Tacrolimus ointment is effective for facial and intertriginous psoriasis

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004 Nov;51(5):723-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2004.07.011.


Background: Intertriginous and facial involvement are manifestations of psoriasis that require a different approach than is used for typical plaque psoriasis on other skin areas. Topical corticosteroids are the primary treatment for psoriasis; however, the side effects of corticosteroids are magnified on intertriginous and facial skin. Topical tacrolimus offers the potential for anti-inflammatory effect without the atrophy or other local side effects associated with the use of topical corticosteroids.

Objective: To determine the efficacy and tolerability of 0.1% tacrolimus ointment for the treatment of facial or intertriginous psoriasis.

Methods: One hundred sixty-seven patients 16 years or older were evaluated in an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled, multi-center study. Upon entry into the study, patients were randomized 2:1 to apply the tacrolimus ointment 0.1% or vehicle twice daily to all psoriatic lesions of the face or intertriginous areas for 8 weeks. The physician's global assessment was used to assess improvement from baseline. The inverse psoriasis severity for patients was measured using a 6-point scale from clear to very severe.

Results: As early as day 8, more patients ( P = .004) had cleared or achieved excellent improvement in the 0.1% tacrolimus ointment group compared to the vehicle group (24.8% vs 5.8%). At the end of the 8-week treatment period 65.2% of the tacrolimus ointment group and 31.5% of the vehicle were clear or almost clear ( P < .0001) based on a Static Severity Score. Adverse events were similar in the 0.1% tacrolimus ointment and vehicle groups. Conclusion Tacrolimus ointment is an effective treatment for psoriasis of the face or intertriginous areas.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dermatologic Agents / adverse effects
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Facial Dermatoses / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ointments
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Tacrolimus / adverse effects
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use*


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Ointments
  • Tacrolimus