Photofrin Side Effects
Generic Name: porfimer
Note: This document contains side effect information about porfimer. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Photofrin.
Some side effects of Photofrin may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.
For the Consumer
Applies to porfimer: intravenous powder for solution
Along with its needed effects, porfimer (the active ingredient contained in Photofrin) 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 or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking porfimer:More common
- Bladder pain
- bloody or cloudy urine
- blurred vision
- body aches or pain
- chest pain or discomfort
- coughing or spitting up blood
- difficult or troubled breathing
- difficult, burning, or painful urination
- difficulty with swallowing
- dilated neck veins
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- dryness or soreness of the throat
- extreme fatigue
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- fever or chills
- frequent urge to urinate
- increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight
- irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
- lower back or side pain
- pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
- pale skin
- pounding in the ears
- redness or other discoloration of the skin
- runny nose
- severe pain in the chest
- severe sunburn
- shortness of breath
- skin rash
- slow or fast heartbeat
- sore throat
- sudden onset of severe breathing difficulty
- swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
- tender, swollen glands in the neck
- tightness in the chest
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- voice changes
- vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
- weight gain
- white patches in the mouth or throat or on the tongue
- white patches with diaper rash
- Bloody, black, or tarry stools
- decrease in the amount of urine
- decreased urination
- dry mouth
- increase in heart rate
- noisy, rattling breathing
- pain or burning in the throat
- rapid breathing
- shortness of breath
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or tongue or inside the mouth
- sunken eyes
- troubled breathing at rest
- wrinkled skin
Some side effects of porfimer 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
- Acid or sour stomach
- back pain
- fear or nervousness
- lack or loss of strength
- loss of appetite
- stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
- trouble sleeping
- unable to sleep
- weight loss
- Bloated or full feeling
- change in the color of treated skin
- excess air or gas in the stomach
- increased hair growth
- small lumps under the skin
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to porfimer: intravenous powder for injection
General side effects have included fever (31%), pain (up to 22%), chest pain (up to 22%), back pain (up to 11%), weight decrease (9%), peripheral edema (up to 7%), dehydration (7%), asthenia (6%), generalized edema (5%), and surgical complication (5%). Patients with at least one adverse event have been as high as 95%.
Respiratory side effects including pleural effusion (32%), dyspnea (up to 30%), pneumonia (up to 18%), hemoptysis (16%), coughing (up to 15%), pharyngitis (11%), bronchitis (10%), respiratory insufficiency (up to 10%), increased sputum (8%), and tracheoesophageal fistula (6%) have been reported.
Cardiovascular side effects have included edema (18%), atrial fibrillation (10%), cardiac failure (7%), hypotension (7%), tachycardia (6%), and hypertension (6%).
Nervous system side effects have included dysphonia (5%).
Gastrointestinal side effects have included constipation (up to 24%), nausea (24%), abdominal pain (20%), vomiting (17%), dysphagia (10%), esophageal edema (8%), esophageal tumor bleeding (8%), hematemesis (8%), dyspepsia (6%), esophageal stricture (6%), diarrhea (5%), eructation (5%), esophagitis (5%), and melena (5%).
Psychiatric side effects have included insomnia (up to 14%), anorexia (8%), confusion (8%), and anxiety (up to 7%).
Hematologic side effects have included anemia (32%).
Immunologic side effects have included moniliasis (9%).
Dermatologic side effects have included photosensitivity reaction (up to 22%).
Genitourinary side effects have included urinary tract infection (7%).
Local side effects have included exudate (22%), obstruction (19%), stricture (11%), and ulceration (9%).
Ocular side effects have included ocular discomfort (commonly described as sensitivity to sun, bright lights, or car headlights).
A case of cataracts has been reported in a fifty-one year old obese man treated with porfimer (the active ingredient contained in Photofrin) The patient suffered from a photodynamic therapy (PDT) response. Within two months post PDT, the patient noted difficulty with his distant vision. A thorough eye examination revealed a change in the refractive error that later progressed to cataracts in both eyes.
Both of the parents of the patient with cataracts in both eyes had a history of cataracts in their seventies. Whether porfimer directly caused or accelerated a familial underlying condition is unknown.
Other side effects including a few cases of fluid imbalance have been reported following the use of photodynamic therapy (PDT) with porfimer (the active ingredient contained in Photofrin) in patients with overtly disseminated intraperitoneal malignancies.
Fluid imbalance is an expected PDT treatment-related event.
More about Photofrin (porfimer)
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