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Long-term use of topical tacrolimus ointment: a safe and effective option for the treatment of vernal keratoconjunctivitis

Uso prolongado de tacrolimus tópico: opção eficaz e segura no tratamento da ceratoconjuntivite vernal



To assess the compliance, efficacy, and safety of the long-term use of topical tacrolimus for the clinical management of vernal keratoconjunctivitis.


The medical records of patients with vernal keratoconjunctivitis undergoing long-term treatment with 0.03% topical tacrolimus were retrospectively reviewed. The duration of tacrolimus use and the causes for drug discontinuation were used to assess treatment compliance. To assess drug efficacy, the need for and the number of times that topical corticosteroids were used to control symptoms were registered. Side effects related to tacrolimus use were monitored to determine drug safety.


The study cohort consisted of 21 patients who met the eligibility criteria. The mean duration of tacrolimus use was 41.3 ± 18.5 months. Fourteen patients (66.7%) continuously used tacrolimus, and three (14.3%) discontinued treatment following complete remission. Four patients (19%) did not use tacrolimus as prescribed or interrupted tacrolimus use on their own: two (9.5%) because of discomfort upon application and two (9.5%) because of the lack of improvement. Ten patients (47.6%) maintained disease control without the use of corticosteroids, whereas 11 (52.4%) required an average of 2.70 ± 1.35 corticosteroid cycles to control symptoms. The only reported side effect was discomfort upon application.


Despite the small sample size and study design limitations, these results support the long-term use of topical tacrolimus as an effective and safe option for the treatment of vernal keratoconjunctivitis, with good compliance of patients to the treatment.

Cornea; Vernal keratoconjunctivitis; Tacrolimus; Allergic conjunctivitis; Antiallergic drugs

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