tacrolimus ointment, Protopic

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GENERIC NAME: tacrolimus ointment

BRAND NAME: Protopic

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Tacrolimus ointment is a topical drug (a drug that is applied to the skin) that is used for the treatment of atopic dermatitis (eczema). Atopic dermatitis is a chronic (long-lasting) disease of skin in which the skin becomes inflamed, causing itchiness, redness, swelling, cracking, weeping, crusting, and scaling. The inflammation is caused by activation of the immune system though the reason for the activation is unknown. Tacrolimus ointment suppresses the immune system and the inflammation by inhibiting an enzyme (calcineurin) crucial for the multiplication of T-cells, cells that are required for activation of the immune system. Tacrolimus ointment was approved for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in December 2000.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Tacrolimus ointment is used for the treatment of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in adults and children who have normal immune systems and have not responded to other topical treatments or in whom other topical treatments cannot be used.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects of tacrolimus ointment are skin reactions at the site of use, including:

  • redness,
  • burning,
  • itching,
  • Flu-like symptoms,
  • allergic reactions, and
  • headache.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/29/2015



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