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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Topical tacrolimus for atopic dermatitis

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2015
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (95th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (86th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
2 blogs
26 X users
1 Facebook page
4 Wikipedia pages


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512 Mendeley
Topical tacrolimus for atopic dermatitis
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd009864.pub2
Pubmed ID

Jade Cury Martins, Ciro Martins, Valeria Aoki, Aecio FT Gois, Henrique A Ishii, Edina MK da Silva


Atopic dermatitis (AD) (or atopic eczema) is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects children and adults and has an important impact on quality of life. Topical corticosteroids (TCS) are the first-line therapy for this condition; however, they can be associated with significant adverse effects when used chronically. Tacrolimus ointment (in its 2 manufactured strengths of 0.1% and 0.03%) might be an alternative treatment. Tacrolimus, together with pimecrolimus, are drugs called topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs). To assess the efficacy and safety of topical tacrolimus for moderate and severe atopic dermatitis compared with other active treatments. We searched the following databases up to 3 June 2015: the Cochrane Skin Group Specialised Register, CENTRAL in the Cochrane Library (Issue 5, 2015), MEDLINE (from 1946), EMBASE (from 1974), LILACS (from 1982), and the Global Resource of Eczema Trials (GREAT database). We searched six trials registers and checked the bibliographies of included studies for further references to relevant trials. We contacted specialists in the field for unpublished data.A separate search for adverse effects of topical tacrolimus was undertaken in MEDLINE and EMBASE on 30 July 2013. We also scrutinised the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) websites for adverse effects information. All randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of participants with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis (both children and adults) using topical tacrolimus at any dose, course duration, and follow-up time compared with other active treatments. Two authors independently screened and examined the full text of selected studies for compliance with eligibility criteria, risk of bias, and data extraction. Our three prespecified primary outcomes were physician's assessment, participant's self-assessment of improvement, and adverse effects. Our secondary outcomes included assessment of improvement of the disease by validated or objective measures, such as SCORAD (SCORing Atopic Dermatitis), the EASI (Eczema Area and Severity Index), and BSA (Body Surface Area) scores. We included 20 studies, with 5885 participants. The variability of drug doses, outcomes, and follow-up periods made it difficult to carry out meta-analyses.A single trial showed that tacrolimus 0.1% was better than low-potency TCS by the physician's assessment (risk ratio (RR) 3.09, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.14 to 4.45, 1 study, n = 371, moderate-quality evidence). It was also marginally better than low-potency TCS on face and neck areas and moderate-potency TCS on the trunk and extremities by the physician's assessment (RR 1.32, 95% CI 1.17 to 1.49, 1 study, n = 972, moderate level of evidence) and for some of the secondary outcomes. Compared with pimecrolimus 1%, people treated with tacrolimus were almost twice as likely to improve by the physician's assessment (RR 1.80, 95% CI 1.34 to 2.42, 2 studies, n = 506, moderate quality of evidence). Compared with the lower concentration of 0.03%, the tacrolimus 0.1% formulation reduced the risk of not having an improvement by 18% as evaluated by the physician's assessment (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.72 to 0.92, 6 studies, n = 1640, high-quality evidence). Tacrolimus 0.1% compared with moderate-to-potent TCS showed no difference by the physician's assessment, and 2 secondary outcomes (1 study, 377 participants) and a marginal benefit favouring tacrolimus 0.1% was found by the participant's assessment (RR 1.21, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.29, 1 study, n = 974, low quality of evidence) and SCORAD.Based on data from 2 trials, tacrolimus 0.03% was superior to mild TCS for the physician's assessment (RR 2.58, 95% CI 1.96 to 3.38, 2 studies, n = 790, moderate-quality evidence) and the participant's self-assessment (RR 1.64, 95% CI 1.41 to 1.90, 1 study, n = 416, moderate quality of evidence). One trial showed moderate benefit of tacrolimus 0.03% compared with pimecrolimus 1% on the physician's assessment (RR 1.42, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.98, 1 study, n = 139, low-quality evidence), but the effects were equivocal when evaluating BSA. In the comparison of tacrolimus 0.03% with moderate-to-potent corticosteroids, no difference was found in most of the outcomes measured (including physician's and participant's assessment and also for the secondary outcomes), but in two studies, a marginal benefit favouring the corticosteroid group was found for the EASI and BSA scores.Burning was more frequent in those using calcineurin inhibitors than those using corticosteroid tacrolimus 0.03% (RR 2.48, 95% CI 1.96 to 3.14, 5 studies, 1883 participants, high-quality evidence), but no difference was found for skin infections. Symptoms observed were mild and transient. The comparison between the two calcineurin inhibitors (pimecrolimus and tacrolimus) showed the same overall incidence of adverse events, but with a small difference in the frequency of local effects.Serious adverse events were rare; occurred in both the tacrolimus and corticosteroid groups; and in most cases, were considered to be unrelated to the treatment. No cases of lymphoma were noted in the included studies nor in the non-comparative studies. Cases were only noted in spontaneous reports, cohorts, and case-control studies. Systemic absorption was rarely detectable, only in low levels, and this decreased with time. Exception is made for diseases with severe barrier defects, such as Netherton's syndrome, lamellar ichthyosis, and a few others, with case reports of a higher absorption. We evaluated clinical trials; case reports; and in vivo, in vitro, and animal studies; and didn't find any evidence that topical tacrolimus could cause skin atrophy. Tacrolimus 0.1% was better than low-potency corticosteroids pimecrolimus 1% and tacrolimus 0.03%. Results were equivocal when comparing both dose formulations to moderate-to-potent corticosteroids. Tacrolimus 0.03% was superior to mild corticosteroids and pimecrolimus. Both tacrolimus formulations seemed to be safe, and no evidence was found to support the possible increased risk of malignancies or skin atrophy with their use. The reliability and strength of the evidence was limited by the lack of data; thus, findings of this review should be interpreted with caution. We did not evaluate costs.

X Demographics

X Demographics

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Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 512 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
South Africa 1 <1%
Unknown 511 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 86 17%
Student > Bachelor 60 12%
Researcher 48 9%
Student > Ph. D. Student 34 7%
Student > Postgraduate 33 6%
Other 92 18%
Unknown 159 31%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 171 33%
Nursing and Health Professions 40 8%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 29 6%
Psychology 20 4%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 14 3%
Other 66 13%
Unknown 172 34%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 43. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 11 April 2023.
All research outputs
of 26,150,873 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 13,188 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 279,122 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 298 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 26,150,873 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 96th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 13,188 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 34.7. This one has done well, scoring higher than 85% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 279,122 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 298 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 86% of its contemporaries.