Medication Quick Search
My Medicine List Your Hospital Pharmacist Medication Tips and Tools

Calcitriol Topical

(kal" si trye' ol)

Brand Name(s): Vectical®

WHY is this medicine prescribed?

Calcitriol topical is used to treat mild to moderate plaque psoriasis (a skin disease in which red, scaly patches form on some areas of the body) in adults and children 2 years of age and older. Calcitriol is in a class of medications called vitamin D analogs. It works by helping to stop the production of extra skin cells that may build up and form scales on the skin and by decreasing the activity of immune cells in the skin.

Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

HOW should this medicine be used?

Calcitriol comes as an ointment to apply to the skin. It is usually applied two times a day, in the morning and evening. Apply calcitriol ointment at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Apply calcitriol ointment exactly as directed. Do not apply more or less of it or apply it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor will tell you how much ointment to apply. In children 2 to 6 years of age, do not use more than one tube (100 gm) of calcitriol ointment per week. In adults and children 7 years of age and older, do not use more than two tubes (200 gm) of calcitriol ointment per week.

Apply calcitriol ointment to the areas of skin affected by plaque psoriasis. Do not apply calcitriol ointment to healthy skin or anywhere on your face, eyes, lips, or vagina. Do not swallow the medication.

Apply the ointment to the affected skin and gently rub the ointment into the skin until no medication is visible. Do not cover the skin where you applied calcitriol ointment with a bandage or dressing unless your doctor tells you that you should. Wash your hands well with soap and water after you apply calcitriol ointment.

What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

Before using calcitriol topical,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to calcitriol, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in calcitriol topical. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: calcium supplements; vitamin D supplements; or thiazide diuretics ('water pills') such as chlorothiazide (Diuril), hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide, Oretic, many combination products), indapamide, and metolazone (Zaroxolyn). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with calcitriol, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney stones or any condition that affects the level of calcium in your blood.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using calcitriol topcial, call your doctor. If you are breastfeeding while using calcitriol topical, do not apply it directly to the nipple and areola (the colored area around each nipple).

What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply extra ointment to make up for a missed dose.

What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

Calcitriol topical may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if either of these symptoms is severe or does not go away:

  • skin pain or discomfort
  • itching

Calcitriol topical may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are using this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from light, excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not freeze or refrigerate calcitriol ointment.

It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org

Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

If someone swallows calcitriol ointment or applies too much ointment, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911

What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to calcitriol topical.

Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.


This report on medications is for your information only, and is not considered individual patient advice. Because of the changing nature of drug information, please consult your physician or pharmacist about specific clinical use.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® represents that the information provided hereunder was formulated with a reasonable standard of care, and in conformity with professional standards in the field. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, any implied warranty of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to such information and specifically disclaims all such warranties. Users are advised that decisions regarding drug therapy are complex medical decisions requiring the independent, informed decision of an appropriate health care professional, and the information is provided for informational purposes only. The entire monograph for a drug should be reviewed for a thorough understanding of the drug's actions, uses and side effects. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® does not endorse or recommend the use of any drug. The information is not a substitute for medical care.

Pronunciation Guide for Drug Names is used with permission. © 2009. The United States Pharmacopeial Convention. All Rights Reserved.

AHFS® Patient Medication Information™. © Copyright, 2020. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists®, 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.

Selected Revisions: September 15, 2020.