinical experience with crisaborole for the treated patients. The panel suggested that crisaborole ointment provides a good safe alternative to TCS and TCI. Treatment with the ointment should be avoided on severely flaring skin and for those that experience irritation, burning, or stinging while testing it on unaffected skin areas.

Key Words:
Atopic dermatitis, Real-world cases, Topical PDE-4 inhibitor


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a lifelong inflammatory skin condition associated with epidermal barrier dysfunction and altered immune function, presents clinically with recurrent episodes of pruritic erythematous papules and plaques.1 AD usually starts in infancy, where it affects up to 20% of children in North America, and is also highly prevalent in adults.2 Two-thirds of AD patients are reported to have mild disease, 26% moderate, and 7% severe AD disease.3 The majority of patients are treated by primary care physicians who primarily use topical anti-inflammatory therapy for their mild-to-moderate AD cases.4-13

The psychosocial burden of AD on patients and their families is enormous.15 The inflammatory skin disease increases the risk of other immune-mediated inflammatory atopic disorders, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and food allergies, as well as mental health disorders in some.15,16

Patients with AD should use gentle cleansers and moisturizers that are balanced to the skin pH in addition to behavioural measures such as avoidance of irritants and triggers.

AD is a chronic relapsing disorder with periods of quiescence punctuated by intermittent flares. When AD flares then treatments such as topical corticosteroids (TCS), topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCI), and more recently, phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) inhibitors should be considered, while continuing skincare and measures to avoiding triggers of AD. TCS and TCI treatments are widely used as monotherapy in cases of mild-to-moderate AD or in combination with systemic treatments for more severe AD involvement. These treatment regimens are supported by clinical guidelines and clinical pathways worldwide and have an established safety record.4-13 Crisaborole ointment (Eucrisa, Pfizer), a unique topical prescription option for AD, is a PDE4 inhibitor with demonstrated efficacy in patients aged two and older with mild to moderate AD.16

The presented real-world case-based approach explores the role topical crisaborole can play in the prevention, treatment and maintenance of AD and other inflammatory skin conditions, in clinical practice. The selected patient cases aim to outline a diversity of cases that reflect real-world use of topical crisaborole ointment for patients with AD and other skin conditions, either as monotherapy or in combination with other treatments. Any discussion concerning off-label use is considered an expert opinion only.


Aim of the Project

This current real-world case project was conceived as a mechanism to help optimize patient care by recognizing the role crisaborole ointment can play in the prevention, treatment and maintenance of AD. Additionally, the project explores where this therapeutic agent could be used in managing AD in patients who require a combination of therapies. The cases intend to illustrate the authors’ real-world clinical experience rather than reflect controlled clinical trial data. Evidence coupled with the expert opinion, experiences, key insights and recommendations is presented and discussed. Recommendations given by the panel reflect the use of topical crisaborole ointment for AD and how patients can potentially benefit from its use, i.e. “what experienced specialists are doing across Canada”. Any discussion concerning off-label use is considered an expert opinion only.

The target audience for this publication is physicians and other health-care professionals who treat patients with AD.

Steps in the Process

The five-step procedure included a) project definition and panel selection, b) collection of information and preparation of cases, c) meeting to select cases for the publication, d) literature review to support the cases, and e) creation, review, and finalization of the manuscript.17

Role of the Panel

An expert panel of eight dermatologists and pediatric dermatologists, selected to represent the diverse geographical regions within Canada, who commonly treat patients with AD, was convened on November 9, 2019, in Toronto, as part of the semiannual Dermatology Update conference. The panel members reported clinical cases of pediatric and adult patients who were suitable candidates for crisaborole ointment treatment.

The panel members discussed the cases in the light of the supporting literature, then decided which cases would be included in the publication. The publication was prepared and reviewed by the panel members.

