Background SDZ ASM 981 is a selective inhibitor of inflammatory cytokines released from T lymphocytes and mast cells, which has been developed for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases.
Objectives In the present study, the atrophogenic potential of SDZ ASM 981 1% cream in humans was compared with that of medium and highly potent topical steroids, and vehicle.
Methods Four different preparations, SDZ ASM 981 1% cream, the corresponding vehicle of SDZ ASM 981 1% cream, betamethasone-17-valerate 0·1% cream and triamcinolone acetonide 0·1% cream, were applied to the volar aspect of the forearms of 16 healthy volunteers, twice daily, 6 days a week, for 4 weeks. Skin thickness was evaluated by ultrasound examination, clinical signs of atrophy by stereomicroscopy, and epidermal thickness was assessed by histology.
Results Both topical corticosteroids induced a significant reduction in skin thickness, as compared with SDZ ASM 981 1% cream and vehicle, which were shown to be equivalent. The difference in skin thickness (measured by ultrasound examination) between patients treated with SDZ ASM 981 1% cream and those receiving either of the two topical steroids was significant from day 8 onwards. Histological analysis performed at day 29 showed significant epidermal thinning with topical steroids compared with SDZ ASM 981 1% cream or the vehicle.
Conclusion The lack of atrophogenic properties of SDZ ASM 981 1% cream in this short-term study demonstrates its potential as long-term treatment for inflammatory skin diseases, thus overcoming a major drawback of topical steroids. This may also be important for the treatment of children, and sensitive areas of skin, such as the face and skin-folds.