Medically reviewed on March 14, 2018.
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. This medicine 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.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light for up to 48 hours after this medicine 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:
a soybean allergy; or
porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.
It may not be safe to breast-feed a baby while you are using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risks.
How is aminolevulinic acid given?
You will not be allowed to apply Levulan Kerastick yourself. A healthcare provider will apply this medicine 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:
The treated skin will be covered with a dressing to block out light.
After 3 hours, the dressing will be removed and light treatment will be applied to the lesions.
If you are treated with Levulan Kerastick solution:
You must return to your doctor's office within 14 to 18 hours afterward to receive light treatment.
Once the solution has been applied, keep the treated skin dry.
Do not wash the skin while waiting for your light treatment.
The photodynamic light has a low intensity and will not heat your skin. However, you may feel tingling, stinging, prickling, or burning of the skin where Levulan Kerastick was applied. This discomfort is usually temporary.
For up to 48 hours after the medicine is applied, 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.
After treatment 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 this medicine 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 after Levulan Kerastick is applied to your skin or scalp. 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.
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 may include:
pain, burning, redness, or swelling of treated skin;
itching, stinging, tingling, or prickly feeling;
scaling or crusting of the skin;
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
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:
an antibiotic or sulfa drug;
a diuretic or "water pill";
antipsychotic medication; or
an oral diabetes medicine.
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.
- Your doctor can provide more information about Levulan Kerastick.
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.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.01.
More about Levulan Kerastick (aminolevulinic acid topical)
- Levulan Kerastick Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
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- Drug class: topical photochemotherapeutics
Other brands: Ameluz