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Why is Tacrolimus prescribed?

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 is used with other medications to prevent rejection of a kidney, heart, or liver transplant. This medication belongs to a class of drugs known as immunosuppressants. It works by weakening your body's defense system (immune system) to help your body accept the new organ as if it were your own.

How to use Tacrolimus

Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually every 12 hours or as directed by your doctor. If you have nausea or an upset stomach, you may take this drug with food, although this may cause your body to absorb less of the drug. However, you must choose one way (with food or without food) and always take this medication the same way so that your body always absorbs the same amount of drug. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Tacrolimus Dosage

Tacrolimus comes as a capsule to take by mouth or as a solution to be injected into a vein.

Follow your doctor's instructions carefully when taking or receiving tacrolimus. Don't use more or less of the drug than is recommended.

Whole blood levels can be monitored in patients who take tacrolimus to ensure they're taking the correct dose and to decrease the risk of adverse effects.

Common Side Effects of Tacrolimus

  • Diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body

Tacrolimus Warnings

Tacrolimus contains a black-box warning because it may increase your risk of infection and your chances of developing skin cancer or lymphoma.

Tell your doctor right away if you notice any of the following symptoms while taking tacrolimus:

  • Signs of infection, which may include fever, chills, or sore throat
  • Unusual growths or lumps
  • Any changes in the appearance or size of a mole
  • Night sweats
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin