A small number of patients who used tacrolimus ointment or another similar medication developed skin cancer or lymphoma (cancer in a part of the immune system). There is not enough information available to tell whether tacrolimus ointment caused these patients to develop cancer. Studies of transplant patients and laboratory animals and an understanding of the way tacrolimus works suggest that there is a possibility that people who use tacrolimus ointment have a greater risk of developing cancer. More study is needed to understand this risk.
Follow these directions carefully to decrease the possible risk that you will develop cancer during your treatment with tacrolimus ointment:
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with tacrolimus and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website ( Web Site) or the manufacturer's website to obtain the Medication Guide.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of using tacrolimus ointment.
Tacrolimus ointment is used to treat the symptoms of eczema (atopic dermatitis; a skin disease that causes the skin to be dry and itchy and to sometimes develop red, scaly rashes) in patients who cannot use other medications for their condition or whose eczema has not responded to another medication. Tacrolimus is in a class of medications called topical calcineurin inhibitors. It works by stopping the immune system from producing substances that may cause eczema.
Tacrolimus comes as an ointment to apply to the skin. It is usually applied twice a day to the affected area. To help you remember to apply tacrolimus ointment, apply it at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use tacrolimus exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
To use the ointment, follow these steps:
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before using tacrolimus ointment,
Talk to your doctor about eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice while you are taking this medicine.
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply extra ointment to make up for a missed dose.
Tacrolimus ointment may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Tacrolimus ointment may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: February 15, 2016.