tacrolimus ointment, Protopic

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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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:

Continuous long-term use of tacrolimus should be avoided because rare cases of skin cancer and lymphoma have occurred during tacrolimus treatment.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/29/2015

Quick GuideEczema (Atopic Dermatitis) Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
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