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Tacalcitol for psoriasis


Apply tacalcitol once each day, preferably at bedtime.

Do not use more than the recommended amount each day.

Remember to wash your hands well after using it. This will help prevent accidentally getting it on other areas of your skin, which could cause irritation.

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About tacalcitol

Type of medicine

A topical vitamin D analogue

Used for

Plaque psoriasis in adults and in children aged over 12 years

Also called


Available as

Ointment and lotion

Tacalcitol is used to treat plaque psoriasis - this is the most common type of psoriasis. It is a condition where red scaly patches develop on your skin, called plaques. The most common areas affected are over your elbows and knees, the scalp and the lower part of your back. The patches may vary in size from time to time and can be itchy. Treatment for psoriasis aims to clear the plaques as much as possible.

Psoriasis is caused by cells in the outer layer of your skin multiplying faster than normal. This causes the older and dead skin cells to build up on the surface of your skin, causing the red scaly patches. Tacalcitol works by slowing this overproduction of skin cells which eases the inflamed, scaly areas. It is similar to vitamin D, which is a vitamin essential for healthy skin.

Before using tacalcitol

To make sure that this is the right treatment for you, before you start using tacalcitol it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breastfeeding.

  • If you have been told you have a form of psoriasis known as erythrodermic or pustular psoriasis. This is because more severe forms of psoriasis like these should only be treated with close supervision of a skin specialist doctor.

  • If you have been told you have high calcium levels in your blood, or if your body has problems processing calcium.

  • If you are taking any other medicines or using any other skin preparations. This includes any medicines which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.

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How to use tacalcitol

  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about applying tacalcitol and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from using it.

  • Apply a thin layer of ointment or lotion once each day. It is recommended that you apply it in the evening before you go to bed. If you are using the ointment on your scalp, it can be shampooed out the next morning. If you are using the lotion on your scalp, apply a few drops close to the affected area and rub it in gently.

  • You should not use more than 10 g of tacalcitol ointment per day or more than 10 ml of the lotion a day. This is because tacalcitol is absorbed through your skin and can cause problems if more than these amounts are used. If you are using both ointment and lotion, the maximum amount of each is less than these amounts. If this applies to you, your doctor will give you instructions for the maximum amount of each to use.

  • Wash your hands well afterwards. This will help prevent tacalcitol getting on to any areas of your skin which are unaffected by psoriasis.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.

  • If you are also using a moisturiser for your skin, use this first and then wait until it has soaked into your skin before you apply tacalcitol.

  • If you have been advised to use tacalcitol on your face, apply it carefully so that you do not get any into your eyes. Also, remember to apply a thin layer only, as there is a greater chance it could cause irritation on your face.

  • You should start to see an improvement in your skin within a few weeks. This improvement will continue for a further few weeks until you feel the full benefit. Continue to apply tacalcitol regularly for as long as you have been recommended so that you get the full benefit.

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Can tacalcitol cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the ones associated with tacalcitol, although these occur rarely. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with the medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Tacalcitol side-effects

What can I do if I experience this?

Skin redness, itching, irritation, and tingling

This is usually mild, but if it continues or becomes severe, speak with your doctor

Important: there is a risk of fire when creams and ointments are absorbed by fabrics (such as clothing or bedsheets), making them flammable. A spark or flame can easily ignite the fabric. The risk is highest when large amounts of paraffin-based products are applied and absorb into fabrics. However there is also a risk when non-paraffin products are used. Be aware of this fire hazard when repeatedly using large amounts of any skin product. Do not smoke or go near naked flames.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this preparation, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

How to store tacalcitol

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Important information about all medicines

Important information about all medicines

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, please tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking or using.

This preparation is for use on the skin only. If someone swallows some of it by accident, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine, ask your pharmacist.

Report side effects to a medicine or vaccine

If you experience side effects, you can report them online through the Yellow Card website.

Further reading and references

Article history

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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