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This medication requires a prescription from your doctor.
Tacrolimus suppositories are prescribed as an alternative treatment for ulcerative colitis, especially in patients with severe symptoms who do not respond to conventional treatments. Tacrolimus is an effective immunomodulator that been shown in multiple studies to effectively reduce symptoms of treatment-resistant ulcerative colitis. A treatment that is administered locally is preferred by many physicians to a systemic treatment that may have severe adverse effects. Reducing systemic side effects of medications like corticosteroids is one of the main reasons tacrolimus suppositories are prescribed.
Tacrolimus is an immunosuppressive drug that has been used after organ transplantation to prevent organ rejection. It has also been used to treat skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and vitiligo. Studies have shown that when administered topically in a suppository, this drug can also reduce inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis. In particular it is most effective for treating distal ulcerative colitis as the effects of the suppository may not reach beyond the distal regions of the colon.
Does Tacrolimus Work for Ulcerative Colitis?
Patients experiencing severe forms of ulcerative colitis may benefit from a tacrolimus suppository, especially those who have not responded to other treatments like 5-ASA, steroids, and biologics. In a study where 11 patients received tacrolimus and 10 received a placebo for 8 weeks, 73% of the patients in the tacrolimus group achieved mucosal healing while only 10% in the placebo group had the same. Side effects related to this medication are rare and in most studies no adverse effects have been reported.
How to Get These Suppositories
There have been clear benefits of treatment with these suppositories demonstrated in several small clinical trials. With a low risk of adverse effects, many doctors and patients have taken an interest in trying this medication for treating moderate to severe forms of ulcerative colitis. As there is no commercially available version of this drug, the suppositories must be obtained from a compounding pharmacy. Our pharmacy most often makes these suppositories in 2mg dosages for use once daily, however formulations can be customized to a patient’s needs.
Tacrolimus for the Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis – Intestinal Research
Tacrolimus Suppositories in Therapy-Resistant Ulcerative Proctitis – Inflammatory Intestinal Diseases
Efficacy of Rectal Tacrolimus for Induction Therapy in Patients With Resistant Ulcerative Proctitis. – Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology