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October 1994

Oral Calcitriol as a New Therapeutic Modality for Generalized Morphea

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology (Drs Hulshof, Pavel, and Vermeer) and Rheumatology (Drs Breedveld and Dijkmans), University Hospital Leiden, the Netherlands.

Arch Dermatol. 1994;130(10):1290-1293. doi:10.1001/archderm.1994.01690100074012

Background:  None of the commonly used drugs for the treatment of scleroderma appears to significantly influence the fibrotic stage of this disorder. Recently, a beneficial effect of the treatment with oral calcitriol (1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3) in 10 patients with systemic sclerosis and four patients with morphea was described. This fact could be ascribed to the immunoregulatory effects of calcitriol observed in vitro and to inhibition of fibroblast growth. We treated three patients with extensive morphea with remarkable results.

Observation:  Three patients with generalized morphea were treated with calcitriol in an oral daily dose of 0.50 to 0.75 μg. After 3 to 7 months of treatment, the mobility of the joints improved and the skin extensibility increased. No adverse effects were observed. The improvement persisted after discontinuation of therapy during a follow-up period of 1 to 2 years.

Conclusion:  Calcitriol showed a beneficial effect in generalized morphea during an open study. Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials are needed to assess its therapeutic value.(Arch Dermatol. 1994;130:1290-1293)