Tacrolimus (On the skin)


Tacrolimus (ta-KROE-li-mus)
Treats a skin rash called atopic dermatitis, which is a form of eczema.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.


When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to tacrolimus. This medicine should not be the first medicine you use to treat your condition. It is meant to be used only after you have tried other medicines that have not worked or have caused unwanted side effects.

How to Use This Medicine

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one. Your doctor might ask you to sign some forms to show that you understand this information.
  • This medicine is for use on the skin only. Do not get it in your eyes, nose, or mouth. Do not use it on skin areas that have cuts or scrapes. If it does get on these areas, rinse it off right away.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using this medicine. If you are treating a rash on your hands, do not wash your hands after using the medicine.
  • Apply a thin layer to the affected area. Rub it in gently. Apply the medicine twice daily, at least 12 hours apart unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
  • Make sure your skin is completely dry before using this medicine. Do not bathe or swim after applying this medicine. If your doctor recommends a moisturizer, apply it after applying this medicine.
  • Do not cover the treated area with a bandage unless your doctor has told you to.
  • Use the medicine only until your symptoms clear up. Then, start using the ointment again if the symptoms appear again. Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse, or if they do not improve within 6 weeks.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
If a dose is missed:
  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, apply it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to apply the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not apply extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of the used medicine container and any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using cimetidine (Tagamet®), or tacrolimus capsules (Prograf®). Tell your doctor if you are using an antibiotic such as erythromycin, fluconazole (Diflucan®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), or itraconazole (Sporanox®). Your doctor should know if you use heart medicine such as verapamil, Adalat®, Calan®, Cardizem®, Lotrel®, Plendil®, or Procardia®.
  • Do not use cosmetics or other skin care products on the treated skin areas.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are receiving any type of UV light treatment or "phototherapy."
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to get pregnant. Tell your doctor if you have a skin infection, mononucleosis ("mono"), a skin condition called Netherton's syndrome, have had an organ transplant, or have been told you have a weakened immune system.
  • This medicine should not be used continuously for a long time. If needed, treatment may be repeated with breaks in between.
  • Some studies have shown that this medicine may increase your risk of developing tumors or skin cancer. This risk is still uncertain, so talk with your doctor if you have concerns.
  • Do not use this medicine for a skin problem that has not been checked by your doctor.
  • Never use the medicine on a child younger than 2 years of age unless your doctor tells you to.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.
  • This medicine may increase your chances of catching chickenpox, shingles, or herpes virus (including cold sores). Avoid people who have these infections, and call your doctor if you think you have been exposed to one of these illnesses.
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Skin itching, redness, or infection.
  • Swollen, painful, or tender glands in your neck, armpit, or groin.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
  • Acne.
  • Burning, stinging, redness, itching of your skin where the medicine is applied.
  • Headache.
  • Mild fever.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Skin warts.
  • Upset stomach.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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