Tacrolimus ointment is used to treat the symptoms of eczema (atopic dermatitis; a skin disease that causes the skin to be dry and itchy and to sometimes develop red, scaly rashes) in patients who cannot use other medications for their condition or whose eczema has not responded to another medication. Tacrolimus is in a class of medications called topical calcineurin inhibitors. It works by stopping the immune system from producing substances that may cause eczema.
Side Effects Of Tacrolimus
Tacrolimus ointment may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- skin burning, stinging, redness, or soreness
- tingling skin
- increased sensitivity of the skin to hot or cold temperatures
- swollen or infected hair follicles
- muscle or back pain
- flu-like symptoms
- stuffy or runny nose
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- swollen glands
- crusting, oozing, blistering or other signs of skin infection
- cold sores
- chickenpox or other blisters
- swelling of the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
Tacrolimus ointment may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before using tacrolimus ointment:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to tacrolimus ointment, injection, or capsules (Prograf), or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: antifungals such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), and ketoconazole (Nizoral); calcium channel blockers such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac) and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan); cimetidine (Tagamet); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); and other ointments, creams, or lotions. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have a skin infection and if you have or have ever had kidney disease, Netherton’s syndrome (an inherited condition that causes the skin to be red, itchy, and scaly), redness and peeling of most of your skin, any other skin disease, or any type of skin infection, especially chickenpox, shingles (a skin infection in people who have had chickenpox in the past), herpes (cold sores), or eczema herpeticum (viral infection that causes fluid-filled blisters to form on the skin of people who have eczema). Also, tell your doctor if your eczema rash has turned crusty or blistered or you think your eczema rash is infected.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using tacrolimus ointment, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using tacrolimus ointment.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are using tacrolimus ointment. Your skin or face may become flushed or red and feel hot if you drink alcohol during your treatment.
- avoid exposure to chickenpox, shingles, and other viruses. If you are exposed to one of these viruses while using tacrolimus ointment, call your doctor immediately.
- you should know that good skincare and moisturizers may help relieve the dry skin caused by eczema. Talk to your doctor about the moisturizers you should use, and always apply them after applying tacrolimus ointment.
Dosage Of Tacrolimus
Tacrolimus comes as an ointment to apply to the skin. It is usually applied twice a day to the affected area. To help you remember to apply tacrolimus ointment, apply it at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use tacrolimus exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
To use the ointment, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Be sure that the skin in the affected area is dry.
- Apply a thin layer of tacrolimus ointment to all affected areas of your skin.
- Rub the ointment into your skin gently and completely.
- Wash your hands with soap and water to remove any leftover tacrolimus ointment. Do not wash your hands if you are treating them with tacrolimus.
- You may cover the treated areas with normal clothing, but do not use any bandages, dressings, or wraps.
- Be careful not to wash the ointment off of affected areas of your skin. Do not swim, shower, or bathe immediately after applying tacrolimus ointment.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.