Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory cell-mediated disease affecting skin and joints, histologically characterized by epidermal hyperplasia and abnormal differentiation of keratinocytes. Plaque psoriasis, which is the most prevalent form of the disease, is clinically characterized by raised, inflamed, erythematous lesions covered by white silvery scales, located on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, forearms, hands and feet. Several drugs are available for the management of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, including topical and systemic treatments. Calcitriol (1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3) is the most biologically active form of vitamin D3 and it can be used topically as both a primary and adjunctive therapy for psoriasis. Based on evidence that calcitriol inhibits proliferation and induces differentiation of epidermal cells, this hormone has been used successfully in the treatment of psoriasis. This article reviews the effectiveness and safety of calcitriol for the treatment of patients with psoriasis and recent findings related with the mechanism of action.
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