Topical Treatment for Mild-To-Moderate AD

Avoidance of triggers of AD flares and education are the first steps in the prevention, treatment, and maintenance of AD.6

Skincare Using Gentle Cleansers and Moisturizers

Skincare using gentle cleansers and moisturizers remains the cornerstone of treatment for all severities of AD. Daily use of this skincare regimen is supported by established guidelines and clinical pathways.4-13 Moisturizers play an important role in combating and controlling xerosis, decreasing epidermal water loss, and restoring epidermal barrier function.6,10 Moisturizers should be liberally and frequently applied and can be used alone for mild disease or in combination with other therapies regardless of the severity of their AD. 6,10


If avoidance of triggers and the use of a daily skincare regimen with gentle cleansers and moisturizers are not effective, topical anti-inflammatory agents, such as corticosteroids (TCSs) or calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) are used twice a day until the lesions have cleared.3-13 TCS is the first-line anti-inflammatory option, available in a variety of strengths from mild to potent and very potent.6,11 Side effects such as skin atrophy, purpura, telangiectasia, striae, focal hypertrichosis, impaired wound healing, allergic contact dermatitis, and acneiform or rosacea-like eruptions on the face are very uncommon when TCS is used appropriately.6 Both patients’ and parents’ fear of TCS and steroid phobia should be discussed to improve adherence and avoid under-treatment.6

TCI’s are another safe and effective treatment option, however short-term side effects such as skin burning, and pruritus, especially when applied to acutely inflamed skin and cutaneous viral infections, may occur.6 Patients and parents should be informed about these potential side effects to avoid premature discontinuation of treatment.6 TCIs are therapeutic agents often used for mild AD on the face, neck, and folds, and used in prevention and TCS reduction elsewhere on the body.

Systemic Therapy

For patients affected by more severe AD, agents that target immune responses and inhibit T cells by targeting Th1, Th2, Th22, phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4), IL-4, and IL-31 are available.18 Phototherapy and traditional systemic therapies, including methotrexate, cyclosporine, and mycophenolate mofetil, can also be used off-label in severe AD.

Crisaborole Ointment

Crisaborole (Eucrisa, Pfizer), a topical prescription option for AD, is a PDE4 inhibitor with demonstrated efficacy in patients aged two and older with mild to moderate AD.16 Two, multicenter phase III trials, demonstrated early sustained control of mild-to-moderate AD in patients aged over two years with crisaborole ointment use over twenty-eight days.16 When compared to the vehicle, treatment with the 2% crisaborole ointment showed reduced pruritus, AD severity, and other signs of AD (erythema, exudation, excoriation, induration/papulation, and lichenification), although clinicians have expressed concerns about stinging and burning on at application sites.16,19

A multicenter extension study indicated that crisaborole ointment for up to fifty-two weeks is safe.17 The extension study reported an overall 10.2% rate of crisaborole treatment-related adverse events such as dermatitis (3.1%), application site pain, stinging, burning (2.3%), and application site infection (1.2%).3 These events were considered mild, and no one withdrew from the study due to these adverse events.

Less common potential side effects included skin irritation and hives or welts, which may be due to underlying atopy. Given the good tolerability and safety profile, crisaborole ointment makes for an alternative steroid-sparing topical option to TCS and TCI.16

Data Gathering of Real-World Cases on Crisaborole Ointment Use

The panel members used a template for their case studies, which asked the following questions:

  • What are the cases and the impact of the condition?
  • What are the treatment options, and what treatment(s) were previously used for this case
  • Why might crisaborole ointment work in this case, where does it fit and what were the results of the treatment?
  • Did any adverse events occur? If yes, describe.
  • What (if any) are the special circumstances related to this particular case, and which lessons are learned?

Patient evaluations were at baseline (start) and at eight weeks (+/- 5 days) using physician reported skin condition (SCORing Atopic Dermatitis Clinical assessment [SCORAD] score.21 SCORAD recorded AD location and percentage area (A), Intensity (B): Redness, swelling, oozing/crusting, scratch marks, skin thickening, dryness [the intensity of each of the following signs is scored as none (0), mild (1), moderate (2) or severe (3)] and subjective symptoms (C) [Sleeplessness: 0 = no sleeplessness and 10 = the worst imaginable sleeplessness, Itch: 0 = no itch and 10 = the worst imaginable itch]). Total SCORAD is the sum of A, B, and C, minimum score = 0, maximum score = 103.21 The impact of the skin condition after treatment regime use and adverse events were recorded at baseline (start) and week 8 (+/- 5 days) (end).

Some of the physicians used quality of life for the participants 15 years or younger as assessed by Children’s Dermatology Life Quality Index (CDLQI). The minimum score is 0, and the maximum score is 30, the latter corresponds with the most severe impairment of quality of life. Other scores used were severity of itching as assessed by the Pruritus score determined using the Numerical Rating Scale (Minimum score is 0. The maximum score is 10, the latter corresponding to the most severe itching imaginable by the patient).

