Beneficial effects of topical tacrolimus on recalcitrant erosions of pemphigus vulgaris

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2004 May;29(3):271-2. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2004.01499.x.


We report a case of pemphigus vulgaris in which a recalcitrant area of erosion on the cheek cleared only when topical tacrolimus was used in addition to a regime of systemic therapy consisting of cyclophosphamide and prednisolone. Clinical improvement occurred within 10 days of applying topical tacrolimus with healing of erosions and reduction in pain and burning sensations. Topical tacrolimus may inhibit local activation of T lymphocytes through altered expression of cytokines such as interleukin-1, -4 and -5, tumour necrosis factor-alpha and interferon-gamma. Some of these cytokines may also contribute directly to increasing keratinocyte fragility in the aetiology of pemphigus vulgaris erosions. This case illustrates that topical tacrolimus may be a useful adjunct in the management of patients with pemphigus vulgaris.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Pemphigus / drug therapy*
  • Pemphigus / pathology
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Tacrolimus