Background: Tacrolimus has been shown to be a powerful suppressor of the immune system. It was introduced into clinical use to prevent allograft rejection and is now routinely used in kidney, liver, and heart transplantation. Recently, 2 double-blind multicenter studies demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy of topical and systemic tacrolimus in the inflammatory skin diseases atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.
Data source: MEDLINE was searched for relevant publications and combined with our own clinical, in vitro, and in vivo studies.
Study selection: All studies dealing with tacrolimus and dermatology were reviewed.
Data extraction: Publications with clinically relevant data were included in this review.
Conclusions: Topical tacrolimus is a safe and effective therapeutic agent that may open a new era in the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases, particularly for patients with atopic dermatitis. Before its full potential in dermatology can be assessed, more clinical experience in treating children and comparison with the criterion standard of anti-inflammatory therapy, glucocorticosteroids, are needed.