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* Tacrolimus is a medication sometimes used to treat eczema and psoriasis.

Although designed to help the body prevent rejection of organ transplants, tacrolimus (Trade name: Protopic) is often an effective treatment for inflammatory skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and psoriasis. It relieves the itch and inflammation caused by atopic dermatitis.

It is as effective as a mid-potency steroid without the side effects, which is why it is most often used in adult and children who have not responded to traditional treatments or who have suffered adverse side effects. It has also been used to treat vitiligo in children, especially on the face. It may also be useful for lichen planus, discoid lupus and many other inflammatory skin diseases.


Tacrolimus is an prescription ointment applied on the active lesions until they heal off, but may also be used continuously in low doses (twice a week), and applied to the thinner skin over the face and eyelid. You should see improvement within a week. Typical treatment lasts for around six to 12 months. Once the skin returns to normal, the ointment may be discontinued.

Side Effects

Side effects are mild. The most common is a feeling of warmth or a sense of burning on the site that is being treated. This should go away after a few days. More serious side effects may include headache, cough, fever, flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, folliculitis, and acne.

Notes of Precaution

* Notify your doctor if you are allergic to Tacrolimus or any other medication.

* Tacrolimus may aggravate herpes simplex or other types of viruses.

* Long-term use of Tacrolimus may increase the risk for skin cancer.

* Tacrolimus may react badly to cyclosporine. Do not take Tacrolimus until after you've finished taking cyclosporine.

* Consult with your doctor before taking Tacrolimus if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

* Tacrolimus should be stored at room temperature and kept out of the reach of children.
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