Tacrolimus in Australia is only available commercially as an oral dosage form used to decrease the activity of the immune system to prevent rejection of transplanted organs.
The drug can be obtained in its pure form by compounding pharmacists and made into an ointment on prescription for the management of eczema.
Tacrolimus, is a type of medicine called a topical immunomodulator. It is used to decrease skin inflammation in eczema.
It is not fully understood how tacrolimus works in the treatment of eczema (atopic dermatitis), but it has been shown to suppress inflammatory reactions in the skin.
Severe eczema is thought to be partly caused by immune cells in the skin over-reacting to a stimulus and causing inflammation. Applying tacrolimus to the eczema suppresses these reactions in the skin, and improvement of the eczema is generally seen within a week of starting treatment.
Tacrolimus is used to reduce the inflammation of the skin in eczema and relieve the symptoms of this condition, such as redness and itching.
Tacrolimus ointment is used for the short-term relief of moderate to severe eczema, and as intermittent treatment in the long-term management of eczema.
As with all potent medicines tacrolimus ointment may cause adverse effects including but not limited to burning or itching at the application site and also it is possible to get a sensation of warmth or pins and needles, redness, rash or irritation at the application site. It is also known to increase the possibility of Herpes simplex infections, (cold sores) infection and inflammation of the hair follicles, increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight, hot and cold and to cause facial flushing after drinking alcohol.
Tacrolimus ointment should only be prescribed by a doctor familiar with its use.