Calcineurin inhibitor

Author: A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, January 2016.

What is calcineurin?

Calcineurin is a cellular enzyme that catalyses some processes in activated T-lymphocytes.

What is a calcineurin inhibitor?

A calcineurin inhibitor stops calcineurin working, by binding to proteins in the cells called immunophilins. The results are:

What are calcineurin inhibitors used for in dermatology?

Calcineurin inhibitors are used topically and systemically to treat various inflammatory skin diseases, especially:

What are the topical calcineurin inhibitors?

Ciclosporin can be used topically, but must be compounded extemporaneously in New Zealand.

What are the oral calcineurin inhibitors?

What are the risks of a calcineurin inhibitor?

Side effects and risks of the specific calcineurin inhibitor are described in the individual topics.

As a class of drug, the main concern is the effect of calcineurin on kidney function. Suspected reasons for nephrotoxicity include:

The risk of nephrotoxicity is reduced by:

New Zealand approved datasheets are the official source of information for these prescription medicines, including approved uses and risk information. Check the individual New Zealand datasheet on the Medsafe website.

Related information

Email Newsletter

Would you like to receive our dermatology updates by email?


Submit your images

We're seeking high-quality photos of skin diseases.  


Machine diagnosis

Watch DermNet's proposal to create a 'Skin Disease Image Recognition Tool' - winner of the 2017 'Clinicians' Challenge Active Award' by the NZ Ministry of Health and HiNZ.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
DermNet NZ Newsletter