Selected Real-World Cases

The panel selected a total of eleven cases that reported on realworld use of crisaborole ointment as monotherapy, combination therapy, sequential therapy, maintenance therapy, preventive therapy, and its application in dermatitis beyond AD. (Table 1). The presented cases aim to illustrate the diversity of crisaborole use concerning age range, skin type/ethnicity, body location, the severity of AD, and reports of off-label use.

Case 1: A 4½-year old girl with AD since the first months of life, which had recently increased in severity. The moderate-tosevere condition involved multiple sites, including hands and feet. Previous treatment with various TCS formulations was unsuccessful. When crisaborole started, mometasone ointment was continued as needed on the lesions on her body. The rationale for starting topical 2% crisaborole ointment was the failure of previous treatments and a specific interest in improving the skin condition of her hands and feet. Her skin condition markedly improved over the eight week treatment period (Figure 1A-1J). No adverse events occurred, and the ointment was well tolerated even on the face.

Learning point: Crisaborole is a well-tolerated (even on the face) alternative for TCS and is effective on hands and feet.

Figure 1A – 1D

Figure 1E and 1F

1E: Before 1F: After shows the skin condition of the back of the hands before and after crisaborole ointment treatment.

Figure 1G and 1H

1G: Before. 1H: After shows the skin condition of the hand palms before and after crisaborole ointment treatment.

Figure 1I and 1G

1I: Before 1J: After shows the skin condition of the inner arms before and after crisaborole ointment treatment.

Case 2: For four months, a 4-year-old boy had suffered from AD, primarily on the face, antecubital, and popliteal fossa. He had almost constant pruritus and open, erythematous skin. His interaction with other children was poor, and both the patient and parents had difficulty sleeping. Previous long-term TCS treatments lacked success. Moreover, his mother was concerned about prolonged steroid use and requested trying crisaborole ointment. After eight weeks of crisaborole ointment application, his skin condition had greatly improved (Figure 2A and 2B). Although at first, the ointment caused skin irritation, this was easily alleviated with the use of a moisturizer.

Learning point: Crisaborole seems to induce irritation, burning, and stinging more frequently in clinical practice than reported in clinical trials. The patient experienced irritation, burning, and stinging in the areas where crisaborole was used. Information and education on measures to prevent or to treat these side-effects were effective. The advice given included the use of a refrigerated moisturizer, frequently applied before and after application of the ointment to optimize crisaborole results and decrease irritation. The mother was encouraged to continue treatment after the physician discussed the expected outcomes of the therapy. The irritation was alleviated with the use of a moisturizer as instructed.

Figure 2A and 2B

2A: Before. 2B: After shows the skin condition of the antecubital fossa before and after crisaborole ointment treatment.

Case 3: A 29-year-old neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse developed hand dermatitis one year ago. During work, she frequently used a hand sanitizer causing pruritus and painful fissures. She had a negative history for AD, and other atopic disorders and Patch tests were negative. The eruptions cleared when she was on holiday. After consultation with the occupational health department for help and guidance, she received a special hand sanitizer. She refused TCS as she was concerned about developing skin thinning. Within eight weeks of starting crisaborole ointment, the condition had resolved. The ointment was well tolerated, and she resumed her work as a NICU nurse (Figure 3A and 3B).

Learning point: The patient with occupational irritant hand dermatitis did not want to use TCS. The alternative treatment with crisaborole ointment was successful for this patient. Use of crisaborole in the treatment of irritant contact hand dermatitis is off-label.

Figure 3A and 3B

3A: Before. 3B: After shows irritant hand dermatitis of the palms before and after crisaborole ointment treatment.

Case 4: A 68-year-old woman with a history of rosacea also had recurrent facial eruptions. Patch testing was positive to Kathon CG, which was found in her laundry product which she had since avoided. Since TCS were unsuccessful, treatment with crisaborole ointment was started, used in combination with ceramides containing cream as needed. Her skin condition markedly improved within two weeks (Figure 4A – 4D).

Learning point: The ointment may be a useful alternative for TCS for facial areas in patients with concomitant facial inflammatory skin conditions. Although crisaborole may induce irritation, burning, and stinging, in this patient with underlying rosacea, the product was well tolerated. Topical steroids can induce a rosacealike eruption. Crisaborole did not aggravate this patient’s rosacea. Patch testing was useful in identifying the causative allergen. The use of crisaborole in allergic contact dermatitis is off-label.

