FAQ – Crisaborole (Eucrisa)

What is crisaborole?

Crisaborole (Eucrisa) is a topical phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor (PDE4) drug approved by the FDA for mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in adult and pediatric patients 3 months of age and older.  The FDA approved crisaborole in December 2016 for ages 2 and older and in March 2020 for ages 3 months and older.  

Mild to moderate atopic dermatitis is generally determined by skin involvement (how much of your body surface is affected) and severity of symptoms such as itch and rash.  It’s important to talk to your doctor about how atopic dermatitis affects not just your skin but also other aspects of your life. 

Together, you and your healthcare provider can determine if crisaborole is an appropriate treatment option.  

How does crisaborole work?

Crisaborole is not a topical steroid.  It works by blocking phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), an enzyme that helps to regulate inflammation in the skin. When you have atopic dermatitis, PDE4 enzymes may be overactive in cells of your immune system, which can lead to inflammation.

Reducing the activity of PDE4 can lead to fewer and/or less severe signs and symptoms of AD by reducing inflammation.  

How do you take crisaborole?

Crisaborole 2% ointment is applied as a thin film directly to the affected areas of skin twice daily.  

How effective is crisaborole for atopic dermatitis? 

In the clinical trials for crisaborole after 28 days of continuous use, 31.4-32.8% of patients achieved an Investigator Static Global Assessment (ISGA) of 0-1 (clear or almost clear) with at least a 2-grade improvement from the start of the trial, compared with 18.0-25.4% of those using a vehicle only.1  

  • Investigator Static Global Assessment is a 5-point scale that provides a global clinical assessment of atopic dermatitis by the investigator, based on signs and symptoms.  

Crisaborole was also shown to reduce symptoms of AD such as itching, redness, lichenification (thickened skin), weepy rash, and raw, scratched lesions.  Some patients reported these improvements after about a week of crisaborole use. 

  • Crisaborole has also been shown to have clinically meaningful improvement in QoL for patients and their parents/caregivers/families2

What are the side effects of crisaborole?

In clinical trials, the most common side effect is application site pain, such as burning or stinging.  This typically resolves with ongoing use.1

How is crisaborole different from topical corticosteroids (TCS)?

Topical corticosteroids work to reduce inflammation in the skin by preventing cells from producing inflammation-causing chemicals that are released in response to a variety of different triggers. Crisaborole reduces inflammation by more specifically inhibiting a specific enzyme called PDE4 that contributes to skin inflammation.  And because crisaborole is not a TCS, it is able to be used over a longer period of time, and on body areas that are more delicate or have thinner skin such as the face, eyelids, genitals, or skin folds, where TCS use is not preferred. 

How long do I have to take crisaborole?

Crisaborole may be used in an ongoing treatment regimen or more intermittently (on/off) depending on your atopic dermatitis symptoms and areas of skin affected.  Together, you and your healthcare provider can determine what is the most appropriate treatment approach with crisaborole.  

Can children use crisaborole?

Yes.  Crisaborole is FDA-approved for children ages 3 months and older.  

How much does crisaborole cost?

Cost depends on your health insurance coverage for prescriptions. Pfizer, the company that makes crisaborole, has programs  that may help with your copay costs if needed. You can learn more at www.eucrisa.com

How do I know if crisaborole is right for me?

It’s important to talk to your doctor about how atopic dermatitis affects your skin and other aspects of your life.  Together, you and your healthcare provider can determine if crisaborole is an appropriate treatment option.  

How can I get crisaborole?

Crisaborole is available by prescription only. Talk to your health care provider and visit www.eucrisa.com to learn more.

Can I use crisaborole with other prescription atopic dermatitis therapies?

Talk to your health care provider about using crisaborole with other prescriptions and over the counter therapies for atopic dermatitis.  Be sure your doctor knows all medications you are using for your atopic dermatitis as well as other medical conditions.  


1Paller 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 Sep;75(3):494-503.

2Simpson EL, Paller AS, Boguniewicz M et al. Crisaborole Ointment Improves Quality of Life of Patients with Mild to Moderate Atopic Dermatitis and Their Families. Dermatol Ther 2018 Dec;8(4):605-619.

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