Major Uses

Tacrolimus is an ophthalmic preparation used to treat keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye, and chronic superficial keratitis. It may be used in other forms to prevent the body from rejecting transplanted organs. The drug is sometimes used for other reasons as well.

Tacrolimus works by modifying the immune response and reducing inflammation. It increases tear production and reduces symptoms associated with immune disorders and inflammation, such as itching, burning, and irritation. The ointment and solution are for use on dogs.

Common Precautions

Side effects associated with use of tacrolimus are rare and typically mild. These may include mild eye irritation, excessive blinking, or rubbing at the eye. Severe symptoms necessitate discontinuation of the medication until a veterinarian can be consulted.

Tacrolimus is not for use in cases of fungal or viral infections of the eye. These infections must be treated prior to beginning treatment with tacrolimus. It is not known if this solution is safe for use in pregnant, lactating, breeding, or young animals.

The medication may interact with other drug and supplements, so it is important to disclose all medical history before beginning treatment with tacrolimus. If using more than one eye medication during treatment, allow a full 5 minutes to pass between applications to prevent the washing away of one medication by another.

Tacrolimus should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. Oral overdose of tacrolimus may cause kidney and liver damage. Topical overdose is not likely. Any known or suspected overdose should be reported to a veterinarian right away.


Tacrolimus should be stored in the original packaging, at room temperature, and away from children and animals. It should be kept away from direct sunlight and heat sources. The medication should not be stored in the bathroom or above the kitchen sink.


Tacrolimus is available as an ointment and solution for use externally in and on the eyes. The frequency of dosing depends on the condition being treated. Consult a veterinarian or the package labeling for detailed dosing instructions.

If discharge is present on or around the eye, it should be removed with a sterile eyewash solution prior to applying the solution. Never allow the dropper to touch the eye surface during administration.

Doses may vary in different species, when the drug is given by a different route or concurrently with other medications, and with regards to a patient's age, breed, and health status. A veterinarian's dosing instructions and/or those printed on the medication label should be followed closely.

If a dose of tacrolimus is missed, it should be applied as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, the missed dose should be skipped. Two doses of this medication should not be given at once.

This information is for general reference only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition of your pet. It's intended as a general reference, this information may not include all possible uses, precautions, directions, reactions (including allergic), drug interactions, or withdrawal times. Always consult your local veterinarian and have your pet examined for any advice concerning the diagnosis and treatment of your pet, including which products and doses are most appropriate. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. VetDepot is not a pharmacy. All prescription products are dispensed by our Pharmacy Partner. Article last updated 2/2014.