The role of vitamin D in psoriasis: a review

Int J Dermatol. 2015 Apr;54(4):383-92. doi: 10.1111/ijd.12790. Epub 2015 Jan 20.


Background and objective: Psoriasis is a common, chronic autoimmune inflammatory skin disorder, which has potential systemic complications and is clinically defined by sharply demarcated, erythematous patches and plaques covered by a characteristic silvery white scale. Topical corticosteroids have widely been regarded as the mainstay first line of treatment. Recently, topical vitamin D analogs have been added to the first-line treatment repertoire as well, either as monotherapy or in combination with topical steroids due to synergistic, complementary effectiveness. In this paper, we review the role of vitamin D in the pathophysiology and treatment of psoriasis.

Methods: A comprehensive search of the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, and PUBMED databases were performed to identify relevant basic science and clinical trial literature investigating the role of vitamin D in psoriasis. Primary endpoints in clinical trials were largely based on clinical improvement as assessed by the psoriasis area severity index score or physician's global assessment.

Results and conclusion: The role of vitamin D in psoriasis is complex and extensive. Oral and topical vitamin D therapies provide comparable efficacies to corticosteroids when used as monotherapy and may be superior when used in combination with a potent topical steroid. Additionally topical vitamin D analogs demonstrate a favorable safety profile with "steroid-sparing" effects. Thus, topical vitamin D derivatives should be considered an indispensable component of the current physician's arsenal in the treatment of psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / etiology*
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*


  • Vitamin D