Available by prescription only, Picato is licensed to treat dry, scaly precancerous lesions on the skin caused by a condition known as actinic keratosis. This medicine comes in the form of a gel that is applied on the affected areas of the skin once daily for two or three days in a row. Side effects include redness, scaling, and swelling of the skin.
What Is Picato?
Picato® (ingenol mebutate) is a prescription medication approved to treat actinic keratosis (AK). Actinic keratoses are dry, scaly precancerous patches on the skin. This medication can be used to treat AK on almost all areas of the body. Unlike most other actinic keratosis medications, Picato is only used for a few days total, which may be a significant advantage because AK medications tend to cause skin reactions that make long-term use difficult or impractical.
It is not entirely clear how Picato works to treat actinic keratosis lesions, although it is known that it causes the AK cells to die.
This medication has been extensively evaluated in clinical studies. These studies compared Picato to a placebo (a similar product that did not contain any active ingredients). These studies demonstrated that Picato was significantly more effective than the placebo for eliminating actinic keratoses and genital warts. In studies, 28 percent to 47 percent of people using Picato had complete disappearance of their actinic keratoses, compared to only 2 percent to 5 percent of people using the placebo.
It is important to note that these results were measured on day 57 of the studies (almost two months after completing the treatment), so it should be expected that the results may take some time.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Picato [package insert]. Parsippany, NJ: LEO Pharma, Inc.;2012 January.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed March 16, 2012.
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