Figure 4A and 4D

4A and 4B: Before shows marked facial erythema, scaling and swelling face and neck and after crisaborole treatment.
4C and 4D: Facial dermatitis had resolved the flushing and telangiectasia are secondary to rosacea.

Case 5: An 11-month-old baby-boy had facial AD from the age of nine months. He had coincident acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and was recovering from chemotherapy. His parents were concerned about TCS and TCI being immunosuppressive agents and due to his ongoing AML treatment refused them. Crisaborole ointment seemed a good alternative option. His skin condition improved within an eight week observation period, and no adverse events occurred (Figure 5A – 5D).

Learning point: In immunosuppressed or otherwise vulnerable patients, crisaborole ointment is an effective alternative to TCS to treat AD even on the face. Parental wishes to not use TCS or TCI were granted because crisaborole’s mechanism is not immunosuppressive. Although crisaborole is approved for use in individuals 2 years of age and older, it was safely and effectively used in this infant.

Figure 5A and 5D

5A and 5B: Before shows marked facial erythema and after crisaborole treatment.
5C and 5D: Facial dermatitis had resolved.

Case 6: A 2-month-old baby boy presented with diffuse xerosis and AD present since three days of age. His condition impacted the entire family. His mother had applied Vaseline six times a day and TCS twice a day. He had not responded to treatment with several different types of TCS. The physician was concerned about absorption and possible adrenal axis suppression. After eight weeks of crisaborole ointment use, pruritus had subsided and both the baby and his family were able to sleep through the night (Figure 6A and 6B). Before starting treatment with crisaborole ointment, he had regularly had skin infections with MRSA, which did not reoccur since the start of the crisaborole ointment.

Learning point: Crisaborole proved to be a useful alternative for TCS where absorption and possible adrenal axis suppression were a major concern. Of interest is the resolved recurrent infection since the use of crisaborole, which may be attributed to the improved skin condition. Crisaborole is approved for use in individuals with AD two years of age and older.

Figure 6A and 6B

6A: Shows facial condition before.
6B: After crisaborole ointment treatment.

Case 7: A 15-year-old male had recurrent resistant atopic dermatitis and dyspigmentation from chronic TCS use. Treatment of the generalized flares and superinfection consisted of intravenous antibiotics and oral cyclosporine, to which he had a good initial response. To address his concern about TCS use and the desire for a simpler regimen, twice daily application with crisaborole ointment was started while continuing the cyclosporine. After eight weeks of use, he had an excellent response, with marked improvement in his quality of life. Whenever the patient stops topical crisaborole, some AD returns (Figure 7A and 7B).

Learning point: The use of crisaborole ointment in combination with systemic therapy was effective for this patient. The ointment is to be applied at the first sign of a flare before lesions develop and avoided the need to increase systemic therapy. As a result, he gained confidence in controlling his skin condition and improving his outlook on his situation.

Figure 7A and 7B

7A: Before
7B: Shows marked skin condition improvement after
crisaborole treatment.

Case 8: A 5½-year-old boy had mild-to-moderate AD since the age of three and recently developed symptomatic hand and feet involvement. The rationale for crisaborole use on his hands and feet was the suboptimal response to previous TCS/TCI therapy. Concomitant use of TCS and TCI was continued together with crisaborole. His skin had almost cleared after eight weeks of crisaborole ointment use (Figure 8A – 8D).

Learning point: An incremental benefit of adding crisaborole as part of a combination regimen with TCS and TCI TCI introduces new possibilities for patients with AD on their hands and feet.

Figure 8A and 8D


Case 9: Since the first months of life, a 5-year-old male has had moderate-to-severe AD with symptomatic painful involvement of his hands, impacting daily activities. He had difficulty handling toys and interacting with other children and their parents. TCS and TCI treatments were not successful. With crisaborale, his hand palms and wrists’ involvement almost completely cleared. (Figure 9A – 9E).

Learning point: Effective penetration of crisaborole on thicker skin such as hand-palms and foot-soles may facilitate improvement in these special sites.

Figure 9A and 9B

9A: Hand palms before.
9B: Hand palms after crisaborole treatment.

Figure 9C and 9E

9C and 9D: Wrists before
9E: Shows his wrists after eight weeks of treatment with the ointment.

Case 10: A 4-year-old girl had AD. TCS therapy was started for her flaring disease. Her mother was concerned about vaccines and TCS use. Crisaborole ointment treatment was started to address the mother’s concerns. At eight weeks of ointment application, there was an 80% clinical improvement; however, some moderate AD persisted at some sites which required strong TCS.

