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Generic name: aminolevulinic acid (oral) (a MEE noe LEV ue LIN ik AS id)
Brand name: Gleolan
Drug class: Malignancy photosensitizers

Medically reviewed by on Nov 10, 2021. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is Gleolan?

Gleolan is given before surgery to remove a glioma (a type of brain or spinal cord tumor).

Taking Gleolan causes a certain substance to build up within your tumor tissue. This allows the tissue to be seen more clearly through a special light scope that is used during surgery to remove the tumor.

Gleolan may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


For 24 hours before and after taking Gleolan, you will need to protect your skin from light, both sunlight and bright indoor light.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Gleolan if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had liver or kidney disease.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

You should not breast-feed within 24 hours after taking Gleolan. If you use a breast pump during this time, throw out any milk you collect. Do not feed it to your baby.

How is Gleolan given?

Gleolan is usually given about 3 hours before surgery. A healthcare provider will prepare and give you Gleolan.

For 24 hours before and after taking Gleolan, you will need to protect your skin from bright light. Avoid exposure to both sunlight and bright indoor light. Wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat when you are outdoors. If you feel stinging or burning of the treated skin, reduce your exposure to light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Gleolan is used as a single dose and does not have a daily dosing schedule.

What happens if I overdose?

Since Gleolan is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid after taking Gleolan?

Avoid exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light for 24 hours after taking Gleolan. Wear a hat and clothing that covers your skin.

Gleolan side effects

Signs of an allergic reaction may include: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Your caregivers will watch you closely to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction, and to treat a reaction if it does occur.

Many side effects can occur up to 6 weeks after you took Gleolan. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • skin redness or swelling, raised red areas;

  • skin rash, itching, or blistering;

  • a seizure;

  • chills; or

  • trouble speaking or understanding what is said to you.

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Gleolan?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines. Certain medicines also can make you more sensitive to bright light and should be avoided within 24 hours before or after you take Gleolan. This includes:

  • St. John's wort;

  • an antibiotic or sulfa drug;

  • a diuretic or "water pill";

  • medicine to treat nausea or vomiting;

  • antipsychotic medication; or

  • an oral diabetes medicine.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect Gleolan, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here. Do not change the dosing schedule of your other medicines without your doctor's advice.

Does Gleolan interact with my other drugs?

Enter other medications to view a detailed report.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.