Tacrolimus (Topical)

Tacrolimus (On The Skin)

Tacrolimus (ta-KROE-li-mus)

Treats a skin rash called atopic dermatitis.

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.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to apply and how often. Do not use more medicine or apply it more often than your doctor tells you to.  
  • This medicine is for use on the skin only. Do not get it in your eyes, nose, or mouth. Do not use on areas of the skin that have cuts or scrapes.  
  • 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.  
  • Make sure your skin is completely dry before using this medicine. Do not bathe or swim after applying this medicine.  
  • Apply a thin layer to the affected area. Rub it in gently.  
  • Do not cover the treated area with a bandage unless your doctor has told you to.  
  • Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if you feel better after the first few doses.  
  • Never share your medicine with anyone.

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 at room temperature, away from heat and direct light.  
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of 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 (Tagametreg;), erythromycin, fluconazole (Diflucanreg;), ketoconazole (Nizoralreg;), itraconazole (Sporanoxreg;), heart medicine (such as verapamil, Adalatreg;, Calanreg;, Cardizemreg;, Lotrelreg;, Plendilreg;, Procardiareg;), or tacrolimus capsules (Prografreg;).  
  • Do not use cosmetics or other skin care products on the treated skin areas.  
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have mononucleosis (“mono”), Netherton’s syndrome, or have had an organ transplant.  
  • Do not use this medicine if you have a skin infection.  
  • Do not use this medicine for a skin condition that has not been checked by a 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. Wear loose-fitting clothes to cover the area being treated 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 face or hands, swelling or tingling in the mouth or throat, tightness in chest, trouble breathing  
  • Swollen, painful, or tender glands in your neck, armpit, or groin

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Burning, stinging, redness, itching when you apply the medicine  
  • Headache  
  • Stuffy or runny nose, sneezing

Johns Hopkins patient information

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 16.02.
Revision date: June 18, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD

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