Learning point: Although the crisaborole ointment did not completely resolve the disease, the mother preferred it to TCS for milder lesions and wished to reserve TCS for more resistant lesions.

Figure 10A and 10G

Case 11: A 12-year-old male with AD since infancy had involvement of the hands and limbs. His condition failed to show improvement from intermittent TCS. The rationale for starting crisaborole ointment was the family’s frustration with the lack of results and a possible penetration advantage of the ointment on the hands. A left/right assessment of clobetasol versus crisaborole ointment was conducted. His mothers’ perceptions were that his hands both improved, but the crisaborole ointment was more effective than clobetasol. On the arms and legs, both treatments were successful, but clobetasol outperformed crisaborole ointment. The therapy was continued after the eight weeks study period as the family was happy with the treatment response. No adverse events occurred. Subsequently, mom used crisaborole alone on his hands and had ongoing good maintenance and prevention of flares. (Figure 10A – 10G). Follow up results are shown in Figure 11A – 11E.

Learning point: The crisaborole ointment performed better on the hands than clobetasol, however when used on the arms and legs, the reverse was the case, indicating that the ointment may be particularly useful on thicker skin areas.

Figure 11A and 11E

Follow up results for Case 11.


For each case, the age, skin type, underlying skin condition, rationale for using crisaborole, and in some cases, treatment duration were highlighted as well as its role as part of a maintenance/prevention and treatment regimen. The cases presented a spectrum of clinical responses to crisaborole, including instances of poor response, such as in case 10, where AD persisted, and TCS was further needed. The panel discussed challenges of recognizing and managing AD in darker skin which may be addressed using crisaborole ointment, although studies are needed to confirm possible benefits. Most of the cases were atopic dermatitis, the approved indication. Two other types of dermatitis (hand dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis) were included although they have not approved indications since these conditions are often difficult to treat and do not always respond to topical steroids. In addition, on the face, topical steroids may be associated with a greater potential for adverse events.

Steroid Phobia

Steroid phobia refers to the negative feelings and beliefs related to TCSs experienced by patients and patients’ caregivers. The panel expressed concerns that this phenomenon may be a contributing factor in treatment failure in AD patients. A systematic review22 found that TCS phobia is present across all cultures and that adequate information for patients and parents is lacking. The authors of the systematic review propose that the sources from which patients are receiving information about TCS may be targetable for intervention to increase adherence to TCS treatment regimens.22

Crisaborole can be an effective alternative for TCS and TCI, especially in patients with conditions requiring long-term TCS or TCI use.

In case of safety concerns (even when subjective) with TCS and TCI use in young patients or concerns about steroid absorption in all groups, patients can safely use crisaborole ointment. Moreover, preservatives in crisaborole pose no safety issues. The panel agreed that crisaborole ointment provides a good safe alternative to TCS and TCI in such cases, enhancing treatment adherence and thus outcomes.

Irritation, Burning and Stinging

Crisaborole seems to induce irritation, burning, and stinging more frequently in clinical practice than reported in clinical trials.3,6,19 This side effect was also reported for two of the presented cases (case 2 and 4). The panel suggested that in their experience, irritation, burning, and stinging are more quickly resolved than in the case of TCI use, where similar side effects are also observed. If TCI related stinging occurs most clinicians will apply steroids temporarily and then subsequently TCIs are usually tolerated.

The panel recommended providing information on this issue and education on measures to prevent or to treat it before the start of the treatment with crisaborole. The panel recommended frequent use of a refrigerated moisturizer before and after application of the ointment, and the use of an anti-itch lotion as needed throughout the day. The panel further suggested that it may be helpful to have patients testing crisaborole on healthy skin. Modify or discontinue the treatment if the formulation triggers burning or stinging even on healthy skin with concomitant use of a refrigerated moisturizer. The panel discussed avoiding crisaborole ointment use on severely flaring skin and starting with TCS until the flare is controlled, followed by crisaborole ointment.

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotics are commonly used as part of the management of AD. However, only a minority of patients with AD have clinically significant S. aureus infection. Moreover, data is lacking for highly beneficial outcomes with exclusive use of antibiotics in the management of AD.23 Case 6 shows an example of the possible use of crisaborole as a steroid-sparing and antibiotic-sparing agent. Because of antibiotic resistance, the use of the crisaborole ointment may be of interest and aligns with current emphasis on antibiotic stewardship in AD. Anti-inflammatory agents control eczema, which leads to less frequent infections and less antibiotic use.

Combination Treatment

Combining or alternating crisaborole with TCS or TCI may be successful for more severe disease. The ointment was safely used in time-intervals between the application of a moisturizer, TCS, or in combination with systemic therapy. Several cases showed a marked improvement in the skin condition of the treated patients and no adverse events.

Specific Body Locations

Case 4 shows an example of the safety and tolerability of crisaborole when used on specific sites (e.g., face and lips). An incremental benefit of crisaborole use as part of a combination regimen was shown in a patient (case 8) who recently had AD involvement of his feet, with hyperkeratosis and desquamation.

The rationale for crisaborole use, in this case, was good absorption of the ointment due to the relatively small size of the molecule allowing better penetration.

Case 11 showed beneficial crisaborole use on the hands, which did not improve with intermittent TCS application. This patient conducted a real-time comparative test using clobetasol on one side of the body and crisaborole on the other. Crisaborole worked better on the hands while clobetasol showed better results on his arms and legs.

The use of crisaborole for non-AD (case 3) was shown in a patient with occupational HD, which resulted in complete response. Advisors recommended further studies of crisaborole on the hands and feet (e.g., the study of occupational hand dermatitis and penetration study) to support the use of the ointment for these complex areas.

No. Case and Issues Previous
Why Was CO Chosen Disease
Follow Up
1 4 ½ year-old female with moderateto-severe AD since the first monthsof life. Severe AD of hands and feet since last year, severely impacting QoL. SCORAD at baseline: 28 and week 8: 6. TCSa, TCIb , Skincarec Previous TCS and TCI was not successful CO. TCS was continued on the body as needed Marked improvement and no AEs
2 4-year-old male, skin type I with AD since 4 months primarily face, antecubital fossa and, popliteal area. Constant itching, open and erythematous skin.
Poor sleeping of both child and parents. Poor interaction with other children. Total SCORAD at baseline 41.6 and at 8 weeks 12.
TCSd TCSd was ineffective. Concern regarding steroids. CO CO caused irritation, alleviated with moisturizer use before/after CO application.
Marked improvement at week 8.
3 29-year-old female, skin type III. The NICU nurse developed HD 1 year ago on her palms. PMH: negative for AD or other atopic disorder.
She had pain and itching during work. The eruptions clear on her holiday. Total SCORAD at baseline 14 and at 8 weeks 0.
TCSe which caused fissures
on her fingertips. She used moisturizers and hand
protectant creams.
She didn’t want finger fissures from TCS and refused steroids. CO started 8 weeks ago and is ongoing intermittently HD cleared. No AEs. She resumed her work
on the NICU without pain, risk of infection
or altered sensation in her fingertips.
4 The 68-year-old woman has a history of rosacea and recurrent facial AD eruptions for 16 months. Possibly due to laundry detergent. Patch tested positive to Kathon CG. No help with TCSf and emollient.  No success with TCS CO BID + Ceramides containing cream as needed. Cleared within 2 weeks.
5 The 11-month-old male with skin type 1 developed facial AD at 9 months of age. Hx of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML).
SCORAD at baseline 5 and at week 8, SCORAD was 0.
Moisturizer only 2–3 times/day Parents were concerned about TCS and TCI use due to his cancer history. CO was used for 1 month until cleared. No AEs occurred.
6 The 2 months old baby with skin type 4, has diffuse xerosis and AD since 3 days of age. His condition impacts the entire family. Mother applied moisturizer 6 times a day, TCS BID and held his hands constantly to prevent him from scratching.
Total SCORAD at baseline 89 and at 8 weeks 6.
TCSg and a moisturizer. No response to several TCS. Physician was concerned regarding absorption and adrenal axis suppression. CO No more itch and bathing without scratching. All now sleep through the night.
7 The 15-year old male had chronic moderate AD since early childhood, allergies, asthma and alopecia areata. He was unable to go to school or participate in sports and moved into a relative’s house for concerns of dog allergy, lack of
confidence and early depression. The generalized flare with superinfection occurred on the background of his chronic AD.
Total SCORAD at baseline 38 and at 8 weeks 8.6.
He had many previous TCS treatments. For the flare
he received IV antibiotics and po cephalosporins.
Dyspigmentation from disease and chronic TCS
use. Parental concerns, simplicity – multiple
creams for different sites was too complicated. Residual mild activity on face and neck despite treatment.
Cyclosporine 3mg/ kg/d div BID and CO. Marked improvement of skin condition and Qol. Treatment is ongoing.
8 5 ½-year-old male, type 3 skin. He has mild-to-moderate AD since third year of life. Over the last year, involvement of feet, hyperkeratosis, desquamation and fissures on toes. Pain impacts daily activities. SCORAD baseline: 32, week 8: 10 Ceramides containing cleanser and moisturizer BID. TCSh Lack of improvement with current regimen. CO 2% (hands and feet) was added to the regimen. Hand and feet had almost cleared.
9 5-year-old male with moderate-tosevere AD since first months of life. Important involvement of hands since the last 4 months, impacting daily activities and is painful. Difficult interaction with other children/parents.
Scorad baseline: 38, week 8: 4
TCSi, TCI and moisturizer TCS and TCI not successful. CO At 8 weeks hand palms and wrists had almost completely cleared.
10 The 4-year-old child’s mother is concerned about vaccines, overuse of TCS and possible allergies. Uses a vitamins containing moisturizer. Begin with strong TCSj. CO was introduced week 2, alternating with a moisturizer. Moderate AD persists. Mother is thrilled with the result and happy to use CO as an alternative to TCS. AD persists and needs stronger TCS 2x per week
11 12-year-old male with AD since infancy on hands and other areas.
SCORAD total at baseline 64 at 8 weeks, 38.1
No improvement from intermittent TCSk Family frustration with failed TCS. Theoretical improved penetration (hands and prurigo papules) due to smaller molecular weight Comparative assessment of TCSk versus CO. Hands both improved but CO > TCS. Arms legs: both worked but TCS > CO. Therapy ongoing as family is happy with response. No AEs, mild impact on QoL: CDLQI: 4/40


