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Calcinosis Cutis Medication

  • Author: Julia R Nunley, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
Updated: Feb 08, 2016

Medication Summary

Medical therapy generally has limited benefit. The following medications may be tried.



Class Summary

Inorganic salts can bind phosphate in the GI tract and prevent absorption.

Aluminum hydroxide (ALternaGEL, Alu-Cap, Amphojel, Dialume)


Aluminum hydroxide is an effective phosphate binder; it is not considered first-line therapy because of its potential for toxicity.

Magnesium oxide (Maox, Mag-ox)


Magnesium oxide treats magnesium deficiencies or magnesium depletion due to malnutrition, restricted diet, alcoholism, or magnesium-depleting drugs.



Class Summary

These agents are used to inhibit bone turnover to lower serum calcium and phosphate levels. These agents also can absorb hydroxyapatite crystal and inhibit growth.

Etidronate disodium (Didronel)


Etidronate disodium reduces bone formation and does not alter renal tubular reabsorption of calcium. It does not affect hypercalcemia in patients with hyperparathyroidism.


Calcium-Channel Blockers

Class Summary

Antagonism of calcium-sodium pump may diminish the intracellular calcium concentration, decreasing crystal formation.

Diltiazem hydrochloride (Cardizem)


Diltiazem hydrochloride is used for the management of angina, supraventricular tachycardia, and hypertension. During depolarization, it inhibits calcium ions from entering slow channels and voltage-sensitive areas of vascular smooth muscle and myocardium.



Class Summary

These agents lower PTH levels by increasing sensitivity of calcium-sensing receptor on chief cell of parathyroid gland to extracellular calcium. Serum calcium also decreases.

Cinacalcet (Sensipar)


Cinacalcet directly lowers parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels by increasing the sensitivity of the calcium-sensing receptor on the chief cell of the parathyroid gland to extracellular calcium. This also results in concomitant serum calcium decrease.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Julia R Nunley, MD Professor, Program Director, Dermatology Residency, Department of Dermatology, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center

Julia R Nunley, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, American Society of Nephrology, International Society of Nephrology, Medical Dermatology Society, Medical Society of Virginia, National Kidney Foundation, Phi Beta Kappa, Women's Dermatologic Society

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: American Board of Dermatology<br/>Co-Editor for the text Dermatological Manifestations of Kidney Disease .

Specialty Editor Board

Richard P Vinson, MD Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Mountain View Dermatology, PA

Richard P Vinson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Texas Medical Association, Association of Military Dermatologists, Texas Dermatological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Rosalie Elenitsas, MD Herman Beerman Professor of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Director, Penn Cutaneous Pathology Services, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Health System

Rosalie Elenitsas, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, American Society of Dermatopathology, Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Received royalty from Lippincott Williams Wilkins for textbook editor.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

James W Patterson, MD Professor of Pathology and Dermatology, Director of Dermatopathology, University of Virginia Medical Center

James W Patterson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, American Society of Dermatopathology, Royal Society of Medicine, Society for Investigative Dermatology, United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Lydia M E Jones, MD Staff Physician, Department of Dermatology, Virginia Commonwealth University

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Calcinosis cutis appearing as an indurated and nodular subcutaneous plaque in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus.
Ulceration of a lesion of calcinosis cutis in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus.
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