Protopic

(tacrolimus)

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Treats moderate to severe eczema.

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Our bottom line

Protopic (tacrolimus) is effective at treating eczema when other options haven’t helped, but its long-term effects on the body aren’t well known.

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  • Lowest price with coupon
    $39.50
Quick facts about Protopic
  • Drug class: Dermatologic
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (tacrolimus)

Upsides

  • Protopic (tacrolimus) is more effective than the similar medications.
  • Protopic (tacrolimus) is stronger than some steroids, making it a good option if similar medications have not worked for you.
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What to expect from Protopic, on one page

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Downsides

  • Is not a first-line option for eczema due to the risk of cancer.
  • Protopic (tacrolimus) can't be used if your immune system is weak (for example, if you have cancer or have been taking steroids for a long time).
  • Not recommended to be used for a very long period of time. If you have to keep using Protopic (tacrolimus), your doctor will have you take breaks in-between.
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What to expect from Protopic, on one page

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How it works

Protopic (tacrolimus) is a topical calcineurin inhibitor. It works by blocking the inflammatory process, so your skin won’t react as much to irritants that make your eczema worse.

Quick facts about Protopic
  • Drug class: Dermatologic
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (tacrolimus)

Used for

Dosage forms

  • Ointment
Tried Protopic? Write a review!

Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Protopic (tacrolimus) for Eczema

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  • First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
    Long term
  • Effectiveness
  • Starts to kick in
    Full effects
  • First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
    Long term
  • Possible side effects
  • Skin burning
  • Itching
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Skin redness
  • Headache
  • Skin infection
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Side effect rates for Protopic (tacrolimus)

From 422 clinical trials of Protopic when taken for eczema (0.03%)
  • Skin burning
    46%46%
    26%26%
  • Itching
    46%46%
    37%37%
  • Skin redness
    25%25%
    20%20%
  • Flu-like symptoms
    23%23%
    19%19%
  • Headache
    20%20%
    11%11%
  • Allergic reaction
    12%12%
    8%8%
  • Skin infection
    12%12%
    11%11%
  • Asthma
    6%6%
    4%4%
  • Inflammation of the hair follicles
    6%6%
    1%1%
  • Rash
    5%5%
    1%1%
  • Fever
    4%4%
    4%4%
  • Herpes simplex
    4%4%
    4%4%
  • Sinus infection
    4%4%
    1%1%
  • Acne
    4%4%
    2%2%
  • Swelling of the limbs
    4%4%
    2%2%
  • Trouble sleeping
    4%4%
    3%3%
  • Menstrual cramps
    4%4%
    2%2%
  • Sore throat
    3%3%
    3%3%
  • Accidental injury
    3%3%
    4%4%
  • Rashes with pus
    3%3%
    2%2%
  • Stuffy nose
    3%3%
    4%4%
  • Diarrhea
    3%3%
    3%3%
  • Hives
    3%3%
    3%3%
  • Alcohol intolerance
    3%3%
  • Rash with blisters
    3%3%
    3%3%
  • Nausea
    3%3%
    4%4%
  • Skin tingling
    3%3%
    2%2%
  • Dry skin
    3%3%
    7%7%
  • Sensitive skin
    3%3%
    1%1%
  • Allergic skin reaction
    3%3%
    1%1%
  • Large areas of redness and peeling of the skin
    3%3%
    3%3%
  • Muscle pain
    3%3%
  • Prickling sensation
    3%3%
    1%1%
  • Bronchitis (inflammation of the airways)
    2%2%
  • Bumpy rashes
    2%2%
    2%2%
  • Irritated skin due to fungus
    2%2%
  • Stomach flu
    2%2%
    1%1%
  • Sunburn
    2%2%
    1%1%
  • Skin disorder
    2%2%
    2%2%
  • Pinkeye
    2%2%
  • Pain
    2%2%
    1%1%
  • Abnormal lymph nodes
    2%2%
    2%2%
  • Face swelling
    2%2%
    2%2%
  • Back pain
    2%2%
  • Weakness
    2%2%
    1%1%
  • Eczema
    2%2%
    2%2%
  • Depression
    2%2%
    1%1%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of Protopic.

Protopic (tacrolimus)
Placebo

People taking Protopic felt side effect more

People taking Protopic felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Protopic (tacrolimus)

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  • There is rare chance that Protopic (tacrolimus) can cause skin and lymphoma cancer. You can help prevent this by using Protopic (tacrolimus) as directed, not for more than or longer than prescribed by your doctor. Try to keep Protopic (tacrolimus) only on the treatment areas and away from healthy skin.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Common concerns from people taking Protopic (tacrolimus)

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Kidneys and liver
  • Rarely, Protopic (tacrolimus) can cause sudden kidney failure. Speak to your doctor if you currently have kidney problems.