Table 1: Summary of the eleven cases studies
Case 1: TCSa: Betametasone dipropionate 0.1% ointment, Mometasone ointment, TCIb. Tacrolimus 0.1% ointment, Skincarec: Hydratation-Eucerin, Aquaphor, Aderma cleanser and hydrating agent.
Case 2: TCSd: Desonide cream BID x 1 year, Hydrocortisone 17 valerate UNG BID x 1 year.
Case 3: TCSe: Hydrocortisone cream
Case 4: TCSf: 1% hydrocortisone cream
Case 6: TCSg: Hydrocortisone 2.5%g then switched to desonide for body, Dermasmoothe FS for scalp and face. Then switched to hydroval 0.2% ointment to entire body.
Case 8: TCSh: 0.1% betametasone valerate ointment (body), 0.1% protopic ointment (face).
Case 9: TCSi and TCI: Betametasone dipropionate 0.1% ointment, Mometasone ointment, Tacrolimus 0.1% ointment.
Case 10: TCSj: Begin with strong corticosteroids, Desonide ointment for the face, Betamethasone valerate 0,1% ointment for the hands and feet.
Case 11 : TCSk : Clobetasol.

Atopic dermatitis (AD), Twice daily (BID), Crisaborole ointment (CO), Adverse events (AEs), Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), Hand Dermatitis (HD), Medical history (Hx), Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), Intravenous (IV) Oral (PO).

Maintenance Therapy

The panel discussed the spectrum of clinical response of crisaborole used in adjunction to a moisturizer as maintenance therapy and suggested that crisaborole ointment should start at the first sign of a new flare before the development of lesions. TCS should be added if it is not successful. Currently, data on the use of crisaborole ointment for long term maintenance therapy is lacking; however, the panel suggested further studies of crisaborole as maintenance therapy.


The discussed cases reflect the panels’ real-world clinical experience with crisaborole for the treatment of patients with AD and the off-label treatment of irritant dermatitis. The panel suggested that crisaborole ointment provides a good safe alternative to TCS and TCI. Use of crisaborole should be avoided on severely flaring skin and for those that experience irritation while testing it on unaffected skin areas.


The authors acknowledge and thank Anneke Andriessen, PhD, for her invaluable assistance with preparing this manuscript.


The cases are intended to illustrate the real-world experience rather than reflect a controlled clinical trial data environment, nor do they presented cases mirror statistical outcomes. Use crisaborole ointment in off-label settings is left up to the discretion of the treating health care professional after careful clinical evaluation.


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