Background: Despite a range of available topical and systemic therapies, treatment of cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) can be challenging. Objectives. To evaluate the efficacy of a specially formulated preparation of tacrolimus 0.3% in clobetasol propionate 0.05% ointment (TCPO) in the treatment of CLE.
Methods: Case notes of 13 patients with treatment-resistant CLE (11 discoid LE, 1 systemic LE and 1 subacute cutaneous LE) who had used twice-daily TCPO (TCPO group) were reviewed. These were compared with five similar patients with resistant CLE who had been given 0.1% tacrolimus ointment alone (TO group).
Results: In the TCPO group (mean treatment duration 20 months, range 1-72), a good or excellent response was seen in five and six patients, respectively; one patient showed slight improvement. Telangiectasia and acne were observed in two patients. No systemic side-effects were noted. In the TO group (mean treatment duration 6 months, range 1-24), one patient showed good improvement and two showed slight improvement.
Conclusion: The results of our small retrospective study suggest that TCPO may be more effective than either 0.1% tacrolimus or clobetasol propionate 0.05% ointment monotherapy in the treatment of recalcitrant CLE. Randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.