Calcipotriene for psoriasis


Generic Name Brand Name
calcipotriene, also known as calcipotriol Dovonex

Calcipotriene is available as an ointment, cream, and solution. Calcipotriene, available by prescription, may be used 2 times a day for 6 to 8 weeks or longer. It may also be used in combination with ultraviolet B (UVB) light.

How It Works

Calcipotriene, which is a form of vitamin D, controls the rapid growth of skin cells.

Why It Is Used

Calcipotriene is used to treat mild to severe plaque forms of psoriasis. It is used on the scalp and skin.

How Well It Works

Calcipotriene, also known as calcipotriol, is considered an effective treatment for psoriasis.1

These products are usually as effective as corticosteroid creams and ointments.1

Calcipotriol may delay relapse (flare-ups).1

Side Effects

If you use calcipotriene as your doctor tells you to, it is not likely to cause any side effects except for some skin irritation, such as itchy, red, or tender skin. But if you spread the ointment over too much of your body, a large amount of ointment may be absorbed and can cause serious side effects, including high levels of calcium in the blood and kidney stones.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Calcipotriene is not the same type of vitamin D found in over-the-counter products. These products will not help your psoriasis.

Diets that include large amounts of vitamin D are not effective in treating psoriasis.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Naldi L, Rzany B (2009). Psoriasis (chronic plaque), search date August 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence:


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
Last Revised January 6, 2010

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