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J Dermatolog Treat. 2004 Jan;15(1):30-4.

A multicenter trial of the efficacy and safety of 0.03% tacrolimus ointment for atopic dermatitis in Korea.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Seoul National University Hospital, Korea.



Atopic dermatitis is a chronically relapsing, common inflammatory skin disease, which significantly affects quality of life negatively in many respects. Topical steroids are the mainstay of atopic dermatitis treatment but they carry the risk of local side effects. A topical formulation of tacrolimus, a macrolide calcineurin inhibitor, has recently been developed.


To evaluate the efficacy and safety of 0.03% tacrolimus ointment for the treatment of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in Korea.


An open, non-comparative, multi-center study with 4 weeks' follow-up was performed. A total of 180 patients (aged 2-57 years old) were enrolled. Tacrolimus ointment (0.03%) was applied to all involved areas twice daily. Efficacy was evaluated by an investigator's global assessment, the eczema area and severity index score, and by the patient's assessment of pruritus and clinical response at baseline, and after weeks 1, 2 and 4. Dermatology life quality index (DLQI), children's DLQI (CDLQI) and toddler's DLQI were assessed at baseline and at week 4. The safety assessment included monitoring all adverse events and clinical laboratory values.


All efficacy parameters were improved. The mean EASI (eczema area and severity index) score was 19.7 at baseline and reduced to 8.0 at the end of the study. Moderate improvement was observed by the investigator's global assessment after 4 weeks' treatment. A marked decrease of pruritus was observed, and mild or moderate improvement was observed by patients' global assessments after the treatment period. Significant benefits in terms of quality of life in adults and children with atopic dermatitis were obtained. The most common adverse events associated with tacrolimus treatment were transient skin burning sensation (45.3%) and pruritus (41.6%) at the site of application.


0.03% tacrolimus ointment should be considered effective and safe in both Korean children and adults with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis.

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