Tacrolimus is a medication prescribed to suppress the immune system and make it less active. The ointment form is used to treat moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis and make it less active. The capsules and intravenous injections are used to prevent organ rejection following a kidney, liver, or heart transplant. Side effects may include tremors, headaches, and kidney problems.
What Is Tacrolimus?Tacrolimus (Prograf®, Protopic®) is a prescription medication that belongs to a group of drugs called immunosuppressants. It is available as an oral capsule, an intravenous (IV) solution, and an ointment.
The oral and IV forms (Prograf) are approved to prevent organ rejection after a heart, kidney, or liver transplant in combination with other medications. Tacrolimus ointment (Protopic) is approved to treat moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) in people who have been unsuccessful with other medications or cannot use other medications.
(Click What is Tacrolimus Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
Are There Side Effects?Just like any medicine, tacrolimus may cause side effects. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience problems. In fact, 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.
The specific side effects will depend on the particular product used. Some of the possible side effects of tacrolimus include but are not limited to:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Kidney problems
- Skin reactions at the application site, such as redness, burning, and itching (with tacrolimus ointment)
(Click Tacrolimus Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)