Calcipotriene ointment 0.005% for psoriasis: A safety and efficacy study

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      Background: Plaque psoriasis of mild to moderate severity is routinely treated with topical steroids and coal tar along with emollients. A safe and convenient new treatment modality would be of value to most patients with psoriasis.
      Objective: Our purpose was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a new vitamin D3 analogue, calcipotriene, for the treatment of plaque psoriasis.
      Methods: Twice-daily dosing of calcipotriene was compared with its vehicle, for up to 8 weeks, in a double-blind study of 277 patients at 10 study centers in the United States. Two hundred forty-seven patients completed the trial. The clinical characteristics of plaque elevation, erythema, scaling, and overall disease severity were evaluated at baseline and after 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of treatment. A Physician's Global Assessment of improvement or worsening of the disease was performed after 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of treatment. Blood and urine samples, for routine clinical laboratory tests, were collected at baseline and after 1, 2, 4, and 8 weeks of treatment.
      Results: As early as the week 1 evaluation, patients treated with calcipotriene ointment 0.005% had significantly lower mean scores (p = 0.043) than the vehicle-treated patients for the disease characteristics of plaque elevation, erythema, and scaling. This trend continued through week 8 of treatment when 70% of the calcipotriene-treated patients showed 75% or more improvement compared with only 19% of vehicle-treated patients. Only minor treatment-related adverse events were observed. There were no abnormal laboratory results judged related to treatment and the rare instances of elevated serum calcium values were equally distributed between active and vehicle treatments.
      Conclusion: This study provides evidence that calcipotriene is a safe, effective, and promising new agent for the treatment of moderately severe plaque psoriasis.
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