Dovonex Side Effects

Generic Name: calcipotriene topical

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of calcipotriene topical. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Dovonex.

Not all side effects for Dovonex may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to calcipotriene topical: topical cream, topical foam, topical ointment, topical solution

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by calcipotriene topical (the active ingredient contained in Dovonex). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking calcipotriene topical:

More common
  • Skin redness, swelling, or itching
  • skin rash
  • worsening of psoriasis

Some of the side effects that can occur with calcipotriene topical may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common
  • Burning, dryness, irritation, peeling, or redness of the skin
Less common
  • Pain at the application site
Less common or rare
  • Darker color in the treated areas of the skin
  • pus in the hair follicles

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to calcipotriene topical: topical cream, topical foam, topical ointment, topical solution


Very common (10% or more): Cream: Skin irritation (up to 15%); Ointment: Burning, itching, skin irritation (up to 15%); Solution: Transient burning, stinging, tingling (about 23%), rash (about 11%)
Common (1% to 10%): Cream: Rash, pruritus, dermatitis, worsening of psoriasis (up to 10%); Ointment: Erythema, dry skin, peeling, rash, dermatitis, worsening of psoriasis including development of facial/scalp psoriasis (up to 10%); Solution: Dry skin, irritation, worsening of psoriasis (up to 5%)
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Ointment: Skin atrophy, hyperpigmentation, folliculitis (less than 1%)
Rare (less than 0.1%): Facial dermatitis or eczema, allergic contact dermatitis
Frequency not reported: Calcipotriene phototoxicity

Clinical trials have shown a higher incidence of severe skin-related adverse reactions in patients older than 65 years of age.

Facial dermatitis or eczema has rarely been reported, occasionally in patients without facial psoriasis.


Hypercalcemia was reversible upon drug discontinuation.

Symptomatic hypercalcemia has been reported in a few individuals, particularly those with extensive, unstable disease using more than 100 grams of ointment per week. One patient with symptomatic hypercalcemia had moderate renal impairment. This patient used 200 grams of ointment over the course of a week. At least two patients have experienced hypercalcemia while using less than 100 grams per week. A lower dose of 10 grams per week was tried in one of these patients, however hypercalcemia returned.

There have been several studies of the effect of calcipotriene on serum calcium and urinary calcium. One study observed 34 patients with psoriasis treated with 8.2 to 95.4 grams per week. No difference in calcium or bone metabolism was noted when compared to patients treated with placebo. Another study where 12 of 24 patients received 30 grams per day for 14 days reported no significant alterations in blood or urine calcium concentrations. However, in a higher dose study, 10 patients treated with 100 grams calcipotriene per week experienced an increase in urinary calcium from 4.75 mmol/24 hours to 5.89 mmol/24 hours over four weeks of treatment.

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Ointment: Hypercalcemia (less than 1%)
Rare (less than 0.1%): Transient increases in serum calcium, symptomatic hypercalcemia


Common (1% to 10%): Foam: Application site pain (3%), application site erythema (2%)

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.