About topical tacrolimus
|Type of medicine||Topical immunosuppressant|
|Used for||Moderate to severe eczema in adults or children over 2 years of age|
Tacrolimus helps reduce inflammatory reactions. When it is applied topically (onto the skin), it reduces the symptoms of eczema such as inflammation, redness and itching. Tacrolimus ointment is used for moderate to severe eczema in people who have not been able to use other treatments such as steroid creams or ointments.
Before using topical tacrolimus
Before using topical tacrolimus make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have swollen lymph glands or a weakened immune system.
- If you have liver problems.
- If you have skin cancer.
- If you have an inherited skin barrier disease such as Netherton's syndrome.
- If you have generalised erythroderma (inflammation, reddening and scaling of your entire skin).
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to tacrolimus or any other medicine, especially the antibiotics erythromycin, clarithromycin, azithromycin and telithromycin.
- If you are taking any other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
How to use topical tacrolimus
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
- Apply this ointment exactly as your doctor has told you.
- Tacrolimus should be applied thinly to the affected area(s) of skin. Do not apply it to any area that could be infected.
- Wash your hands after using tacrolimus ointment unless your hands are also being treated.
- If you forget to apply the ointment, apply it as soon as you remember and then continue as before.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try avoid getting the ointment near your eyes or the inside of your nose or mouth. If the ointment does get on these areas, wipe it off straight away.
- Do not cover any treated areas with bandages or plasters.
- You may use moisturising creams and lotions whilst you are being treated with tacrolimus, but do not apply them for two hours after you have applied tacrolimus ointment.
- You should expect to see some improvement within one week. If however your symptoms have not improved after two weeks, you should see your doctor again.
- You should continue using this ointment until your eczema has cleared. Depending on your skin's improvement, your doctor may ask you to reduce how often you apply the ointment or may give you a lower strength of ointment.
- While you are using tacrolimus and for a few weeks after you stop treatment, do not have any immunisations. This is because tacrolimus lowers your body's resistance to infection and there is a chance that you may get an infection from the vaccine.
- You should protect yourself from strong sunlight while you are using tacrolimus ointment. Do not use sun beds.
- Whilst you are using tacrolimus ointment, drinking alcohol may cause your skin or face to become flushed or red, and feel hot.
Can topical tacrolimus cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Very common side-effects - these affect more than 1 in 10 people who use this medicine||What can I do if I experience this|
|Skin irritation, a burning sensation, itching||These symptoms are usually mild to moderate and generally disappear within one week|
|Common side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who use this medicine||What can I do if I experience this|
|Redness, feeling of warmth, pain, increased skin sensitivity to heat and cold, tingling, rash, inflamed or infected hair follicles and cold sores||Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if any of these continue or become troublesome|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this ointment, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store topical tacrolimus
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Protopic® 0.1% Ointment; Manufacturer's PIL, Protopic® 0.1% Ointment, Astellas Pharma Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated April 2009.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Protopic® 0.03% ointment; Manufacturer's PIL, Protopic® 0.03% ointment, Astellas Pharma Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated April 2009.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 07/06/2011||Document ID: 8653 Version: 3||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.