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Levulan Kerastick

Generic Name: aminolevulinic acid (a MEE no le vue lih nick)
Brand Name: Levulan Kerastick

What is Levulan Kerastick (aminolevulinic acid)?

Aminolevulinic acid causes skin cells to become much more sensitive to certain types of light. Skin cells treated with aminolevulinic acid and exposed to a special light die and then slough off.

Aminolevulinic acid is used to treat warty overgrowths of skin (actinic keratoses) on sun-exposed areas of the face and scalp. Treatment involves application of aminolevulinic acid, followed 14 to 18 hours later by exposure to a special blue light.

Aminolevulinic acid may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Levulan Kerastick (aminolevulinic acid)?

Only a qualified doctor or other healthcare professional should apply aminolevulinic acid. Aminolevulinic acid is not intended for application by the patient.

After aminolevulinic acid has been applied, wear sunlight-protective clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat or similar head covering. Sunscreens will not protect you. Avoid exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light (examination lamps, operating room lamps, tanning beds, or very close lights). If you experience stinging or burning of the treated skin, reduce your exposure to light. It has not been determined if perspiration can spread aminolevulinic acid outside the treatment site to the eyes or surrounding skin.

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Who should not use Levulan Kerastick (aminolevulinic acid)?

Before using aminolevulinic acid, tell your doctor if you have

  • porphyria, or

  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder.

You may not be able to use aminolevulinic acid, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during your treatment.

Aminolevulinic acid is the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether aminolevulinic acid will harm an unborn baby. Do not use aminolevulinic acid without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant.

It is unknown whether aminolevulinic acid passes into breast milk. Do not use aminolevulinic acid without first talking to your doctor if you are breast feeding a baby.

How should I use Levulan Kerastick (aminolevulinic acid)?

Only a qualified doctor or other healthcare professional should apply aminolevulinic acid. Aminolevulinic acid is not intended for application by the patient.

Your doctor or other health care professional will prepare the aminolevulinic acid solution in the applicator. Aminolevulinic acid solution application will be completed within 2 hours of preparation.

Application of aminolevulinic acid involves either scalp or face lesions, but not both at the same time. It will be applied directly to the individual areas and not to the surrounding skin.

After aminolevulinic acid has been applied, wear sunlight-protective clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat or similar head covering. Sunscreens will not protect you. Avoid exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light (examination lamps, operating room lamps, tanning beds, or very close lights). If you experience stinging or burning of the treated skin, reduce your exposure to light. It has not been determined if perspiration can spread aminolevulinic acid outside the treatment site to the eyes or surrounding skin.

Fourteen to eighteen hours after application of aminolevulinic acid, you must return to the doctor's office to receive a special blue light treatment. Prior to the blue light treatment, the lesions will be rinsed with water. You will be given special goggles to wear during the treatment which will last about 17 minutes. The blue light is of low intensity and will not heat the skin. However, you may experience tingling, stinging, prickling, or burning of the treated skin. These feelings of discomfort should improve at the end of the light treatment.

Following the treatment, you will experience some redness, swelling, and scaling of the lesions, and to some degree, the surrounding skin. These changes are temporary and should completely resolve by 4 weeks after treatment. If these side effects are excessive, talk to your doctor.

Aminolevulinic acid and light treatment is usually done once to each area with lesions. The procedure may be repeated after 8 weeks on lesions that have not completely resolved.

Store aminolevulinic acid at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If for any reason you cannot return for the blue light treatment during the prescribed period of time after application of the aminolevulinic acid solution, call your doctor. Also, continue to avoid exposure of the treated areas to sunlight or prolonged or intense light for at least 40 hours. If you experience stinging or burning of the treated area(s), reduce your exposure to light.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this medication is unlikely to occur. If you do suspect an overdose, or if aminolevulinic acid has been ingested, call an emergency room or poison control center near you. Avoid exposure to intense light sources for at least 40 hours.

What should I avoid while using Levulan Kerastick (aminolevulinic acid)?

After aminolevulinic acid has been applied, wear sunlight-protective clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat or similar head covering. Sunscreens will not protect you. Avoid exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light (examination lamps, operating room lamps, tanning beds, or very close lights). If you experience stinging or burning of the treated skin, reduce your exposure to light. It has not been determined if perspiration can spread aminolevulinic acid outside the treatment site to the eyes or surrounding skin.

Levulan Kerastick (aminolevulinic acid) side effects

Serious side effects are not likely to occur. Stop using aminolevulinic acid and seek emergency medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction (shortness of breath; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; or hives).

You may experience some tingling, stinging, prickling, or burning of the area treated with aminolevulinic acid during the special light treatment. These feelings of discomfort should improve at the end of the light treatment. Following treatment, you will experience some redness, swelling, and scaling of the lesions, and to some degree, the surrounding skin. These changes are temporary and should completely resolve by 4 weeks after treatment. If these side effects are excessive, talk to your doctor.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Levulan Kerastick (aminolevulinic acid)?

Before treatment with aminolevulinic acid, tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • griseofulvin (Fulvicin, Grifulvin, Grisactin, others);

  • an oral diabetes medicine such as glimepiride (Amaryl), glipizide (Glucotrol), glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase, Glynase, others), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others;

  • a phenothiazine including chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Prolixin), perphenazine (Trilafon), mesoridazine (Serentil), thioridazine (Mellaril), and others;

  • a sulfa drug (sulfonamide) such as sulfamethoxazole (Gantanol, others), sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim, Cotrim, Septra, Septra DS, others), sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin), and others;

  • a tetracycline antibiotic such as tetracycline (Sumycin, Achromycin), minocycline (Minocin), doxycycline (Monodox, Doryx, Vibramycin, Vibra-Tabs), and others; or

  • a diuretic (water pill) such as hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDiuril, Esidrix, Oretic, Microzide, others), chlorthalidone (Hygroton, Thalitone), chlorothiazide (Diuril), indapamide (Lozol), metolazone (Mykrox, Zaroxolyn), and others.

You may not be able to use aminolevulinic acid, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with aminolevulinic acid. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about aminolevulinic acid written for health professionals that you may read.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.05. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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