DermNet NZ

Facts about the skin from DermNet New Zealand Trust. Topic index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Calcipotriol is a vitamin-D derivative, about 1% as powerful as the natural hormone calcitriol (also known as 1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol).

Known as calcipotriene (Dovonex®) in the United States, calcipotriol is available as an ointment, cream and scalp solution at a concentration of 50µg/g. In New Zealand, it is called Daivonex®, and, from 1 July 2016, only the ointment is marketed. Calcipotriol is not available in tablet or injection form.

Uses for calcipotriol

Calcipotriol is a prescription medication used mainly for psoriasis. It is moderately or very effective for about 80% of patients. This means the patches become less scaly and thick, but red patches often persist despite continued treatment.

It should be applied to the affected patches of psoriasis twice daily and can be used safely long term. The ointment is used on trunk and limbs. The cream is more often used in the body folds or on face and ears. The scalp solution is used in hairy areas.

Psoriasis pre-calcipotriol Psoriasis post-calcipotriol
Plaques of severe psoriasis before and after six weeks use of calcipotriol ointment

Calcipotriol is sometimes also helpful in the following skin conditions:

Side effects of topical calcipotriol

Topical calcipotriol is usually well tolerated. Side effects are more common with ointment than cream (but the ointment is more effective on plaque psoriasis).

Keep calcipotriol away from your dog: it is very poisonous and may be fatal if eaten by a dog.

Combined treatment

Calcipotriol is often used with other treatments for psoriasis with good effect. These include:

Related information

On DermNet NZ:

Other websites:

Author: Amanda Oakley MBChB FRACP DipHealInf
Department of Dermatology, Waikato Hospital.


The New Zealand approved datasheet is the official source of information for this prescription medicine, including approved uses and risk information. Check the New Zealand datasheet on the Medsafe website.

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If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.