1 What is Protopic?

Brand: Protopic

Generic: Tacrolimus

Protopic is an immune-suppressing ointment, it is applied to the skin affected by moderate to severe treatment-resistant atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition. You can get Protopic only after your doctor prescribes it for you.

2 Proper Usage

To use Protopic properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

  • Strictly follow your doctor’s instructions.
  • Use this medicine only when other treatments have failed to relieve your skin condition.
  • You may become more susceptible to chicken pox, eczema herpeticum, herpes simplex virus infections (skin blisters), or varicella zoster virus infection (shingles). So, consult your doctor about this.
  • Do not use continuously for a long duration.
  • Read the patient information leaflet carefully and follow accordingly.
  • Keep tacrolimus away from your eyes, nose, mouth or cuts on the skin. Wash immediately if these areas are exposed to tacrolimus.

How to apply?

  • Use soap to wash hands before and after applying the ointment.
  • Apply the ointment after your hands are completely dry.
  • Apply a little ointment on the affected area and rub well. Do not cover then.
  • Bathing or swimming immediately after applying the medicine can wash it away.
  • Use a moisturizing lotion on the affected part if your doctor allows.
  • Avoid using other skin care products on the treated skin.


For best results, follow your doctor to know what amount of medicine you should apply in a single dose. The doses of a medicine can differ according to the conditions for which it is being prescribed. Remember your doses can differ. Consult your doctor if you have anything to ask.

The doses for atopic dermatitis are:

  • Adults and teenagers 16 years and above: Apply a small amount of 0.03% or 0.1% ointment twice daily, after properly cleaning and drying the affected area.
  • Children 2 to 15 years: Apply a small amount of 0.03% ointment twice daily, after properly cleaning and drying the affected area.
  • Children below 2 years: Not recommended.


  • Store in a closed container at room temperature protected from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Do not freeze.
  • Keep away from children.
  • Discard any unused or expired medicines.
  • Properly close the tube after use.

3 Precautions to Take

In using Protopic, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor. Your progress should be regularly monitored to determine if you are responding to the treatment.

  • Consult your doctor if your condition persists for more than 6 weeks or worsens. Also, ask about your increased risk of skin cancer or lymphoma.
  • Discontinue using the ointment if you have itchy, burning, and stinging skin conditions, rashes or other symptoms of eczema.
  • Limit exposure to sunlight to reduce your risk of skin tumors. Here is how:

        o The time between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. is crucial. Stay inside during these hours, if possible.
        o Protect your skin with a hat, sunglasses and others.
        o Use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or more. Also, protect your lips with a special lipstick having SPF 15 or more.
        o In case you are having "phototherapy", do not forget to inform your doctor.
        o Do not tan artificially too. Avoid using a sunlamp or a tanning bed.

  • Call your doctor or poison control center immediately if this ointment accidentally enters your mouth.
  • Consult your doctor about using other prescription or nonprescription medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements while taking this medicine.

4 Potential Side Effects

Make sure you meet with your doctor in using Protopic to avoid unwanted potential side effects.

Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:

Incidence not known: 

  • Restlessness
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Blood in urine
  • Burning or stinging in the face
  • Changes in mole
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Decreased urine volume or frequency
  • Depression
  • Skin growths
  • Weeping mole
  • Abnormal muscle contractions
  • Appearance of a new mole
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Pus-filled blisters on the skin
  • Sudden fainting
  • Swollen face, ankles, hands, or fingers
  • Swollen glands

Mild and non-serious side effects usually go away on their own without requiring medical intervention. You may also ask your doctor to learn more about how you may prevent or reduce the side effects.

Talk to your doctor if the side effects persist or worry you, including:

More common:

Less common

The side effects of the medicine are not limited to the ones listed above. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any side effects that are uncommon or worry you. To report side effects to the FDA, contact at 1-800-FDA-1088.