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Topical Tacrolimus May Provide Temporary Relief for CLE

Significant improvement seen in patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus at 28 and 56 days

THURSDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Topical application of tacrolimus 0.1 percent ointment may provide temporary relief for acute, edematous, non-hyperkeratotic lesions in patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE), according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Annegret Kuhn, M.D., from the University of Muenster in Germany, and colleagues assessed the efficacy of tacrolimus 0.1 percent ointment for skin lesions in 18 female and 12 male patients with different subtypes of CLE. Patients were randomly assigned to treatment of two selected skin lesions with tacrolimus 0.1 percent ointment or vehicle twice daily for 12 weeks. Clinical features, including erythema, hypertrophy/desquamation, edema, and dysesthesia, were assessed.

The investigators found significant improvement at 28 and 56 days for patients who were treated with tacrolimus 0.1 percent ointment as compared to treatment with vehicle. The improvement was no longer seen at 84 days. The most rapid response was seen with edema, which improved significantly after 28 days of tacrolimus compared to vehicle. Clinical score changes for erythema were also significantly improved after 28 days, but not at 56 or 84 days. Patients with lupus erythematosus tumidus showed the highest degree of improvement. No major side effects were seen in CLE patients after the treatment.

"Topical application of tacrolimus 0.1 percent ointment may provide at least temporary benefit, especially in acute, edematous, non-hyperkeratotic lesions of CLE patients," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed a financial relationship with Astellas Pharma GmbH, which partially supported the study.

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