• Dovonex

Dovonex Ointment



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What is Dovonex?

Dovonex belongs to a group of medicines called antipsoriatics. It is an ointment that contains the active ingredient calcipotriol. You put it on your skin daily to treat psoriasis.

How does Dovonex Work?

Dovonex is prescribed to treat psoriasis, which is a common skin condition caused by an increase in the production of skin cells. Psoriasis can come up as red, flaky patches on the skin. Dovonex contains the active ingredient calcipotriol, a form of Vitamin D, and works locally by slowing the production of skin cells and reducing inflammation. Vitamin D analogues such as Dovonex can be used instead of, or in combination with, corticosteroids in the treatment of psoriasis.

How long does Dovonex take to work?

If Dovonex is applied daily, you should start to see an improvement in your psoriasis symptoms after 2 weeks.

How effective is Dovonex?

Dovonex ointment is a safe and effective treatment for the long-term treatment of psoriasis. It can take a few weeks to work, but overall you will experience fewer psoriasis breakouts if you use Dovonex regularly.

Dovonex Cream Summary

DoseGenerous dose applied to the skin twice a day
Type of MedicineTopical synthetic vitamin D derivative
Available Size30g tube
Available Strengths50mg/g
Active IngredientCalcipotriol
PriceFrom £15.53 per tube
Side EffectsCan include skin irritation, flaking of the skin, worsening of psoriasis symptoms, itching, redness, folliculitis, changes in skin colour at the application site

Estriol Cream Ingredients

Active Ingredients

The active ingredient in Dovonex is calcipotriol. Each gram of Dovonex contains 50 micrograms of calcipotriol.

Inactive Ingredients

The inactive ingredients in Dovonex ointment are disodium edetate, disodium phosphate dihydrate, DL-a tocopherol, liquid paraffin, macrogol (2) stearyl ether, propylene glycol, purified water and white soft paraffin. 

How to use Dovonex

Always use Dovonex as prescribed by a doctor or pharmacist. Dovonex ointment is for use on your skin and should not be swallowed or applied to your face. To use Dovonex, wash your hands thoroughly, remove the cap from the tube and use the point on the back of the cap to pierce the seal of the tube. Apply a generous layer of ointment to the affected area and rub it into the skin gently. Unless you are applying Dovonex to the skin of your hands, you should wash your hands thoroughly after use to prevent spread to other parts of the body. When using a moisturiser, you should wait until it has been completely absorbed before applying Dovonex.

If you use too much Dovonex, tell your doctor straight away. Using too much Dovonex can increase the level of calcium in your blood. If you forget to use Dovonex, use it as soon as you remember and apply your next dose at the usual time.

Dovonex Dosage

Your doctor will recommend a Dovonex dose, depending on your age and the severity of your psoriasis symptoms. For adults, Dovonex is usually applied twice a day without using more than 100 grams per week. 

Children over the age of 12 years old should not use more than 75 grams per week, and children between the ages of 6 and 12 years old should not use more than 50 grams of Dovonex per week.

Dovonex Side Effects

Dovonex can cause side effects in some patients. 

The following common side effects of Dovonex may affect up to 1 in 10 people:

  • Skin irritation
  • Worsening of psoriasis symptoms
  • Dermatitis
  • Redness
  • Flaking of the skin
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Itchy rash and skin inflammation at the site of application
  • Itching of the skin
  • Pain at the site of application

Up to 1 in 100 people may experience the following uncommon side effects with Dovonex:

  • Folliculitis
  • Rash
  • Red, itcy, scaly rash
  • Formation of blisters which may weep or become crusty
  • Dry skin
  • Changes in skin colour at the site of application

Rarely (up to 1 in 1000 cases), the following side effects may be experienced after using Dovonex:

  • Hypersensitivity (allergic reaction)
  • Hypercalcaemia (extra calcium in the blood)
  • Temporary increased sensitivity to sunlight
  • Skin swelling or puffiness (oedema)
  • Itchy raised rash (hives)
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis, such as dandruff or cradle cap
  • Hypercalciuria (excess calcium in the urine)

If any of the side effects listed above are troubling you, speak to your doctor for advice. They may choose to prescribe an alternative treatment for your psoriasis. 

If you experience any of the following rare but serious side effects, stop using Dovonex and seek immediate medical attention:

  • Signs of a severe allergic reaction, including difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or skin around the eyes, and a severe rash which may include blistering or bleeding of the skin
  • Signs of an increase of calcium in the blood or urine, including an increased need to pass urine, feeling of thirst or loss of appetite, dry mouth or metallic taste, a feeling of weakness or pain in your muscles or bones, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, and constipation

For more information on potential side effects, please read the Patient Information Leaflet.


