People who have a severe case of atopic dermatitis that does not respond to other treatments can try Protopic. This medicated ointment is applied to affected areas of the skin twice a day, and is believed to work by suppressing the immune system. Most people tolerate it well; however, side effects are possible and can include redness and burning at the application site, among other things.
What Is Protopic?
Protopic® (tacrolimus ointment) is a skin medication approved to treat moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (a form of eczema) in adults and children at least two years of age. It is reserved for use in people who have failed other treatments or who cannot use other treatments. Protopic should be used for a short time only, but can be used again, if needed, after a period of nonuse.
Protopic is made by Astellas Pharma Tech Co., Ltd. for Astellas Pharma US, Inc.
How Does Protopic Work?
Atopic dermatitis is thought to occur when the immune system has an overactive response to a trigger, leading to symptoms of eczema. Protopic is an "immunosuppressant" medication. It is believed to treat atopic dermatitis by reducing the activity of the immune system, which helps relieve the symptoms of the condition.
In clinical studies, Protopic improved symptoms of atopic dermatitis, such as itching. In these studies, 37 percent of people using this drug reported a significant improvement in their symptoms (defined as a greater than 90 percent improvement), compared with only 7 percent of people using an ointment with no active medication (a placebo ointment). Some people experienced symptom improvement within one week of beginning treatment.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed March 8, 2012.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed September 13, 2011.
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