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Levulan Kerastick (topical)

Generic name: aminolevulinic acid (topical) [ a-MEE-noe-LEV-ue-LIN-ik-AS-id ]
Brand names: Ameluz, Levulan Kerastick
Drug class: Topical photochemotherapeutics

Medically reviewed by on Oct 30, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is Levulan Kerastick?

Levulan Kerastick causes skin cells to become more sensitive to certain types of light. Skin cells treated with this medicine will die and slough off after being exposed to a special light treatment.

Levulan Kerastick is used to treat actinic keratosis (warty overgrowths of skin) on the face and scalp. Levulan Kerastick is used together with a special light treatment, also called photodynamic therapy.

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

Levulan Kerastick side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have severe stinging or burning that lasts longer than 4 weeks.

Common side effects of Levulan Kerastick 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.


Avoid exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light for up to 48 hours after Levulan Kerastick is applied to your skin or scalp.

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with Levulan Kerastick if you are allergic to it.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

How is Levulan Kerastick given?

A healthcare provider will apply Levulan Kerastick directly to your skin lesions to prepare you for light treatment.

Your face and scalp may need to be treated in separate sessions if you have actinic keratosis on both areas.

If you are treated with Ameluz gel:

If you are treated with Levulan Kerastick solution:

The photodynamic light has a low intensity and will not heat your skin. However, you may feel tingling, stinging, prickling, or burning where Levulan Kerastick was applied. This discomfort is usually temporary.

For up to 48 hours, you will need to protect your skin from bright light. Sunscreen will not be effective enough to protect you while this medicine is on your skin or scalp. 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.

You may have some redness, swelling, and scaling of your lesions and the surrounding skin. These symptoms should go away completely within 4 weeks.

Call your doctor if you have severe skin discomfort, or if you have new or worsening skin problems.

If your actinic keratosis lesions do not clear up completely, you may need a second treatment. Levulan Kerastick and light treatment can be repeated after 8 weeks. Ameluz and light treatment can be repeated after 3 months.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you cannot return for your light treatment within the recommended 14 to 18 hours after Levulan Kerastick was applied. The timing of this medicine and light treatment is extremely important to the success of your treatment.

What happens if I overdose?

Since Levulan Kerastick is applied by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid after receiving Levulan Kerastick?

Avoid exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light for up to 48 hours. Wear a hat and clothing that covers your skin. Even if you miss your light treatment appointment, continue avoiding bright light for up to 48 hours.

Avoid using other medications on the areas treated with Levulan Kerastick unless your doctor tells you to.

What other drugs will affect Levulan Kerastick?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines. Some drugs can make you more sensitive to sunlight, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect Levulan Kerastick, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

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.