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Efficacy of topical tacrolimus 0.1% in active plaque morphea: randomized, double-blind, emollient-controlled pilot study.

Author(s): Kroft EB, Groeneveld TJ, Seyger MM, de Jong EM

Affiliation(s): Department of Dermatology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. i.kroft@zgt.nl

Publication date & source: 2009, Am J Clin Dermatol., 10(3):181-7.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: Tacrolimus, a calcineurin inhibitor, is an immunomodulating and anti-inflammatory drug that inhibits T-cell activation and production of cytokines. The elevated level of cytokines in morphea causes fibroblast proliferation and subsequent overproduction of collagen. Theoretically, tacrolimus could inhibit the pathophysiologic process of morphea. OBJECTIVE: To assess whether tacrolimus 0.1% ointment is an effective treatment for active plaque morphea in a double-blind, placebo (petroleum emollient)-controlled pilot study. METHODS: Ten patients with active plaque morphea were included. All patients were treated with tacrolimus 0.1% ointment and with an emollient (petrolatum) on two selected morphea plaques, applied twice daily for 12 weeks. Initial and final assessment included surface area measurements, photography, durometer scores, and clinical feature scores. Adverse reactions were recorded. RESULTS: The scleroderma plaques treated with topical tacrolimus 0.1% improved, resulting in a significant reduction in durometer and clinical feature scores. Overall, a significant difference could be found between topical tacrolimus and petrolatum with regard to durometer score (p < 0.005) and the clinical feature score (p = 0.019). CONCLUSION: In this first double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study comparing tacrolimus 0.1% ointment with petrolatum in active plaque morphea, tacrolimus 0.1% ointment was shown to be an effective treatment for this condition.

Page last updated: 2009-10-20

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