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Acta Derm Venereol. 2010 Mar;90(2):170-4. doi: 10.2340/00015555-0803.

One-year treatment with 0.1% tacrolimus ointment versus a corticosteroid regimen in adults with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis: A randomized, double-blind, comparative trial.

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Skin and Allergy Hospital, Department of Dermatology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.


A one-year, randomized, double-blind study was conducted in 80 patients with atopic dermatitis treated with tacrolimus ointment or a corticosteroid regimen (hydrocortisone acetate 1% ointment for head and neck, hydrocortisone butyrate 0.1% ointment for trunk and limbs) to compare efficacy and safety, and effects on Th2-reactivity. The study was completed by 36/40 patients in the tacrolimus group, and 31/40 patients in the corticosteroid group. In both groups affected body surface area, eczema area and severity index, and transepidermal water loss decreased at months 6 and 12. Tacrolimus was superior for all efficacy scores at month 6, and in the head and neck area at month 12. Recall antigen reactivity increased at month 12 in both groups. Adverse events were reported by 40/40 patients in the tacrolimus, and by 34/40 patients in the corticosteroid group. Long-term treatment with topical tacrolimus or a corticosteroid regimen improves atopic dermatitis and recall antigen reactivity, suggesting an improvement in the Th1/Th2-balance.

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