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Br J Dermatol. 2008 Dec;159(6):1348-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08813.x. Epub 2008 Sep 6.

Proactive disease management with 0.03% tacrolimus ointment for children with atopic dermatitis: results of a randomized, multicentre, comparative study.

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Department of Dermatology and Venerology, J.W. Goethe University, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, Frankfurt, D-60596 Germany.



Long-term treatment for atopic dermatitis (AD) using low-dose, intermittent, topical anti-inflammatory agents may control acute disease and prevent exacerbations.


This 12-month, European, multicentre, randomized study investigated if proactive, twice-weekly application of 0.03% tacrolimus ointment can keep AD in remission and reduce the incidence of disease exacerbation (DE) in children.


During the initial open-label period, 267 children with AD applied 0.03% tacrolimus ointment twice daily for up to 6 weeks to all affected areas. When an Investigator Global Assessment (IGA) score of <or=2 was achieved, the patient entered the disease control period (DCP) and was randomized to receive tacrolimus (n=125) or vehicle ointment (n=125) twice weekly for 12 months. Exacerbations were treated with 0.03% tacrolimus ointment twice daily until an IGA<or=2 was regained, then randomized treatment was restarted.


The outcome measure was the number of DEs during the DCP that required substantial therapeutic intervention. Proactive application of 0.03% tacrolimus ointment significantly reduced the number of DEs during the DCP that required substantial therapeutic intervention (median difference: 1.0; P<0.001; Wilcoxon rank-sum test), the percentage of DE treatment days (median difference: 6.2; P<0.001; Wilcoxon rank-sum test), and increased the time to first DE requiring intervention (median: 173 vs. 38 days; P<0.001; stratified log-rank test). Differences in quality of life scores were not significant between groups. The adverse event profile was similar for both treatment approaches.


Twice-weekly proactive application of 0.03% tacrolimus ointment over 12 months was effective for most paediatric study patients in preventing, delaying and reducing the occurrence of AD exacerbations.


[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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