Vitamin D analogues have proven useful in treating mild to moderate psoriasis. A vitamin D analogue is an artificially made form of vitamin D3, but it is not the same as a vitamin D supplement. In Canada, there are two types of vitamin D analogue treatments available. One is calcipotriol which is available as a cream, an ointment, and a scalp solution. The other, a new combination product with calcipotriol and betamethasone diproprionate (a steroid medication), is available as an ointment.
These treatments work by slowing down the rate of skin growth and by reducing inflammation. The major side effect associated with vitamin D analogues is mild, temporary skin irritation in the area where the medication was applied. People using these medications should be aware that skin-applied vitamin D analogues have a chemically different form of the vitamin than an oral (by mouth) vitamin supplement does. Such supplements will not treat your psoriasis and can, in fact, be harmful if taken in large amounts. Keep in mind too that vitamin D has an effect on growing bones, so extra caution is needed when these treatments are used by children. For children under two years of age, a safe maximum dosage has not yet been determined.
To reach their greatest effect, vitamin D analogues must be applied regularly as prescribed by your doctor. Most people using calcipotriol will notice improvement within two weeks, but best results usually take up to six to eight weeks. People using the combination product containing calcipotriol and betamethasone usually see improvement within one week, with best results within four weeks. Since the best results may take some time, stick with your dosing routine and give the medication a chance to work!
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