Coadministration of tacrolimus with corticosteroid accelerates recovery in refractory patients with polymyositis/ dermatomyositis: a retrospective study

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2012 Nov 22;13:228. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-13-228.


Background: To investigate whether or not coadministration of tacrolimus (TAC) with prednisolone (PSL) can produce a beneficial effect in the treatment of polymyositis/ dermatomyositis (PM/DM).

Methods: We reviewed medical records of 32 PM/DM patients who had been admitted to our hospital, and abstracted those who had received TAC in addition to oral PSL for treatment. The clinical usefulness of TAC in PM/DM was objectively evaluated focusing upon the manual muscle strength test (MMT) score, serum creatine kinase (CK) and tapering of PSL.

Results: Nine patients with PM and 6 with DM were enrolled in this study. TAC was added because of difficulty in reduction of PSL in 12 patients and recurrence with corticosteroid-induced complications in the remaining 3. Both PM and DM patients showed significant increases in the MMT score and significant decreases in serum CK 1 to 3 months after starting TAC compared with before. Skin symptoms in a clinically amyopathic DM patient also improved 1 month after starting TAC. The daily dosage of PSL could be significantly reduced in both PM and DM after starting TAC compared with before. No serious adverse events ascribable to TAC occurred in any patients.

Conclusion: Additional use of TAC with PSL may safely promote improvement of PM/DM and also accelerate tapering of the latter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Dermatomyositis / blood
  • Dermatomyositis / diagnosis
  • Dermatomyositis / drug therapy*
  • Dermatomyositis / physiopathology
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Prednisolone / adverse effects
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tacrolimus / administration & dosage
  • Tacrolimus / adverse effects
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Biomarkers
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Prednisolone
  • Creatine Kinase
  • Tacrolimus