Eucrisa (Crisaborole) - Topical

What Is Eucrisa?

Eucrisa (crisaborole) is a prescription medication used to treat mild to moderate atopic dermatitis (eczema) in adults and children 3 months and older. It is available as a topical ointment that you apply to the skin.

Eucrisa is in a drug class known as topical phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE-4) inhibitors. It blocks the action of substances in the body that can cause inflammation.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Crisaborole

Brand Name(s): Eucrisa

Drug Availability: Prescription

Administration Route: Topical

Therapeutic Classification: Dermatological agent

Available Generically: No

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Crisaborole

Dosage Form(s): Ointment

What Is Eucrisa Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Eucrisa to treat mild to moderate atopic dermatitis (AD) in adults and children 3 months and older.

Atopic dermatitis, or AD, is the most common type of eczema. AD affects 16.5 million adults and 9.6 million children in the United States. The most common symptom of AD is itching, but it can also cause:

  • Dry or sore skin
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Rashes that can ooze, weep, or bleed when scratched

Eczema often appears as red on lighter skin, and on darker skin tones eczema rashes can look dark brown, purple, or ashen gray. Common characteristics of eczema on all skin tones may include dryness, scaliness, itching, and swelling.

How to Use Eucrisa

Use Eucrisa as directed by your healthcare provider. Read the patient information that comes with your prescription.

Wash and dry your hands, and then clean and dry the affected area. Then apply a thin layer of the ointment to the affected areas twice daily (or as directed). This medication is for use on the skin only. Do not use Eucrisa in the eyes, mouth, or vagina. If Eucrisa gets in the eyes or mouth, rinse with water. Wash your hands after applying Eucrisa (unless you are using it to treat symptoms on your hands).

Do not give Eucrisa to someone else to use, even if they also have AD.

Storage

Store Eucrisa at room temperature (68 F to 77 F), away from heat, direct light, and moisture. Do not store it in the bathroom. Keep the tube tightly closed when not using it. Additionally, keep Eucrisa out of reach of children and pets.

How Long Does Eucrisa Take to Work?

In clinical trials, some people saw an improvement in eight days. More people had clear or almost clear skin after 28 days. Ask your healthcare provider how long you should use Eucrisa.

What Are the Side Effects of Eucrisa?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Application site pain and irritation (e.g., stinging, burning) were the most commonly reported side effects of Eucrisa. In clinical trials, the majority (78%) of participants who experienced these side effects said that the pain resolved within one day.

Severe Side Effects

Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Hypersensitivity reactions can occur when using Eucrisa. Symptoms can include severe itching, swelling, and redness where the ointment was applied or on another part of the body.

Stop applying Eucrisa immediately if you notice these symptoms, and contact your healthcare provider for further guidance. Get emergency medical help if you develop hives, trouble breathing, or swelling around the face, lips, throat, or tongue.

Report Side Effects

Eucrisa may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program online or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Eucrisa Should I Use?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For topical dosage form (ointment):
    • For mild to moderate atopic dermatitis:
      • Adults and children 3 months and older—Apply to the affected area of the skin two times a day.
      • Children up to 3 months—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

Your healthcare provider may modify your treatment or dose under certain circumstances.

Children

Eucrisa can be prescribed to children 3 months and older to treat mild to moderate AD. However, it should not be used in those younger than 3 months because it has not been studied for safety and efficacy in this age group.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

There is no data about Eucrisa and human pregnancy or breastfeeding. Consult your healthcare provider before using Eucrisa if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or plan to become pregnant or breastfeed.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Eucrisa, apply it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed doses. Do not apply two doses at once.

Overdose: What Happens If I Use Too Much Eucrisa?

Using too much Eucrisa is not expected to be dangerous with topical administration. Still, take care to use only the amount prescribed. Keep the medication out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.

What Happens If I Overdose on Eucrisa?

If you think you or someone else may have ingested Eucrisa, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after using Eucrisa or accidentally ingesting the ointment, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits for any unwanted effects that may be caused by this medicine.

If your or your child's symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have a skin rash, burning, stinging, swelling, or irritation on the skin.

Do not use cosmetics or other skin care products on the treated areas.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Eucrisa?

Eucrisa is not appropriate for everyone. You should not use this medication if you are allergic to crisaborole or any of the inactive ingredients. An allergy may result in severe itching, swelling, or redness at the application site or another area of the body after applying the ointment. Call your healthcare provider if you suspect an allergic reaction.

What Other Medications Interact With Eucrisa?

Crisaborole does not have any reported serious drug interactions.

