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Methoxsalen (injection)

Generic Name: methoxsalen (injection) (meth OX a len)
Brand Name: Uvadex

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Jan 18, 2018 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is methoxsalen?

Methoxsalen works by enhancing the body's sensitivity to ultraviolet light A (UVA).

Methoxsalen injection is used with UVA light therapy to treat skin lesions caused by cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). Methoxsalen treats only the skin symptoms of CTCL but does not treat lymphoma.

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

Important Information

You should not be treated with methoxsalen if you are sensitive to light or if you have lens damage in your eye.

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with methoxsalen if you are allergic to methoxsalen or similar medicines, or if you have:

  • lupus, porphyria, albinism, or other conditions that make you more sensitive to light; or

  • damage to the lenses of your eyes caused by surgery, injury, or genetic condition.

To make sure methoxsalen is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • a severe sunburn;

  • a skin pigment disorder;

  • basal cell carcinoma;

  • radiation or x-ray therapy, or treatment with arsenic trioxide (Trisenox);

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • cataracts; or

  • heart disease.

Methoxsalen injection may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy and tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

It is not known whether methoxsalen could affect a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.

How is methoxsalen given?

Methoxsalen injection is given as part of a procedure called photopheresis (FOE-toe-fe-REE-sis).

During photopheresis, some of your blood is collected through a small tube (catheter) placed into a vein. The catheter is connected to a machine that separates your white blood cells from other parts of the blood.

The white blood cells are then mixed with methoxsalen and exposed to UVA light. When injected back into your body, these treated blood cells help strengthen your immune system to lessen the skin lesions of CTCL.

This treatment is usually given for 2 days in a row every 4 weeks for at least 6 months.

Methoxsalen will make you more sensitive to sunlight, which can cause harmful effects on your vision and on your skin (premature aging or skin cancer).

For at least 24 hours after each photopheresis treatment:

  • You must protect your skin and eyes from natural sunlight (even sun shining through a window).

  • Do not expose your skin to any sunlight. Wear protective clothing including a hat and gloves. Use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, and apply it to all uncovered skin areas exposed to light.

  • Wear sunglasses for at least 24 hours after treatment.

  • For utmost protection, wear a pair of wraparound UVA-absorbing sunglasses, even while you are indoors near a window.

You may develop cataracts if you do not properly protect your eyes after each photopheresis treatment.

Check your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer, such as a small growth or nodule, a scaly or crusted lesion, a brownish spot or speckles, or a change in the size, color, or feel of a mole. You may need to check your skin for signs of cancer throughout the rest of your life.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your photopheresis treatment.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. You will be extremely sensitive to light after an overdose.

What should I avoid after receiving methoxsalen injection?

Avoid all exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays between treatments.

Methoxsalen 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 skin redness within 24 hours after UVA treatment;

  • swelling, severe itching, or severe skin discomfort;

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

  • a new skin lesion, or a mole that has changed in size or color; or

  • blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights.

Skin redness or thickening may occur several hours or days after photopheresis with methoxsalen injection. This is a normal effect of methoxsalen and UVA treatment, and may not be a sign of severe sunburn. Ask your doctor if you have concerns about any redness or swelling of your skin.

Common side effects may include:

  • rash;

  • fever;

  • nausea; or

  • changes in your sense of taste.

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 methoxsalen?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Methoxsalen can make your skin even more sensitive to sunlight if you also use certain other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with methoxsalen, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

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.

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