What Are Taclonex & Enstilar?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: June 2022. | Last updated: July 2022

Taclonex and Enstilar are brand names for a topical treatment that can be used to treat the symptoms of plaque psoriasis on the skin and the scalp. The medicines are only available with a prescription from your healthcare provider.

Taclonex and Enstilar are combination treatments that contain the same two active ingredients:

  • calcipotriene
  • betamethasone dipropionate

Calcipotriene is a type of medicine called a vitamin D analog, which contains a synthetic version of vitamin D3 that is made in a laboratory. Betamethasone dipropionate is a corticosteroid medicine1.

Taclonex delivers the medicines in the form of an ointment. It is usually applied once per day for 4 weeks, after which point your healthcare provider will advise you if you can continue to use it. It also comes as a suspension that is often used on the scalp. It is applied once daily for up to 8 weeks. Taclonex can only be applied to 30% of less of your skin at one time2.

Enstilar delivers the medicines as a foam, which is also applied once a day for up to four weeks. Enstilar can be used on larger areas of skin than Taclonex can.

How do Taclonex and Enstilar work to treat plaque psoriasis symptoms?

Taclonex and Enstilar offer the benefits of two different types of medicines for psoriasis in a single treatment. Another topical medicine called Dovonex, which is also used for treating psoriasis, contains only calcipotriene1.

The symptoms of plaque psoriasis are caused by an autoimmune condition that causes chronic, unnecessary inflammation. This inflammation triggers the production of new skin cells at a faster rate than the skin can naturally shed the old skin cells. As new skin cells are produced, the old skin cells build up on the surface of the skin, causing plaques to form3.

Calcipotriene works by reducing the number of new skin cells that are produced, and making the new cells mature more quickly. The medicine also reduces the inflammation that causes the cells to be produced4.

Betamethasone dipropionate, a corticosteroid, works by reducing inflammation and helping to relieve skin symptoms such as4:

  • reddening
  • pain
  • itching
  • burning
  • swelling

Many people with psoriasis find that the combination of the two medicines in Taclonex/Enstilar has the effects of5:

  • flattening plaques
  • removing scale from the surface of plaque
  • reducing skin discomfort

Studies have shown that combined treatment with the two medicines can be more effective for psoriasis symptoms than treatment with either medicine on its own. For example, one year-long study found that treatment with calcipotriene and betamethasone cleared or almost cleared symptoms in between 69%-74% of psoriasis patients6.

What kinds of side effects can Taclonex and Enstilar cause?

The most common side effects that Taclonex can cause are itching, skin rash, skin thinning, and a burning sensation. Other side effects that are less common include skin redness and/or irritation, changes in skin color, inflammation of the hair follicles, and swollen blood vessels where the medicine is applied. The most common side effects of treatment with Enstilar are skin irritation, itching, and inflammation of the hair follicles1.

This is not an exhaustive list of all side effects.

During the time you are treated with Taclonex or Enstilar, your healthcare provider will monitor the level of calcium in your bloodstream. Calcipotriene can sometimes have the effect of making the calcium level too high, but levels generally return to normal after treatment is stopped3.

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