Do not use Dovonex if:

  • You are allergic to calcipotriol or any of the other ingredients in this medicine
  • You have been told by a doctor that you have high or low levels of calcium in your body
  • You have severe liver problems
  • You have severe kidney problems

Dovonex should not be applied to the face, or used to treat psoriasis in children under the age of 6 years old.

Before using Dovonex, inform your doctor and take particular care if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are having ultraviolet (UV) light treatment
  • You have guttate, erythrodermic, exfoliative or pustular psoriasis (your doctor will be able to clarify this if you are unsure)
  • You are experiencing signs of excess calcium in the blood or urine. Signs include an increased need to pass urine, increased thirst, dry or metallic taste in the mouth, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or constipation, weakness, muscle or bone pain, tiredness, fatigue or confusion.

Drug Interactions

Before using Dovonex, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines. This includes herbal supplements, and medicines purchased over the counter without a prescription.

Dovonex and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, think you might be pregnant or are planning a pregnancy, speak to your doctor for advice before using Dovonex. If your doctor agrees that you can breastfeed while using Dovonex, do not apply it to the breast area.

Can I drink alcohol while using Dovonex?

You can drink alcohol while using Dovonex. However, you should be aware that drinking a lot of alcohol can cause psoriasis to get worse, as alcohol dehydrates the skin.

Treatment Options

Dovonex vs. Calcipotriol

Dovonex is a brand name of the generic medicine calcipotriol. Both contain the active ingredient calcipotriol and work in the same way.

Dovonex Cream vs. Ointment

Dovonex comes as an ointment or a cream, and both are produced by the same medicines manufacturer. They are used to treat psoriasis, but only the ointment is available in the UK because Dovonex cream has been discontinued.

Dovonex vs other psoriasis treatments

While psoriasis cannot be cured, there is a range of treatments available which can help reduce symptoms and outbreaks. These include creams, ointments, gels, tablets, injections and phototherapy. The best treatment for you depends on your age, medical history and the severity of your psoriasis. 

For mild cases of psoriasis, over the counter moisturisers may be enough to reduce inflammation and scabbing. If your psoriasis requires prescription treatment, your doctor will prescribe from a choice of vitamin D analogues, such as Dovonex, and corticosteroids, which can be used separately or in combination. Corticosteroid creams and ointments vary in strength, but in general, should be used sparingly to prevent skin thinning.

Should the above treatments not work, a doctor may choose to prescribe a calcineurin inhibitor such as tacrolimus or ciclosporin, which works by reducing the activity of the immune system to relieve inflammation. If your skin does not tolerate these, a doctor may prescribe Dithranol, which works by suppressing the production of skin cells.

Coal tar is also available and is effective at reducing scaliness, inflammation and itching. But it does have a strong smell and can be unpleasant to use. 

Systemic treatments are used in more severe cases of psoriasis, or where topical treatments have failed to have an affect. These are tablets, capsules and injections which, while generally very effective, can have potentially serious side effects. These include methotrexate and acitretin, which both work by slowing the production of skin cells.

Other systemic treatments include anti-TNF medicines, such as etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab and ustekinumab. These treatments need to be injected, and you should speak to your doctor about potential risks and benefits before use.

Phototherapy can slow down the excessive production of skin cells in psoriasis. There are 3 different types of phototherapy: ultraviolet (UVB) therapy, psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA), and combination light therapy. Treatment takes place over a series of regular sessions in a hospital or dermatological clinic.

Dietary and Lifestyle Changes to Help with Psoriasis

The direct cause of psoriasis is unknown, but there are some changes you can make to your lifestyle to help reduce its impact on your daily life. 

First of all, try to work out what your triggers are. Outbreaks of psoriasis can be triggered by a number of factors including:

  • stress
  • smoking
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • minor injuries
  • streptococcal infection
  • certain medicines
  • disorders of the immune system

Identifying your triggers can help you avoid outbreaks. 

Taking care of yourself mentally and physically can reduce the severity of psoriasis. Try to maintain a healthy balanced diet, and exercise regularly. Being obese increases your chances of having psoriasis, so it is well worth making an effort to lose weight healthily and safely if necessary.

To improve the long-term health of your skin, you may wish to make some changes to your diet. Have more vitamin D in your diet by eating more oily fish, mushrooms, milk, yoghurt, cheese and eggs, or try taking daily vitamin D supplements.


Can I use Dovonex with other skin products?

Dovonex can be used with other skin products, but you should speak to a doctor if you are unsure about a particular product. 

If you are using any other medicines which are creams or ointments, including those purchased over the counter without a prescription, you should speak to your doctor before using Dovonex. 

It is a good idea to moisturise regularly if you suffer from psoriasis, especially after having a shower or bath. In this case, make sure any moisturiser you’ve applied has been completely absorbed before applying Dovonex.

Can I use Dovonex on my face?

Dovonex ointment should not be applied on your face. If you have psoriasis on your face, speak to your doctor about treatment options.

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