Generic Name: aminolevulinic acid (Topical route)
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Levulan Kerastick
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Photosensitizing Agent
Uses For Levulan Kerastick
Aminolevulinic acid application followed by exposure to a certain type of light (blue light using the BLU–U Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy Illuminator) treats the skin condition called actinic keratoses.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before Using Levulan Kerastick
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of aminolevulinic acid in children with use in other age groups.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of aminolevulinic acid in the elderly with use in other age groups.
|All Trimesters||C||Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.|
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Skin sensitivity to light or
- Porphyria—May be worsened by aminolevulinic acid
Proper Use of Levulan Kerastick
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
Aminolevulinic acid is applied to your skin in your doctor's office. Blue light illumination treatment must be followed with BLU–U Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy Illuminator in your doctor's office 14 to 18 hours after the application . The blue light treatment lasts approximately 17 minutes. Your doctor may want to re-treat you after 8 weeks if your skin condition did not completely resolve.
Call your doctor if you cannot return for the blue light illumination treatment after the aminolevulinic acid application. You should then protect the treated skin from sunlight and prolonged or intense light for at least 40 hours.
Precautions While Using Levulan Kerastick
After aminolevulinic acid application you should avoid exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light (e.g., from examination lamps, operating room lamps, tanning beds, or being close to lights) up until the time of the blue light treatment.Wide-brimmed hats or similar head covering can help protect you from sunlight or sources of light.
Sunscreens will not protect you from sunlight or sources of light.
Reduce your exposure to light if you experience stinging or burning on the treated areas before blue light treatment.
Do not wash the treated areas before the blue light treatment.
You and the doctor will wear eye protection during the blue light treatment.
During the blue light treatment you will experience sensations of tingling, stinging, prickling or burning of the treated skin. These feelings of discomfort should improve at the end of the light treatment.
Following treatment, the actinic keratoses and possibly the surrounding skin will redden and swelling and scaling may also occur. These changes are temporary and should completely resolve by 4 weeks after treatment.
Levulan Kerastick Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:Less common
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:More common
- Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, “pins and needles,” stinging, or tingling feelings
- darkening of treated skin
- lightening of treated skin
- scaling or crusting
- skin sore
- small red raised itchy bumps
- swelling of skin
- open sore on skin
- pus filled blister or pimple
- raw skin
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
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