Purpose To investigate the efficacy and safety of long-term maintenance treatment with tacrolimus ointment in chronic ocular graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) with ocular surface inflammation. Design A retrospective interventional consecutive case series. Method Long-term maintenance treatment (≥6 months) with topical 0.02% tacrolimus ointment was applied to patients with chronic ocular GVHD with ocular surface inflammation (at least grade 2 inflammatory score). We evaluated the inflammatory score, steroid score and steroid use period of total duration, and numbers of inflammatory aggravations before and after tacrolimus treatment. The clinical outcomes were assessed by symptom score, ocular surface staining, Schirmer I test, tear break-up time (TBUT), and classification of chronic GVHD conjunctivitis at the initial and final examinations. Results Thirteen patients (24 eyes) were treated with tacrolimus ointment for up to 20 months (average 12.2 months). The ocular surface inflammatory score decreased from 2.8 to 0.6 (P =.001) within 2-8 weeks after starting tacrolimus ointment treatment. The numbers of inflammatory aggravation and the need for steroid treatment also decreased after initiating tacrolimus treatment. At the final follow-up, all patients reported improvement in clinical outcomes, compared to initial findings. Except for blurred vision or mild burning sensation, there were no reported side effects. Conclusion Considering the chronic course of GVHD, long-term maintenance treatment with tacrolimus ointment could be useful and safe to locally treat ocular surface inflammation in chronic ocular GVHD.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
All authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none were reported. This study was supported by a grant from the Korea Healthcare technology R&D Project funded by the South Korea government ( Ministry of Health and Welfare ) (Grant No A121861 ). The supporters had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication. Contributions of authors: involved in the design of the study (J.W.J., K.Y.S.); conduct of the study (J.W.J., K.Y.S.); collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data (J.W.J., S.C.Y., K.Y.S.); preparation of the manuscript (J.W.J., K.Y.S.); and review or approval of the manuscript (all authors).
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