Calcipotriene (also referred to as Calcipotriol) is a topical drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for psoriasis. Calcipotriene is widely prescribed off-label to treat vitiligo.1
Derived from vitamin D, Calcipotriene slows the growth of skin cells in people with vitiligo. Calcipotriene is sometimes used in combination with topical corticosteroids or phototherapy to increase effectiveness. Calcipotriene is also marketed under the brand name Dovonex.1
Studies have found that Calcipotriene is only partially effective in vitiligo therapy.2 Treatment in children has not been established.
How do I take it?
Calcipotriene comes in ointment and cream forms. To treat vitiligo, a thin layer of Calcipotriene is applied to skin twice daily for no more than eight weeks. The cream is not indicated for facial treatment.3
The FDA-approved label for Calcipotriene lists common side effects including burning itching, dry skin, rash or irritation, and increased calcium in blood and urine.
Rare but serious side effects listed for Calcipotriene can include skin atrophy and dermatitis (redness and swelling with itch).1
Pregnant women, or those planning a pregnancy, should advise their physicians prior to treatment, to avoid risk to fetus.1 Sun exposure during treatment could increase risk of skin cancer.1