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Protopic

Protopic is used to relieve the symptoms of moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (also called eczema) when conventional treatments have not worked, or to prevent and/or to extend the time between flares of atopic dermatitis.

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The Online Clinic can prescribe Protopic where other treatments for eczema have failed. Please complete a free consultation to get started.

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What is Protopic?

Protopic is a therapy for atopic dermatitis (eczema), containing the medicine tacrolimus monohydrate. This medicine is used:

  • By adults who do not adequately respond to or have side effects with conventional treatments (e.g., topical corticosteroids)
  • By children (aged 2 years and older) who do not adequately respond to conventional treatments (e.g., topical corticosteroids)
  • To prevent the return of flares or lengthen the time without flares, in individuals in whom the condition has or has almost resolved after 6 or fewer weeks of treatment of a flare or in whom flares are frequent (that is 4 times or more over 1 year)

Tacrolimus is known as an immunomodulator (i.e., it alters the immune system). People with atopic dermatitis have a disorder of the immune system that causes the skin to become inflamed (as indicated by the skin becoming itchy, red, and dry). Tacrolimus prevents the release of chemicals causing inflammation, thus reducing the skin's itchiness and inflammation.

How to use Protopic

Protopic is an ointment that is available in two strengths, 0.03% and 0.1%. Generally, a thin layer is spread over the affected skin area(s). It can be used on most of your body, including your face (but not in your nose, mouth or eyes), neck, and where your joints bend. The skin should be dry before application and hands should be washed after application unless they are the areas of treatment. Do not treat infected skin lesions. The treated area(s) should not be covered with plasters or bandages. Treated skin should be protected from the sun by avoiding extended periods of exposure to natural and artificial sunlight (e.g., sun beds), and by using a sunscreen.

All areas of skin affected by atopic dermatitis should be treated with Protopic. Your doctor will instruct you about what to do and when to use it, including what strength of ointment to use, and how often it should be applied. Usually, children (aged 2 years and older) use the 0.03% ointment twice daily for up to 3 weeks, followed by once daily until the condition has resolved. Adolescent (aged 16 years and older) and adults can use either the 0.03% or 0.1% strength of ointment. Usually, 0.1% ointment is applied twice daily (morning and evening), until the condition has resolved. After examining your skin's response to the treatment, your doctor may then change your Protopic prescription. This could be to apply the ointment to the most frequently affected skin areas once a day twice a week (i.e., every 2 to 3 days). Let your doctor know if the dermatitis does not clear up after a week's treatment or if it comes back (you may require a change in treatment), or if there is any alteration to the skin's appearance. At least once a year, your doctor should review your skin condition.

If you swallow Protopic by accident, talk to a doctor immediately, and do not make yourself sick. Apply a forgotten dose when you remember, and continue using the ointment as instructed.

Who can use Protopic?

Protopic 0.03 and 0.1% and is for use by adults and adolescents (aged 16 years and older); children 2 years or older can only use 0.03% ointment. Children younger than 2 years, and pregnant and breastfeeding women must not use this treatment. Do not use Protoic if you have an allergy to its active ingredient (tacrolimus) or its other ingredients or to macrolide antibiotics. You may also not be able to use this ointment if you have liver disease; skin infections, disease or malignancies; or your immune system does function properly.

Inform your doctor about all skin treatments that you are using as well as all your other medicines. Particularly mention oral corticosteroids or medicines affecting the immune system. Protopic should not be used by people who are also using light therapy. Consuming alcohol may cause hot, red skin.

Protopic side effects

Most people experience mild-to-moderate skin itching and burning feelings, which go within a week. Other effects include rash, redness, heat, pain, sensitivity, skin/hair follicle infections, and infrequently, acne. Swelling where the ointment is applied, rosacea (redness of the face), rosacea-like dermatitis, lentigo (brown skin spots), and infections of the skin (impetigo) or eyes (herpes) have been reported after applying the ointment twice weekly. Some people have developed malignancies (e.g., skin, lymphoma) but an association with Protopic has not been proven. Most patients use this treatment without any ill effects.

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Skin treatments
Free Online Assessment Quick and Without Obligation