*Note: This blog post is intended to offer general guidance and educational information related to skin health. It is essential to understand that this does not constitute medical advice or replace professional medical evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your Doctor when starting or stopping prescribed medication.


I used Protopic for about 10 years, almost every day and my eczema never got better. In fact, it actually got worse.

At the time, it was a great alternative to steroid creams but it never cured my eczema.

After experiencing topical steroid withdrawal (TSW), I started researching the short and long-term side effects of these medications.

My goal is to raise awareness of the side effects of Protopic is used.
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What is Proptopic Used For?

Protopic is the trade name of the drug called Tacrolimus and is an immunosuppressant drug. This form of the drug is used to treat skin conditions like eczema (atopic dermatitis).
It also goes by the name of Prograf and Advagraf. This drug is prescribed on a short-term basis to treat eczema and prevent flare-ups. You should also be aware that it is meant to be used for very short periods.
Since eczema is considered an autoimmune condition, your immune system is overreacting to your environment (food, airborne allergens, chemicals in our food, products, air, water and lifestyle.
The way the drug works is by weakening the skin’s defense (immune) system, thereby decreasing the allergic reaction and relieving eczema.
So it actually decreases your immune system’s capability so that you aren’t flaring up constantly.
Think of it this way. You know those alarms that go off when you walk in and out of stores? It’s like that going off all the time. Multiple false alarms. But what happens when you disable the alarm system completely or reduce it?
You are going to miss a lot of theft.
But since your immune system is weakened to help with eczema flare-ups, this is a bad place to be in for the long term.
Can you imagine your immune system being weakened and suppressed for an extended period of time? There are definitely long-term consequences to this.
In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated the product label for Protopic stating that the long-term use of had not been clearly demonstrated. The warning also added that people shouldn’t be using it for an extended period of time.
So if you are using it on a daily basis, use a tracking app or calendar to know if it’s time to take a break. This would be an excellent period to use natural methods to decrease your flare-ups. This way, you can transition away from relying on these medications long-term.
Yet, it is hard to only use it on a short-term basis because eczema always comes back. So you are stuck in a loop of applying and not applying it. This cycle goes on forever.

Is Protopic a Steroid?

Nope. It’s classified as an immunosupressant medication.

It doesn’t have the same side effects as topical steroids but it has it’s own set.

Some eczema warriors have also gone through withdrawal symptoms from Protopic.

What Are the Side Effects of Protopic

As much good Protopic does on the short term basis, it undoes all of that with all of it’s side effects.

Some of the skin-related sides effects are:

  • acne
  • skin tingling
  • chickenpox or shingles
  • stinging, burning, or itching of the skin area being treated
  • skin infection in the area where the medication was applied
  • increased sensitivity of the skin to hot or cold temperatures
  • Skin addiction

This post is not meant to scare you or blame the drug.

I want to educate you on the drug, to make sure you don’t overuse them as I did and many other people around the world.

If the health care system won’t teach me how to use these medications as a kid, the least I can do is teach you.

My experience with Protopic

I was prescribed this medication as a kid. So I didn’t bother reading the size 1 font brochure.

According to Neosporin, Eczema is a chronic problem for many individuals. It’s estimated that eczema affects 35 million Americans: 1-3% of adults, and 10-20% of children. This is just in America. Not the rest of the world.
You would think that if 10-20% of children are most likely going to be using the medication, the product brochure would be kid and parent-friendly…
I was in a constant cycle with Protopic. I hated using it but I had to.
As I grew older, my skin needed it more. My flares up increased as well.
Throughout the use of this medication, I was always sick. I either had a cold, runny nose, sneezing, and/or sniffling from allergies.
There were times when I had a cold and my allergies were acting up at the same time! Talk about being in a state of discomfort along with my eczema.
This is what an immunosuppressant drug can do. We have to weigh the short and long-term benefits of it.
I think the best way to use this type of drug is for emergencies. Try to find a way to heal your body before using this.
If you do need to use it, have a mindset that, I’m only going to use it for 7-14 days, max. Use that time to find an alternative method that you can use with the least amount of side effects.

So what can I do instead?

Well, you first need to figure out why your eczema is out of control in the first place. Even if it’s a small patch, your body is trying to tell you something.

Most skin conditions are not skin conditions at all.

There is an imbalance internally and your body is communicating to you through your skin. Some people will have different symptoms when there is an imbalance. Some people will gain weight, some will have bad migraines and some will have acne.

For you and me, the imbalance is appearing in the form of eczema.

It’s your job to be the Sherlock Holmes of your mind, body, and spirit.

What are you eating? What products are you using on your skin? What emotional stressors are you dealing with?

While you start your healing journey, you can find a wide range of natural creams to help with your eczema.

One of my go-to creams is a calendula-based ointment or salve. You will be able to find this at your nearest health food store or online!

Benefits of Calendula

  • Relieve skin inflammations and irritations and to
  • Aid in wound healing
  • Speeding and enhancing the healing process
  • Promoting tissue regeneration

There are so many natural alternatives out there and it might feel overwhelming on where to start. My recommendation is to start with the foods you consume and the products you apply to your skin.

One more thing…

If you stumbled upon my blog through the internet or my social media accounts, you are reading this for a reason.

You want to heal your eczema and take back control of your life.

You are tired of the constant itch-scratch cycle.

You are tired of the negative thoughts running in the back of your mind.

Use this as an opportunity to start making the small changes today that will compound over the next months and years.


Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity. – Hippocrates

If you are looking for that extra push to make that change in your life, look no further.
The XZMA Healing Program is meant to do that. I work with you 1:1 and coach you every step of the way.
Who better to help you than someone who is an Eczema Warrior for 20+ years, healed himself from Topical Steroid Withdrawal and is now a Certified Skin Health Coach?