Skip to main content

Calcitriol (topical)

Generic name: calcitriol (topical) [ kal-SIT-ree-ol-TOP-ik-al ]
Brand name: Vectical
Dosage form: topical ointment (3 mcg/g)
Drug class: Topical antipsoriatics

Medically reviewed by on Nov 21, 2022. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is calcitriol topical?

Calcitriol is a form of vitamin D.

Calcitriol topical (for the skin) is used to treat plaque psoriasis (raised, silvery flaking of the skin) in adults and children at least 2 years old.

Calcitriol topical is not for use in treating severe forms of psoriasis (with pus, skin peeling, severe redness).

Calcitriol topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • low or high levels of calcium in your blood;

  • a calcium disorder or metabolic imbalance; or

  • if you are receiving UV light treatments (phototherapy) for your psoriasis.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Calcitriol topical should not be given to a child younger than 2 years old.

How should I use calcitriol topical?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Do not take by mouth. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin. Do not use calcitriol topical on your lips or face, or around your eyes.

Wash your hands before and after applying calcitriol, unless you are using it to treat psoriasis on your hands.

Apply a thin layer of the medication and rub it in completely.

Do not cover treated skin areas with bandaging or plastic.

Calcitriol topical is for use only on areas of psoriasis. Avoid getting it on healthy skin areas.

Calcitriol topical doses are based on age in children. Your child's dose needs will change once the child is 7 years old.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze or refrigerate.

Do not share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using calcitriol topical?

calcitriol could make your skin more sensitive to harmful effects of the sun. Avoid sunlight or tanning beds. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.

Avoid getting this medicine in your eyes or mouth, or in your vagina.

Calcitriol topical side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

This medicine may cause serious side effects. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • blistering, or severe redness, itching, or other irritation of treated areas; or

  • worsened symptoms or no improvement in psoriasis.

Using calcitriol topical can affect your body's ability to metabolize calcium. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of high levels of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), including:

  • nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation;

  • increased thirst or urination;

  • lack of energy, feeling tired;

  • muscle weakness;

  • confusion; or

  • bone pain.

Common side effects of calcitriol may include:

  • high levels of calcium in your blood or urine;

  • itching, skin irritation; or

  • abnormal lab tests.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Calcitriol dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Plaque Psoriasis:

Ointment: Apply to affected areas twice a day, morning and evening
Maximum weekly dose: 200 grams

Use: Treatment of mild to moderate plaque psoriasis

Usual Pediatric Dose for Plaque Psoriasis:

2 years and older: Apply to affected areas twice a day, morning and evening
2 to 6 years, maximum weekly dose: 100 grams
7 years and older, maximum weekly dose: 200 grams

Use: Treatment of mild to moderate plaque psoriasis

What other drugs will affect calcitriol topical?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect calcitriol topical, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.