Combination of calcipotriene (Dovonex) ointment and tazarotene (Tazorac) gel versus clobetasol ointment in the treatment of plaque psoriasis: a pilot study

Paul H Bowman, Jack E Maloney, John Y M Koo
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2002, 46 (6): 907-13

BACKGROUND: Both calcipotriene and tazarotene have been shown to be effective in the treatment of psoriasis. No study has evaluated the effect of using both agents simultaneously.

OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of combination treatment of psoriasis with calcipotriene ointment and tazarotene gel by comparing them with clobetasol ointment, a class I topical corticosteroid. A secondary objective was to evaluate the clinical compatibility of applying both agents at the same time.

METHODS: This pilot study was a prospective, single-center, open-label, right/left comparison of 28 lesion pairs in 15 patients. It consisted of a 2-week treatment phase, followed by a 4-week post-treatment observation phase.

RESULTS: All 15 patients completed the treatment phase of the study. At the end of the active treatment phase (end of week 2), calcipotriene- and tazarotene-treated lesions showed nearly identical reductions in scaling (P =.93), plaque elevation (P =.76), and overall lesional severity scores (P =.29) compared with their matched clobetasol-treated counterparts. Erythema improved significantly more in clobetasol-treated lesions (P <.05) during the treatment period, but differences became statistically insignificant during the post-treatment period (;P =.20). No patients had significant irritation from the treatments. During the post-treatment phase (weeks 3-6), all lesions worsened; plaque elevation returned somewhat more rapidly in calcipotriene- and tazarotene-treated lesions (P <.01), whereas changes in scaling, erythema, and overall lesional severity were not significantly different between the two treatment groups (P >.05).

CONCLUSION: The nonsteroid combination of twice-daily calcipotriene ointment and once-daily tazarotene gel was not statistically different from twice-daily application of the class I corticosteroid clobetasol ointment in reducing psoriatic scaling, plaque elevation, and overall lesional severity over a 2-week period. There does not seem to be any chemical incompatibility between calcipotriene ointment and tazarotene gel that is clinically significant.

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