Drugs Home > Tacrolimus Ointment

Severe cases of atopic dermatitis that have not responded to other treatments may benefit from tacrolimus ointment. This product is applied to the affected areas of the skin twice a day. Treatment lasts a short time, but unlike other immunosuppressants, it can be used again after a period of disuse. Side effects may include headaches, skin reactions at the application site, and flu-like symptoms, among other things.

What Is Tacrolimus Ointment?

Tacrolimus ointment (Protopic®) is a skin medication approved to treat moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (a form of eczema) in adults and children at least two years of age. It is reserved for use in certain people who have failed other treatments or who cannot use other treatments. Tacrolimus ointment should be used for a short time only, but can be used again, if needed, after a period of nonuse.
(Click What Is Tacrolimus Ointment Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Are There Side Effects?

Just like any medicine, tacrolimus ointment can cause side effects. However, not everyone who uses the drug will experience problems. Most people tolerate it quite well.
If reactions do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects of tacrolimus ointment include but are not limited to:
  • Redness, burning, and itching of the skin at the application site
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headache.
(Click Tacrolimus Ointment Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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