In humans, the natural supply of vitamin D depends mainly on exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun for conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in the skin. Calcipotriene is a synthetic analog of vitamin D3.
Clinical studies with radiolabelled calcipotriene ointment indicate that approximately 6% (± 3%, SD) of the applied dose of calcipotriene is absorbed systemically when the ointment is applied topically to psoriasis plaques, or 5% (± 2.6%, SD) when applied to normal skin, and much of the absorbed active is converted to inactive metabolites within 24 hours of application. Systemic absorption of the cream has not been studied.
Vitamin D and its metabolites are transported in the blood, bound to specific plasma proteins. The active form of the vitamin, 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3 (calcitriol), is known to be recycled via the liver and excreted in the bile. Calcipotriene metabolism following systemic uptake is rapid, and occurs via a similar pathway to the natural hormone.
Adequate and well-controlled trials of patients treated with Dovonex Cream (calcipotriene cream) have demonstrated improvement usually beginning after 2 weeks of therapy. This improvement continued with approximately 50% of patients showing at least marked improvement in the signs and symptoms of psoriasis after 8 weeks of therapy, but only approximately 4% showed complete clearing.
Last reviewed on RxList: 9/23/2005
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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