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Exciting research shows that tacrolimus, a drug that is used to treat patients who receive heart, lung and kidney transplants, helps to control psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, two serious skin diseases that can be difficult to control with safe medications.

Atopic dermatitis and psoriasis are associated with an overactive immune system that causes horrible itching and redness that can cause open sores in the skin. These diseases respond poorly to topical medications, so doctors often prescribe potent drugs, such as prednisone and methotrexate, that supress the immunity and increase a person's chances of getting infections. When the new drug, Tacrolimus, is taken as a pill, it suppresses immunity and increases risk for infections, but tacrolimus ointment is far safer. Doctors have successfully treated both psoriasis and atopic dermatitis with by applying daily a .03% ointment made by adding a single 1 mg pill of tacrolimus to one ounce of Vaseline. The ointment is even more effective when covered with saran wrap. See reports #G108 and #G157.

1) T Ruzicka, T Assmann, B Homey. Tacrolimus - The drug for the turn of the millennium? Archives of Dermatology, 1999, Vol 135, Iss 5, pp 574-580..

2) Boguniewicz M , Fiedler VC , Raimer S , Lawrence ID , Leung DY , Hanifin JM . National Jewish Medical and Research Center and the Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, USA. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1998 Oct;102(4 Pt 1):637-44 .

3) Ruzicka T , Bieber T , Schopf E , Rubins A , Dobozy A , Bos JD , Jablonska S , Ahmed I , Thestrup-Pedersen K , Daniel F , Finzi A , Reitamo S. Department of Dermatology at Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf, Germany. N Engl J Med 1997 Sep 18;337(12):816-21 .

4) Alaiti S , Kang S , Fiedler VC , Ellis CN , Spurlin DV , Fader D , Ulyanov G , Gadgil SD , Tanase A , Lawrence I , Scotellaro P , Raye K , Bekersky I Department of Dermatology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 60612, USA. J Am Acad Dermatol 1998 Jan;38(1):69-76 .

5) Meffert H , Brautigam M , Farber L , Weidinger G Department of Dermatology, Humboldt-Universitat, Charite, Berlin, Germany. Acta Derm Venereol 1997 Mar;77(2):137-41 .

6) Omega-3 fatty acid-based lipid infusion in patients with chronic plaque psoriasis: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial [published erratum appears in J Am Acad Dermatol 1998 Sep;39(3):421]

7) Mayser P , Mrowietz U , Arenberger P , Bartak P , Buchvald J , Christophers E , Jablonska S , Salmhofer W , Schill WB , Kramer HJ , Schlotzer E , Mayer K , Seeger W , Grimminger F .Department of Dermatology and Andrology, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany. J Am Acad Dermatol 1998 Apr;38(4):539-47 .

8) Effectiveness of the ascomycin macrolactam SDZ ASM 981 in the topical treatment off atopic dermatitis. Van Leent EJ , Graber M , Thurston M , Wagenaar A , Spuls PI , Bos JD. Arch Dermatol 1998 Jul;134(7):805-9..

9)Mrowietz U , Graeber M , Brautigam M , Thurston M , Wagenaar A , Weidinger G , Christophers E . Department of Dermatology, University of Kiel, Germany. Br J Dermatol 1998 Dec;139(6):992-6

Checked 8/9/05

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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