Protopic Ointment is one of two topical Rx drugs available to treat eczema (atopic dermatitis) without the use of steroids. This is exciting news because corticosteroids are not recommended for long-term use and yet eczema is a recurring or chronic condition. Using a TCI (topical calcineurin inhibitor) such as Protopic Ointment as a second-line treatment option is ideal for those that cannot tolerate steroids or who require medication for extended periods of time.
You can start off with a steroid ointment, cream, or lotion to gain some control over the inflammation and then switch to Protopic Ointment or generic Tacrolimus that can be applied every day to keep the scaly patches under control and reduce the number of flare-ups you have. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Once applied as directed, Protopic Ointment, is absorbed into the skin cells of the affected area where it suppresses certain white blood cells called T cells so it inhibits the release of cytokines. Cytokines are cell signaling molecules that stimulate the movement of cells to the location of inflammation. With a decrease of the inflammatory causing chemicals, the flare-up fades and you experience relief from itching and redness. There’s no need to worry about the length of time you use Protopic Ointment, because it does not have the side effects that topical steroids do.
It is currently believed that eczema is a result of having an impaired barrier function in your epidermis that allows some of your own natural flora and fauna that share your body to upset the balance, as well as let toxins and antigens enter. This impairment can set off an immune response that your body is in imminent danger as these intruders get past the faulty layer of skin that should be protecting you.
Inflammatory substances are sent to contain the threat and begin the healing process while other chemicals attack your own tissues believing they are the intruders. Inflammation, redness, and itching can become a vicious cycle as one begets the other and Protopic Ointment can help break the cycle.
Ask your doctor if Protopic Ointment could be harmful to your unborn or nursing baby, or if you become pregnant during treatment. Discuss other medical conditions or allergies you have with your doctor and list any OTC or Rx medications you are taking, including herbal remedies and dietary or vitamin supplements so it can be decided if Protopic Ointment is the right topical treatment for you.
You may be more susceptible to infections while using Protopic Ointment because it reduces the blood cells in your body that usually fight them off. Avoid exposure to sunlight, sun lamps, and tanning beds because Protopic Ointment can make your skin more sensitive to the effects of UVA and UVB rays. Wear loose fitting clothing and ask your doctor before you use a sunscreen on the treated areas. Protopic Ointment should not be used on children under the age of two years.