Visudyne Side Effects

Generic Name: verteporfin

Note: This document contains side effect information about verteporfin. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Visudyne.

Some side effects of Visudyne 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 verteporfin: powder for solution

Along with its needed effects, verteporfin (the active ingredient contained in Visudyne) 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 while taking verteporfin:

More common
  • Blurred vision or other change in vision
Less common
  • Decrease in vision, may be severe
  • dizziness
  • dull nervousness
  • eye pain
  • fainting
  • fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • itching, redness, or other irritation of eye
  • pale skin
  • pounding in the ears
  • troubled breathing on exertion
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Some side effects of verteporfin 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
  • Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of skin, feeling of pressure, infection, itching, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, and/or warmth at the injection site
  • headache
Less common
  • Back pain (during infusion of verteporfin)
  • chills
  • cloudy urine
  • constipation
  • cough
  • decreased hearing
  • decreased sensitivity to touch
  • diarrhea
  • difficult or painful urination
  • difficulty in moving
  • double vision
  • dry eyes
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • fever
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • hoarseness
  • increased sensitivity of skin to sunlight
  • joint pain
  • light headedness
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of strength or energy
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • nausea
  • pain, swelling, or redness in joints
  • pelvic discomfort
  • redness or other discoloration of skin
  • runny nose
  • severe sunburn
  • shivering
  • skin rash
  • sore throat
  • sweating
  • tearing
  • tender, swollen glands in neck
  • throat congestion
  • trouble in sleeping
  • trouble in swallowing
  • trouble sleeping
  • varicose veins
  • voice changes
  • vomiting

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to verteporfin: intravenous powder for injection

Ocular

Severe vision decrease has been reported in 1% to 5% of patients within 7 days of treatment. Partial recovery occurred in many patients (percentage not given).

An 82-year-old woman experienced a sudden decrease in vision acuity, measured as Snellen visual acuity of 20/200 in both eyes, within approximately 4 hours following ocular photodynamic therapy with verteporfin (the active ingredient contained in Visudyne) Further examination revealed a gross central serous retinal detachment and outlined the CNV within the choroid, and a focal area of hyperpermeability on the supertemporal margin of the CNV. Within approximately 4 days visual acuity returned to 20/40 in both eyes, and examination reveled complete closure of the occult CNV, cessation of hyperpermeability and leakage, and resolution of the retinal detachment. Visual acuity continued to improve and remained stable at 20/30 up to the last examination performed at 9 months after treatment.

Ocular side effects have included blurred vision, decreased visual acuity, visual field defects, blepharitis, cataracts, conjunctivitis, conjunctival injection, dry eyes, ocular itching, severe vision loss, lacrimation disorder, diplopia, mild stromal haze, and subconjunctival, subretinal, or vitreous hemorrhage. Significant exudation associated with vision loss has also been reported. Retinal detachment (nonhegmatogenous), retinal or choroidal vessel nonperfusion have been reported rarely.

General

The most frequent adverse effects associated with verteporfin (the active ingredient contained in Visudyne) have included headaches, injection site reactions, and visual disturbances in 10% to 30% of patients.

Cardiovascular

Cardiovascular side effects have included atrial fibrillation, hypertension, peripheral vascular disorder, varicose veins. Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and acute myocardial infarction have occurred rarely (single case report).

A case of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and acute myocardial infarction occurred in a patient with no prior cardiac symptoms 3 hours after verteporfin administration.

Dermatologic

Dermatologic side effects have included photosensitivity (sunburn after exposure to sunlight) and eczema.

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal side effects have included constipation, nausea, and gastrointestinal cancers.

Hematologic

Hematologic side effects have included anemia, increased or decreased WBC count, and transient neutropenia.

Verteporfin infusion-associated pain may be related to transient neutropenia. A small study described four patients who experienced infusion-related pain and whose average absolute neutrophil counts decreased from 4589/mm3 preinfusion to 1688/mm3 postinfusion. Five control patients with no significant change in neutrophil counts experienced no pain during infusion.

Hepatic

Hepatic side effects have included elevated liver function tests.

Renal

Renal side effects have included albuminuria, increased creatinine, and nephrotic syndrome.

A 66-year-old female developed minimal change nephrotic syndrome (MCNS) characterized by general weakness, edema, proteinuria, hypoproteinemia, hypoalbuminemia, and increased serum cholesterol after 4 cycles of verteporfin/photodynamic therapy. A renal biopsy revealed effacement of visceral epithelial cell foot processes, which is consistent with MCNS.

Musculoskeletal

Musculoskeletal side effects have included arthralgia, arthrosis, and myasthenia. Musculoskeletal pain during infusion has been reported rarely.

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included hypesthesia, sleep disorder, and vertigo.

Respiratory

Respiratory side effects have included cough, pharyngitis, and pneumonia.

Genitourinary

Genitourinary side effects have included prostatic disorder.

Other

Side effects of the body as a whole have included asthenia, back pain, fever, and flu syndrome. Noncardiac chest and neck pain, syncope, and shortness of breath during verteporfin (the active ingredient contained in Visudyne) infusion have been reported rarely.

Back pain associated with verteporfin infusion, usually in the lower back, has been reported in 2.2% of patients. The pain may be severe and resolves 5 to 10 minutes after discontinuation of the infusion. An anecdotal report of 3 patients describes beneficial effects of intravenous diphenhydramine in reducing back pain.

Other side effects have included decreased hearing.

Hypersensitivity

Hypersensitivity side effects have included severe hypersensitivity reactions, severe allergic reactions with dyspnea and flushing, and vaso-vagal reactions. These effects have occurred primarily during infusion.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. 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 substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

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