• betamethasone;
  • calcipotriol;
  • combination;
  • once daily;
  • psoriasis vulgaris, randomized controlled trial

Summary Background Calcipotriol and betamethasone dipropionate are both widely used, effective treatments for psoriasis. Vitamin D analogues and topical corticosteroids have different mechanisms of action in the treatment of psoriasis. A new vehicle has been developed in order to contain both calcipotriol (50 µg g−1) and betamethasone dipropionate (0·5 mg g−1) in an ointment form. By using calcipotriol and a corticosteroid together, greater efficacy may be achieved than by using either compound alone.

Objectives The present study was conducted in order to compare the clinical efficacy and safety of the combined ointment formulation used once daily with the vehicle ointment used twice daily, calcipotriol ointment used twice daily and the combined formulation used twice daily in psoriasis vulgaris.

Methods This was an international, multicentre, prospective, randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled, parallel group, 4-week study in patients with psoriasis vulgaris amenable to topical treatment. Patients were randomized to one of four treatment groups: combined formulation once daily, combined formulation twice daily, calcipotriol twice daily or vehicle twice daily. Efficacy and safety were assessed.

Results There was no statistically significant difference in the mean percentage change in the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) from baseline to end of treatment between the two combined formulation groups, but the difference in PASI reduction was significantly higher in the combined formulation groups (68·6% once daily, 73·8% twice daily) than in both the twice daily calcipotriol group (58·8%) and the vehicle group (26·6%). Safety data showed the frequency of adverse events to be less in the combined formulation groups than in both the calcipotriol group and the vehicle group. The proportion of patients with lesional/perilesional adverse reactions was less in the combined formulation groups and vehicle group than in the calcipotriol group (9·9% combined formulation once daily, 10·6% combined formulation twice daily, 19·8% calcipotriol, 12·5% vehicle).

Conclusions No statistically significant nor clinically relevant difference in efficacy was seen between the combined formulation used once daily and twice daily. When compared to vehicle ointment or calcipotriol ointment alone, the combined formulation was shown to be clearly more efficacious.