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Tacrolimus topical

Generic Name: tacrolimus topical (ta KROE li mus)
Brand Name: Protopic

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Apr 17, 2020 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is tacrolimus topical?

Tacrolimus topical (for the skin) is used to treat moderate to severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) in patients that did not respond to other treatments.

Tacrolimus may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use tacrolimus topical if you are allergic to it.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • skin cancer or a skin infection (including herpes or chickenpox);

  • any condition that affects skin absorption (such as Netherton's syndrome); or

  • a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicines).

Some people have developed skin cancer or lymphoma after using tacrolimus. However, it is not known if tacrolimus topical causes skin cancer or lymphoma. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk.

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while using tacrolimus topical.

Tacrolimus topical should not be given to a child younger than 2 years old. Ointment 0.03% is for use on children aged 2 to 15 years. Ointment 0.03% or 0.1% can be used by adults and children 16 years and older.

How should I use tacrolimus topical?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Wash your hands before and after using tacrolimus, unless you are using the medication to treat a hand condition.

Apply the medicine in a thin layer, only to skin areas affected by eczema. Do not cover the treated skin with a bandage.

If needed, apply moisturizer after using tacrolimus topical.

Do not bathe, shower, or swim right after applying tacrolimus topical. Water may wash off the medicine.

Tacrolimus is not for long-term use. Stop using the medicine once your symptoms have cleared up, unless your doctor has told you otherwise.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 6 weeks of treatment, or if they get worse while using tacrolimus.

Store at room temperature. Do not freeze. Keep ointment tube tightly closed when not in use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Apply the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not apply two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of tacrolimus topical is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.

What should I avoid while using tacrolimus topical?

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds, and phototherapy treatments with UVA or UVB light. If you must be outdoors, wear loose clothing over the skin areas treated with tacrolimus topical. Follow your doctor instructions about the use of a sunscreen.

Avoid getting tacrolimus topical in your eyes or mouth.

Rinse with water if this medicine gets in your eyes or mouth.

Avoid drinking alcohol. Your skin or face may become red and feel hot.

Tacrolimus topical side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe stinging, burning, itching, or soreness where the medicine is applied;

  • swollen glands;

  • redness or crusting around your hair follicles; or

  • signs of a skin infection (redness, swelling, itching, oozing).

Common side effects may include:

  • mild burning, stinging, or itching.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Tacrolimus topical dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Atopic Dermatitis:

Apply a thin layer to the affected areas 2 times a day and rub in gently and completely; discontinue use when symptoms resolve

Comments:
-If itch, rash, and redness do not improve within 6 weeks, patients should be re-examined by their healthcare provider to confirm the diagnosis of atopic dermatitis.

Use: As second-line therapy for the short-term and noncontinuous chronic treatment of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in non-immunocompromised patients who have failed to respond adequately to other topical treatments, or when those treatments are not advisable

Usual Pediatric Dose for Atopic Dermatitis:

Less than 2 years: Safety and efficacy have not been established

2 to 15 years:
0.03% ointment: Apply a thin layer to the affected areas 2 times a day and rub in gently and completely; discontinue use when symptoms resolve
0.1% ointment: Safety and efficacy have not been established

16 years and older:
0.03 or 0.1% ointment: Apply a thin layer to the affected areas 2 times a day and rub in gently and completely; discontinue use when symptoms resolve

Comments:
-If itch, rash, and redness do not improve within 6 weeks, patients should be re-examined by their healthcare provider to confirm the diagnosis of atopic dermatitis.
-Children aged 2 to 15 years should only receive the 0.03% formulation of this drug.

Use: As second-line therapy for the short-term and noncontinuous chronic treatment of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in non-immunocompromised patients who have failed to respond adequately to other topical treatments, or when those treatments are not advisable

What other drugs will affect tacrolimus topical?

Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.

Other drugs may affect tacrolimus topical, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.