The Use of Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors in Atopic Dermatitis

Annie Crissinger1, Nicholas V. Nguyen*, 2
1 Department of Pharmacy, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, USA
2 Department of Dermatology, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO, USA

© Crissinger and Nguyen; et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Dermatology, University of Colorado, 1655 Aurora Ct, Mail Stop F703, ACP Rm 3233, Aurora, CO 80045-0510, USA; E-mail:


In recent years, two topical calcineurin inhibitors have emerged as effective alternatives to corticosteroids for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Decisions regarding first line therapy between pimecrolimus and tacrolimus are often based on anecdotal evidence. Herein, we review the current evidence supporting the use of pimecrolimus and tacrolimus in atopic dermatitis as well as key differences in safety, tolerability, and cost between the drugs.

Keywords: Atopic dermatitis, calcineurin inhibitors, pimecrolimus, tacrolimus.