Why is this medication prescribed?
Calcipotriene is used to treat psoriasis (a skin disease in which red, scaly patches form due to increased production of skin cells on some areas of the body). Calcipotriene is in a class of medications called synthetic vitamin D3 derivatives. It works by slowing the excessive production of skin cells.
How should this medicine be used?
Calcipotriene comes as a cream to apply to the skin and as a solution (liquid) to apply to the scalp. The cream and solution are usually applied two times a day. Use calcipotriene at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use calcipotriene exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Calcipotriene controls psoriasis but does not cure it. You may see some improvement in your condition after 2 weeks, but it may take up to 8 weeks before you feel the full benefit of calcipotriene.
Do not apply calcipotriene cream to the face.
Calcipotriene solution may catch fire. Do not use this medication near heat or an open flame, such as a cigarette.
To use the cream, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands.
- Apply a thin layer of cream to the area to be treated. Be careful not to get the cream on your face, especially in or near your eyes.
- Rub the cream into the skin until it disappears.
- Wash your hands.
To use the solution, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands.
- Comb hair to remove any unattached psoriasis scales.
- Make a part in your hair near the affected areas.
- Apply a small amount of the solution to the lesions. Be careful not to get the solution on your forehead or other areas of your face, especially in or near your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Rub the solution into the lesion gently.
- Wash your hands.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using calcipotriene,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to calcipotriene, or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any medical conditions.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking calcipotriene, call your doctor.
- plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing (such as a hat), sunglasses, and sunscreen. Calcipotriene may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply extra cream or solution to make up for a missed dose.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Calcipotriene may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- worsening of psoriasis
- stinging or tingling of skin
- dry skin
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- irritation of the treated or nearby area of skin
Calcipotriene may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication or if your symptoms get worse.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not freeze calcipotriene cream or solution.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to calcipotriene.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Brand names of combination products
- Taclonex® (containing Betamethasone, Calcipotriene)