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Abstract

Topical tacrolimus and pimecrolimus are indicated for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, but they have been studied in many off-label uses. We reviewed the English language literature to define their roles in treatment of vitiligo. Double-blind studies show that tacrolimus 0.1% ointment combined with excimer laser is superior to placebo, especially for UV resistant areas, such as bony prominences of the extremities. When used alone, tacrolimus 0.1% ointment is almost as effective as clobetasol propionate 0.05% ointment. Other studies suggest it can also be effective for facial lesions. Double blind studies show that pimecrolimus 1% cream combined with narrow band UVB is superior to placebo, especially for facial lesions. Additional studies would further clarify the role of topical calcineurin inhibitors in vitiligo.