If you’ve had an organ transplant or if you have eczema, you may want to learn more about tacrolimus (Astagraf XL, Envarsus XR, Prograf, Protopic).
Tacrolimus is a generic prescription drug that comes as a liquid for injection, a capsule, and an ointment. These forms have different uses:
- Tacrolimus injections and capsules are used to prevent rejection of certain organ transplants after surgery. These forms of the drug are used in adults and some children.
- Tacrolimus ointment is used for short-term treatment of moderate to severe eczema in adults and some children. It’s used when other eczema treatments don’t work or aren’t an option.
Tacrolimus belongs to a group of drugs called immunosuppressants.
Keep reading for details on tacrolimus and cost and how to save money on prescriptions.
Note: For more details on tacrolimus, see this in-depth article.
The price you pay for tacrolimus can vary. Your cost may depend on the form of tacrolimus you take, your treatment plan, your insurance coverage, and the pharmacy you use. If you receive tacrolimus by injection, it will also depend on how much you might pay to receive the drug at your doctor’s clinic or the hospital.
To find out how much you’ll pay for tacrolimus, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about tacrolimus and cost.
Do the two strengths of tacrolimus ointment (0.03% and 0.1%) cost the same?
This is possible. The higher strength of tacrolimus ointment (0.1%) may cost slightly more than the lower strength (0.03%). However, the cost of the different strengths may be the same if you have health insurance.
Contact your insurance provider to find out if this is the case. Or talk with your pharmacist, who may be able to tell you exactly how much your prescription will cost.
Note: An ointment is a skin product that’s thicker and more oily than a cream. Tacrolimus isn’t available as a cream.
Do tacrolimus capsules vary in cost depending on their strength (0.5 mg, 1 mg, 5 mg)?
Possibly. Your cost may also depend on your prescribed dosage and whether or not you have health insurance.
Tacrolimus capsules come in three strengths: 0.5 milligrams (mg), 1 mg, and 5 mg.
A higher-strength capsule may cost slightly more than a lower-strength one. However, the cost of the capsules may be the same if you have insurance coverage. Contact your insurance provider to find out if this is the case.
Your doctor will prescribe the strength of tacrolimus capsules that’s right for you. Your pharmacist can likely tell you exactly how much your prescription will cost.
Does the price of tacrolimus depend on the form I use (such as capsules or ointment)?
Yes, this is likely. Generic tacrolimus comes in three forms:
- liquid for injection into a vein that’s given over time
- an ointment that you apply to your skin
- an immediate-release (IR) capsule that you take by mouth (IR means the drug is released into your body right away)
These forms of tacrolimus have different uses (see the “Introduction” at the beginning of this article for details).
Your doctor will prescribe the form and strength needed for your condition. Your pharmacist can likely tell you exactly how much your tacrolimus prescription will cost.
How much does tacrolimus cost without insurance?
How much tacrolimus costs without insurance depends on several factors. These include:
- the form of the drug (capsule, injection, or ointment)
- the strength of the drug
- your dosage
- how long your treatment lasts
- the pharmacy you use, or the cost to receive injections at your clinic or hospital
To find out how much your tacrolimus prescription may cost if you don’t have insurance, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
If you need help paying for your tacrolimus prescription, see “Can I get help paying for tacrolimus?” below for more information.
Tacrolimus is a generic drug. This means it’s an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. A generic is considered to be just as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics generally cost less than brand-name drugs.
Tacrolimus comes as the brand-name drugs Astagraf XL, Envarsus XR, Prograf, and Protopic. Like the different forms of generic tacrolimus, these brand-name drugs do not all have the same uses. To find out how the costs of tacrolimus and its brand-name versions compare, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
If your doctor has prescribed tacrolimus and you’re interested in using a brand-name form instead, talk with them. They may prefer that you take one version instead of the other. You’ll also need to check with your insurance provider. This is because it may not cover all of these drugs.
If you take tacrolimus long term, you may be able to lower your costs in the following ways:
- Look into getting a 90-day supply of your medication. You may be able to get a 90-day supply of tacrolimus if approved by your insurance company. This could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost of the drug. If you’re interested in getting a 90-day supply, talk with your doctor or insurance provider.
- Use a mail-order pharmacy to get your medication. Using a mail-order pharmacy might help lower your cost for tacrolimus. Plus, you could get your medication without leaving home. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order drugs. You may also be able to get a 90-day supply of the drug through mail order. If you don’t have health insurance, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest online pharmacy options that could work for you.
If you need help covering the cost of tacrolimus or understanding your insurance, check out these websites:
You can find insurance information, details on drug assistance programs, and links to savings cards and other services on these sites.
If you have questions about how you can pay for tacrolimus, you may also want to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
If you still have questions about the cost of tacrolimus, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to give you a better idea of what you’ll pay for this drug. But if you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to learn the actual cost you’d pay for tacrolimus.
Examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor or insurance provider include:
- Is there a copay card or coupon that could help lower the cost of tacrolimus?
- Does Medicare cover tacrolimus?
- Are there other drugs for treating my condition that cost less than tacrolimus?
- What are my options if I can’t afford my medication?
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.