Adempas (riociguat), a blood pressure medication, is not supposed to be taken with nonselective PDE and PDE5 inhibitors, as these medications could potentially enhance riociguat's blood-pressure-lowering effects. Crisaborole is a PDE-4 inhibitor. Before starting Eucrisa, tell your healthcare provider if you are taking this medication.

What Medications Are Similar?

Various medications are available to treat AD; however, Eucrisa is currently the only topical PDE-4 inhibitor for this condition.

Topical steroids reduce itching and inflammation. Some examples of topical steroids include:

Oral antihistamines can help relieve itching from AD. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Atarax (hydroxyzine HCl) are examples of first-generation antihistamines. They are effective but sedating. Newer, less sedating antihistamines are better tolerated and are available OTC. These include:

People with more severe symptoms or who have not responded to or cannot tolerate other treatments may be prescribed different medications, such as topical immunosuppressants (drugs that affect the immune system).

Some topical immunosuppressants, such Protopic (tacrolimus) and Elidel (pimecrolimus), have been used in AD that is not responsive to other therapies. However, it is unknown if these medications are safe to use long term.

Other drugs may be used when other treatments have not worked or cannot be tolerated. Dupixent (dupilumab) is an example of a medication that may be prescribed in one of these cases. It is an injectable medication used for moderate to severe AD.

This is a list of drugs also prescribed to treat AD. It is NOT a list of drugs recommended to take with Eucrisa. If you have any questions about other treatment options, talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Eucrisa used for?

    Eucrisa (crisaborole) is a topical ointment that can be used in adults and children 3 months and older for mild to moderate atopic dermatitis.

  • How does Eucrisa work?

    Eucrisa blocks the action of substances that cause inflammation. This helps to reduce the severity of AD symptoms, such as itchiness.

  • How long does it take for Eucrisa to work?

    In clinical trials, some participants saw symptom improvement within eight days of starting Eucrisa, but it may take almost a month to see a difference.

  • What are the side effects of Eucrisa?

    Side effects of Eucrisa include irritation or pain at the application site. This is common and may cause concern only if they become severe. You may need to stop using Eucrisa if you develop severe itching, redness, and swelling. Moreover, watch for signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, breathing difficulties, or facial or throat swelling.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Using Eucrisa?

Before using Eucrisa, discuss your medical history with your healthcare provider and tell them about your current medications, including prescription medications, OTC drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements. This helps ensure that Eucrisa will be prescribed safely.

Additionally, ask your healthcare provider about other measures you can take to manage AD symptoms. You can often supplement OTC products and prescription medications with nonpharmaceutical skin care methods for symptoms like itching.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends the following:

  • Apply a cold compress or ice pack to itchy skin for five to 10 minutes as needed.
  • Take an oatmeal bath. 
  • Take short showers or baths in lukewarm (not hot) water. After bathing, use a fragrance-free moisturizer to lock in moisture. 
  • Try not to scratch. Scratching can cause irritation and infections
  • Use fragrance-free products, such as laundry detergents and bath products. 
  • Wear loose-fitting, cotton clothes to minimize irritation and itching.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures. 
  • Take steps to lower stress.

Keep an open line of communication with the healthcare provider treating you for AD. There are many types of treatment, so if one treatment does not work, others might be available. Support groups in your area or online for AD can provide an opportunity to connect with others who share the same experiences.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. MedlinePlus. Crisaborole topical.

  3. National Eczema Association. Atopic dermatitis.

  4. National Eczema Association. Eczema in skin of color: what you need to know.

  5. Paller AS, Tom WL, Lebwohl MG, et al. Efficacy and safety of crisaborole ointment, a novel, nonsteroidal phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitor for the topical treatment of atopic dermatitis (AD) in children and adults. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;75(3):494-503.e6. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2016.05.046

  6. McDowell L, Olin B. Crisaborole: a novel nonsteroidal topical treatment for atopic dermatitis. J Pharm Technol. 2019;35(4):172-178. doi:10.1177/8755122519844507

  7. Tay CJ, Zhao X, Allen JC, Yew YW, Tey HL. Effectiveness of antihistamies for itch and sleep disturbance in atopic dermatitis: a retrospective cohort study. 2021;6(2):e47. doi:10.1097/itx.000000000000004

  8. Puar N, Chovatiya R, Paller AS. New treatments in atopic dermatitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2021;126(1):21-31. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2020.08.016

  9. Food and Drug Administration. Dupixent label.

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By Karen Berger, PharmD
Karen Berger, PharmD, is a community pharmacist and medical writer/reviewer.