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What Is Calcipotriene Ointment?

Calcipotriene ointment is used to treat symptoms of plaque psoriasis.
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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Calcipotriene ointment is a medication that is used primarily for the treatment of plaque psoriasis. Psoriasis is an chronic skin condition in which the skin cells that normally dry out and flake off instead continue to accumulate, resulting in hard, itchy patches. It is thought to be caused by abnormalities in the body’s immune system. Plaque psoriasis is a specific form of the disease that can occur anywhere on the body and cause itchy red patches with dry gray scales. Although plaque psoriasis is a chronic condition that cannot be permanently cured, its symptoms can be temporarily treated.

The symptoms of plaque psoriasis may not always be present but may flare up or disappear periodically throughout a person’s life. When symptoms do occur, calcipotriene ointment may be effective at treating the symptoms or at least reducing the discomfort of the hard or itchy skin patches. The medication is thought to work at treating symptoms by altering the production of the skin cells in the affected areas in order to reduce the speed they reproduce, making them less likely to accumulate into thick patches.

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Calcipotriene ointment is a topical medication that is usually recommended to be applied to only the areas of the skin that are currently experiencing a psoriasis flare-up. The ointment is generally prescribed to be used twice per day by rubbing it in a thin, even layer over the affected areas of the skin. It is typically not recommended to use the ointment on the face due to the risk of it irritating the eyes, nose, or mouth, and it is also not advised to apply the ointment on skin near the genitals.

Side effects, ranging from mild to potentially life-threatening, may occur with the use of calcipotriene ointment. When a person with plaque psoriasis first begins using the ointment, he or she may experience worsening of psoriasis symptoms, including itching, redness, burning, and dryness of the skin. With continued usage, these symptoms will typically subside as the body becomes used to the medication. Some patients may experience an allergic reaction to the medication that may result in a rash or swelling on other areas of the skin in which the medication was not applied, as well as difficulty breathing or loss of consciousness. If an allergic reaction is suspected, immediate medical attention is recommended.

Calcipotriene ointment may not be considered safe for patients with other underlying health conditions. People with hypercalcemina, a condition in which there are abnormally high amounts of calcium in the blood, are generally not recommended to use the medication because it may worsen the condition and potentially lead to kidney function impairments. It has not been proven if the medication is dangerous for fetuses or infants, so it is often not advised for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to use it.

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