Calcipotriol (Dovonex ointment)

How does it work?

Dovonex ointment contains the active ingredient calcipotriol, which is a medicine that is a derivative of vitamin D. When applied to the skin it works by reducing the production of skin cells.

In psoriasis, the scaling and thickening of the skin and the appearance of raised plaques are the result of excessive skin cell production. Calcipotriol reduces the excessive skin cell production and promotes normal skin cell growth. This helps flatten and clear the psoriasis plaques.

Using this medicine will improve your skin gradually over time, with maximum improvement taking up to 12 weeks of treatment.

What is it used for?

  • Plaque psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris).


  • Do not apply this medicine to the face.
  • This medicine is for external use on the affected area(s) of skin only.
  • Wash your hands after applying this medicine, unless your hands are the area being treated.
  • The maximum recommended dose of this medicine varies according to age and is stated in the information leaflet supplied with the medicine. Do not exceed the dose recommended by your doctor. Excessive widespread use can lead to a rise in the calcium levels in the body.
  • It is recommended that you avoid or at least limit your exposure to sunlight and sunlamps while you are using this medicine, because it could make your skin more sensitive to UV light.

Use with caution in

  • Generalised pustular or erythrodermic exfoliative forms of psoriasis.

Not to be used in

  • Children under six years of age.
  • People with disorders of calcium metabolism in the body.
  • Severe liver disease.
  • Severe kidney disease.
  • Dovonex ointment must not be applied to the face.

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

  • The safety of this medicine for use during pregnancy has not been established. It is not recommended for use in pregnancy unless considered essential by your doctor. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
  • It is not known if this medicine passes into breast milk. It is not recommended for use during breastfeeding unless considered essential by your doctor. Seek medical advice from your doctor. If your doctor says you can use this medicine while breastfeeding you should not apply it to the breast area.

Side effects

Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

Very common (affect more than 1 in 10 people)

  • Skin irritation in area of use.

Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people)

  • Rash.
  • Burning or stinging sensation.
  • Itching.
  • Dry skin.
  • Reddening of skin.
  • Skin inflammation (contact dermatitis).

Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1000 people)

  • Aggravation of psoriasis.
  • Eczema.

Very rare (affect less than 1 in 10,000 people)

  • Allergic reactions.
  • Increased level of calcium in the blood or urine (especially if the recommended dose is exceeded).

Unknown frequency

  • Abnormal reaction of the skin to light, usually a rash (photosensitivity).
  • Temporary changes in skin pigmentation.
  • Hives.
  • Facial swelling.

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer. For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How can this medicine affect other medicines?

This medicine is not known to affect other medicines. However, as with all medicines, it is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already using, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any new medicines while using this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.

The manufacturer of this medicine has not studied its use with other medicines applied to the same area of skin at the same time. However, if you are using other medicines or moisturisers on the same area of skin, it is best to leave several minutes between applying each product to allow them time to be absorbed and avoid them mixing on the skin.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

Calcipotriol ointment and scalp solution are also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.