Geographic tongue treated with topical tacrolimus

J Dermatol Case Rep. 2010 Dec 31;4(4):57-9. doi: 10.3315/jdcr.2010.1058.


Background: Geographic tongue, or benign migratory glossitis, is usually an asymptomatic inflammatory disorder of the tongue mucosa of unknown etiology. It is characterized by circinate, erythematous, ulcer-like lesions of the dorsum and lateral border of the tongue due to loss of filiform papillae of the tongue epithelium. Symptomatic treatments have not been evaluated rigorously.

Main observation: We describe herein two cases of adult patients with persistent and painful geographic tongue successfully treated with topical application of 0.1% tacrolimus ointment.

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first report of successful treatment with topical 0.1% tacrolimus for symptomatic geographic tongue. Clinical trials are needed to confirm the efficacy and the safety of topical tacrolimus in treating geographic tongue.

Keywords: benign migratory glossitis; calcineurin inhibitors; geographic tongue; tacrolimus; treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports