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Reviewing Calcipotriol, a.k.a. calcipotriene, a.k.a. Dovonex®
from Suzanne

Hello,  I have P, and was wondering if you ever came across or used the drug, Calcipotriol. It's a vitamin D3 derivative and some people seem to be getting positive results with it. Any news on this? Much appreciated.

Cheers,  -Suzanne


Ed’s Response:  Hi Suzanne.  Yes, I've used Calcipotriol in its formulation in the U.S. as Dovonex®.  I reported my short-lived trial and outcomes here:  Ed's Dovonex® Trial (April-May, 1998).

I don't hear too much about it anymore.  You pretty well summed up what I've heard — "some people seem to be getting positive results..."  I didn't when I tried it in 1998, but that's the story with virtually every P-remedy — they work for some people some of the time. 

Initially, enthusiasm for calcipotriene was high because it was considered a potent topical WITHOUT the side effects of corticosteroids. For those of us who were over-using the steroids, Dovonex was a welcomed possible alternative to moving into systemics (which, at the time, were pretty much limited to Methotrexate, Cyclosporine, Sulfasalazine and, for the venturous, Fumaric Acid Esters). 

I still recommend trying Dovonex to people who have worn out good results with topical steroids, aren't ready to try systemics, or are loathe to try dietary therapies.

And as a sort of postscript to all of the above:  Lately, with my widespread success with Humira (a biologic drug), I've been fussing over only one remaining lesion on my right calf. The steroid ointments stopped working for me long ago.  I found a nearly-new tube of Dovonex in my medicine cabinet and, just for fun, have been trying it for a few days. Low and behold, the lesion is improving. Go figure!

Let me know how it works for you.  -Ed


Dear Ed, Thanks for your email. I will be trying Dovonex, starting Sunday (24th Dec 2007) and will let you know of my progress.The distribution of my lesions are similar to (what used to be) yours in Figure 1 (in your article). The scalp area, sides of torso and lower back regions are the worst. I have never used any topical steroids on my body so hopefully I may get some improvement. I had mainly a scalp problem before but now it seems like it's everywhere! I'm going to the Caribbean for 3 weeks holiday (I'm originally from there but moved to the UK about 5 years ago, where P. began to get out of control — figured it may partly be the weather since my mom said that when we lived in Ireland (I lived there for 2 years when I was about  3 years old) my scalp was a mess and on returning to the Caribbean, it all cleared up! Don't think my mom or dad were aware that it may have been P.). Hopefully my 3-week holiday will help a bit. Only thing is that I had to get a whole swimsuit to avoid scaring off anyone with my queer-looking lesions!

I was wondering, are there any side-effects (short-term and long-term) with Humira? How do you find it? Sounds amazing. I've done a bit of reading and found out it's an injectable (yikes!). I don't think that Humira is approved as yet in the UK though.

Thanks again Ed. Have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Cheers, -Suzanne

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