For people with mild-to-moderate eczema, topical immunomodulators (TIMs) can help. TIMS -- including brand name products Protopic and Elidel -- work by altering the body's immune response to allergens, preventing flare ups. However, in 2005, the FDA warned doctors to prescribe Elidel and Protopic with caution due to concerns over a possible cancer risk associated with their use. The two medications have an FDA "black box" warning on their packaging to alert doctors and patients to these potential risks. The warning advises doctors to prescribe short-term use of Elidel and Protopic only after other available eczema treatments have failed in adults and children over the age of 2.
It is important to use the correct amount of topical steroid for your eczema, as instructed by your healthcare professional. Topical steroids should be applied with clean hands so that the skin just glistens. It can sometimes be difficult to judge how much steroid to use and there are guidelines on the amount required to cover body areas that are affected by eczema. These are based on the Finger Tip Unit (FTU), and explained in detail in our fact sheet which you can download as a pdf from the related documents to the right of this page.