Calcipotriene ointment, a synthetic structural analogue of 1,25-dihidroxycholecalciferol, has recently been approved for the treatment of moderate plaque psoriasis by the Food and Drug Administration. Ten years ago, 1,25-dihidroxycholecalciferol was noted to inhibit the proliferation of psoriatic fibroblasts in culture.1 This finding, along with the fact that a patient being treated with 1α-hydroxyvitamin D3 for osteoporosis noted marked improvement in her psoriasis, stimulated investigators to assess the effect of a variety of analogues of vitamin D on psoriasis. Calcipotriene (calcipotriol) is recognized with equal affinity by the 1,25-dihidroxycholecalciferol receptor but has 100 times less effect on calcium metabolism than does vitamin D.2 The drug is believed to exert its therapeutic effect through inhibition of keratinocyte proliferation and increasing terminal differentiation of keratinocytes.
Placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind trials have demonstrated the effectiveness (80% of patients treated for 6 months demonstrate at least moderate improvement), rapid activity, and safety of
Dover JS, Arndt KA. Dermatology. JAMA. 1995;273(21):1668-1670. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520450038019