Topical Tacrolimus 0.03% for Maintenance Therapy in Steroid-Dependent, Recurrent Phlyctenular Keratoconjunctivitis

Cornea. 2018 Feb;37(2):168-171. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000001440.


Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of topical tacrolimus 0.03% as steroid-free maintenance therapy in young patients with severe, recurrent phlyctenular keratoconjunctivitis (PKC).

Methods: The medical records of 6 eyes of 5 patients (4 children and 1 young adult) with recurrent, steroid-dependent PKC were reviewed. The patients were treated with combined application of topical steroids and tacrolimus 0.03% in the active phase and maintained on topical tacrolimus alone after remission.

Results: The clinical signs, symptoms, and visual acuities resolved in all patients after 25.2 ± 16.9 days of combined treatment with steroids and tacrolimus. After disease remission, the patients were maintained on topical tacrolimus 0.03% once daily alone for 8.4 ± 4.7 months, and no recurrence occurred during 10.6 ± 1.9 months of follow-up. Tacrolimus was successfully discontinued in 2 patients without further recurrence. There were no ocular side effects related to the use of topical tacrolimus.

Conclusions: Topical tacrolimus 0.03% was effective in maintaining long-term remission in patients with recurrent, steroid-dependent PKC.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Child
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Keratoconjunctivitis / diagnosis
  • Keratoconjunctivitis / drug therapy*
  • Keratoconjunctivitis / physiopathology
  • Maintenance Chemotherapy
  • Male
  • Ointments
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Tacrolimus / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Ointments
  • Tacrolimus