What is tacrolimus? What are the uses for tacrolimus?
- Tacrolimus, previously known as FK506, is a macrolide immunosuppressant produced by the bacteria Streptomyces tsukubaensis.
- Tacrolimus is used for the prevention of rejection of transplanted kidneys, liver, or heart.
- It can be combined with steroids, azathioprine (Imuran Azasan) or mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept).
What brand names are available for tacrolimus?
Prograf, Astagraf XL, Envarsus XR
Is tacrolimus available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for tacrolimus?
What are the side effects of tacrolimus?
Tacrolimus is associated with many and various side effects. These include:
- loss of appetite,
- high concentrations of potassium in the blood,
- high blood pressure,
- tingling sensation in the extremities,
- high blood sugar concentrations, and
- abdominal pain.
Other side effects include
What is the dosage for tacrolimus?
- Oral tacrolimus is taken twice daily.
- Starting doses range between 0.075 mg/kg/day to 0.2 mg/kg/day (immediate release capsules).
- Doses vary widely and are based on tests that measure the amount of tacrolimus in the blood.
- Taking tacrolimus with food can reduce some of the abdominal pain that can occur with this medicine; however, food can reduce the amount of tacrolimus that is absorbed. This is especially true with fatty foods.
- Capsules should be taken consistently with or without food in order to avoid major swings in blood levels.
- Grapefruit juice increases blood levels of tacrolimus and should be avoided.
- The injection is only used for patients who cannot tolerate tacrolimus capsules.
What drugs interact with tacrolimus?
- Grapefruit may interact with tacrolimus and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of side effects.
- Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
- Tacrolimus could make you sunburn more easily. Avoid sunlight or tanning beds. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
- Tacrolimus can harm your kidneys, especially if you also use certain medicines for infections, cancer, osteoporosis, bowel disorders, or pain or arthritis (including aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve).
- antibiotic, antifungal, or antiviral medicines; or
- blood pressure medication, such as a diuretic or "water pill."
This list is not complete and many other drugs may affect tacrolimus. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
- Scans Show Brain Changes in People With Long COVID
- Got GERD? Eat This Way to Help Avoid Symptoms
- 5 Women Contracted Syphilis Affecting the Eyes From the Same Asymptomatic Man
- Long COVID Now Common in U.S. Nursing Homes
- Breathing in Coal-Based Pollution Could Be Especially Deadly: Study
- More Health News »
Is tacrolimus safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Tacrolimus crosses the placenta, but there have been no adequate studies in pregnant women to assess the effects on the fetus. Among women who have received tacrolimus while pregnant, high potassium levels and kidney injury in newborns have been reported. Therefore, tacrolimus should be used during pregnancy only when it is clearly needed.
- Tacrolimus passes into breast milk. It is recommended that breastfeeding be discontinued while women are receiving oral tacrolimus.
Tacrolimus (Prograf, Astagraf XL, Envarsus XR) is a medication prescribed for the prevention of rejection of transplanted liver, heart, or kidneys. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, itching, fever, tremor, headache, baldness, anemia, rash, and abdominal pain. Drug interactions, dosing, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication. The brand Hecoria has been discontinued in the US.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack
Heart disease prevention includes controlling risk factors like diet, exercise, and stress. Heart disease symptoms in women may...
Heart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes
What is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease, arrhythmias and myopathy. Symptoms of...
Kidney Disease Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Kidney disease is common. Take this kidney disease quiz to test your knowledge and learn the symptoms, causes and types of kidney...
Liver Disease Quiz: Fatty Liver Disease, Cirrhosis & Symptoms
What is liver disease? Take the Liver Disease Quiz and test your knowledge about this organ and its function.
Picture of Liver
Front View of the Liver. The liver is a large, meaty organ that sits on the right side of the belly. See a picture of the Liver...
Picture of Kidneys
The kidneys are a pair of organs located in the back of the abdomen. See a picture of the Kidneys and learn more about the health...
Related Disease Conditions
Kidney (Renal) Failure
Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss, dehydration, or medication. Some of the renal causes of kidney failure include sepsis, medications, rhabdomyolysis, multiple myeloma, and acute glomerulonephritis. Post renal causes of kidney failure include bladder obstruction, prostate problems, tumors, or kidney stones.Treatment options included diet, medications, or dialysis.
Liver disease can be cause by a variety of things including infection (hepatitis), diseases, for example, gallstones, high cholesterol or triglycerides, blood flow obstruction to the liver, and toxins (medications and chemicals). Symptoms of liver disease depends upon the cause and may include nausea, vomiting, upper right abdominal pain, and jaundice. Treatment depends upon the cause of the liver disease.
Jock itch is an itchy red rash that appears in the groin area. The rash may be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. People with diabetes and those who are obese are more susceptible to developing jock itch. Antifungal shampoos, creams, and pills may be needed to treat fungal jock itch. Bacterial jock itch may be treated with antibacterial soaps and topical and oral antibiotics.
Liver (Anatomy and Function)
The liver is the largest gland and organ in the body. There are a variety of liver diseases caused by liver inflammation, scarring of the liver, infection of the liver, gallstones, cancer, toxins, genetic diseases, and blood flow problems. Symptoms of liver disease generally do not occur until the liver disease is advanced. Some symptoms of liver disease include jaundice, nausea and vomiting, easy bruising, bleeding excessively, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, shortness of breath, leg swelling, impotence, and confusion. Treatment of diseases of the liver depends on the cause.
Encephalopathy refers to brain disease, damage, or malfunction. Learn about what causes encephalopathy as well as types, symptoms, stages, and treatment.
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
Eczema refers to skin inflammation. There are many different types of eczema that produce symptoms and signs that range from oozing blisters to crusty plaques of skin. Treatment varies depending upon the type of eczema the person has.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition. Symptoms and signs include a red, scaling rash on the scalp, face, ears, and torso. Treatment often includes the use of a medicated shampoo and the application of a topical steroid lotion.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). The intestinal complications of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis differ because of the characteristically dissimilar behaviors of the intestinal inflammation in these two diseases.
Ringworm vs. Eczema
While ringworm is a fungal infection, and eczema is a skin condition, both are characterized by itchiness. Eczema patches are leathery while ringworm involves ring formation on the skin. Over-the-counter antifungals treat ringworm. Topical creams and ointments treat eczema.
Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC)
Primary sclerosing cholangitis or PSC is a disease of the liver. The cause of PSC is not known. Symptoms may include itching, fatigue, jaundice, fever, and confusion. The only treatment for Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a liver transplant.
Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD)
Graft versus host disease (GVHD) is a condition that happens when immune cells from transplanted donor tissue attack the recipient's tissues. Signs and symptoms of acute GVHD include enteritis, hepatitis, and dermatitis. Chronic GVHD symptoms and signs include rash, skin discoloration, dry mouth or eyes, jaundice, fatigue, and wheezing, among others. The standard of GVHD treatment is immunosuppressant medications.
Atopic Dermatitis vs. Eczema
Atopic dermatitis and eczema both refer to skin conditions. Atopic dermatitis is a cause of eczema, which refers to skin conditions that cause inflammation and irritation. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Eczema is not a condition in itself, but a description for a group of skin diseases that cause skin inflammation and irritation.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Kidney Disease FAQs
- Liver Disease FAQs
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.