Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Calcipotriol

Calcipotriol is prescribed in the treatment of the scaly skin condition known as psoriasis.

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Calcipotriol (also known as calpotriene) is the active ingredient of Dovonex.

General Information

Calcipotriol is prescribed in the treatment of the scaly skin condition known as psoriasis. It is effective in treating psoriasis of both the skin and scalp.

Calcipotriol is a synthetic derivate (a similar product) of vitamin D. Excessive use of this medication may lead to a rise in calcium levels in the body and should be used with extreme caution in persons who already have high blood levels of calcium.

To avoid overdose, calcipotriol should only be applied to the skin of patients where less than 25% of the skin area is affected.

Continue using this medication even if no immediate effect is observed - it may take up to 2 weeks for improvement to become noticeable.

How does calcipotriol work?

This medication reduces the production or division of cells that are responsible for the scaling and thickening of the skin - key symptoms often associated with psoriasis.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 3

Available as: Calcipotriol is available as cream, ointment and scalp lotion.

What does it do? Calcipotriol has an anti-psoriasis action.

Overdose risk: Low

Dependence risk: Low

Is calcipotriol available as a generic? No

Is calcipotriol available on prescription only ? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: Within 2 weeks

Duration of action: Up to 12 hours

Stopping this medicine: This medication should not be stopped until you have completed the course as directed by your doctor. If stopped prematurely, symptoms may recur.

Prolonged use: No problems are expected if used in low doses. You doctor may monitor calcium levels in blood and urine with prolonged use.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug:

  • If you have unusually high levels of calcium in your blood
  • If you have had an allergic reaction to the drug before
  • If you are taking any other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children : Safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established for children under the age of 6 years.

Elderly: No special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: No special precautions need to be taken.

Alcohol: No special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects:

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Skin irritation

x

x

Rash

x

x

Nausea

x

x

Constipation/ thirst

x

x

Frequent urination

x

x

Interactions:

Drug interactions:

Salicylic acid

Inactivates calcipotriol

Overdose action

Overdose is rare. Excessive use or use over prolonged periods of time may cause high blood levels of calcium. Symptoms may include thirst, constipation, nausea and frequent urination.

Recommended dosage

Apply 1-2 times daily to the affected area. Avoid contact with the face and wash hands immediately after use. Do not apply more than 100 g of the cream/ointment per week or 60 ml of the scalp lotion.

 

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