Psoriasis (young people)

Psoriasis topical treatments: topical calcineurin inhibitors e.g. Protopic (tacrolimus)

A few people had used topical calcineurin inhibitors, such as Protopic (tacrolimus) and Elidel (pimecrolimus). These creams don’t contain steroids, but some people confused them with being one. Calcineurin inhibitors are an immunosuppressant which means they work by reducing the activity of the immune system and reducing inflammation.

One benefit of calcineurin inhibitors is that they can be safely used on the face, although this is an ‘off-label’ use (this refers to when clinical trials have not been done to check that the medicine is safe and effective for the use). Lucy and Ella used tacrolimus creams on their faces and had topical steroids for psoriasis on the rest of the body.

Jack has noticed an improvement since being prescribed Protopic (tacrolimus) by his GP with a special interest in skin conditions.

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Age at interview: 24
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 20
[Protopic] works with like the skin cycles and stuff, if I use it two or three days before I have something that, I don’t know, I want my skin to be reasonably clear for – then that sort of works, if that makes sense. So I guess most of what I’m doing at the moment is just trying to pinpoint a few days where it’s like ‘ah, okay, yeah. I kind of want my skin to look alright’. And so I’ll just use the cream once a night for a few days before. And then it’s normally, yeah, it’s been for like up to like five, five days to a week at a time with that. So you know that’s not bad at all considering before I got this cream, I had I don’t know maybe six months of it being basically a constant sort of presence on my face so it’s been nice recently having days where I just don’t even think about it because it’s basically not-. It probably is still noticeable but for me anyway at times at the moment it’s like, it’s, you know, I have normal skin, which is lovely.
Sometimes people found calcineurin inhibitor creams could be itchy to use at first, but this usually stopped after using it for a few days.
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