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Porfimer Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 23, 2023.

Applies to porfimer: intravenous powder for solution.

Serious side effects of Porfimer

Along with its needed effects, porfimer 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 or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking porfimer:

More common

Less common

Other side effects of Porfimer

Some side effects of porfimer 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

Less common

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to porfimer: intravenous powder for injection.


Very common (10% or more): Photosensitivity reaction (37%)

Postmarketing reports: Angioedema, blister, dry skin, erythema, face edema, photodermatosis, pigmentation disorder, pruritus, pseudoporphyria, rash, skin burning sensation, sunburn, urticaria[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (37%), esophageal stricture (36%), vomiting (31%), esophageal narrowing (30%), constipation (24%), dysphagia (24%)

abdominal pain (20%)

Common (1% to 10%): Esophageal bleeding, esophageal edema, hematemesis, dyspepsia, esophageal stenosis, diarrhea, esophagitis, eructation, melena, esophageal pain, hiccups, odynophagia

Frequency not reported: Esophageal perforation, gastric ulcer, ileus, peritonitis, regurgitation, heartburn

Postmarketing reports: Gastrointestinal necrosis, dry lips, mouth edema, esophageal fistula, esophageal ulcer, oral pain, esophageal injury[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Anemia (32%)

Postmarketing reports: Leukocytosis, prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time, increased C-reactive protein, erythropenia, decreased hemoglobin, prolonged prothrombin time, increased blood urea[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Pleural effusion (32%), dyspnea (30%), exudate (22%), bronchial mucus plug or bronchial obstruction (21%), pneumonia (18%), cough (15%), hemoptysis (16%), pharyngitis (11%), bronchiostenosis (11%), bronchitis (10%), respiratory insufficiency (10%), respiratory distress

Common (1% to 10%): Tracheoesophageal fistula, bronchial ulceration

Frequency not reported: Bronchospasm, laryngotracheal edema, pneumonitis, pulmonary hemorrhage, pulmonary edema, respiratory failure, stridor, mediastinal inflammation, pulmonary thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, lung abscess, increased sputum

Postmarketing reports: Bronchial injury, bronchial fistula, bronchial hemorrhage, hiccups[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Pyrexia (31%), chest pain (31%), pain (22%), generalized edema (18%), chest discomfort (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Peripheral edema, asthenia/fatigue/malaise, substernal chest pain, candidiasis, post-procedural complication, post-procedural pain, sepsis

Postmarketing reports: Chills, swelling, decreased total protein[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Insomnia (14%)

Common (1% to 10%): Confusional state, anxiety[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Back pain (11%)[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Atrial fibrillation (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Cardiac failure, tachycardia, hypotension, hypertension

Frequency not reported: Angina pectoris, bradycardia, myocardial infarction, sick sinus syndrome, supraventricular tachycardia

Postmarketing reports: First degree atrioventricular block, deep vein thrombosis, embolism, phlebitis[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Dehydration (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Decreased weight, anorexia

Frequency not reported: Fluid imbalance

Postmarketing reports: Fluid overload, hypocalcemia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Urinary tract infection

Postmarketing reports: Bladder spasm, dysuria, hydronephrosis, micturition urgency, nocturia, urinary retention[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Dysphonia

Frequency not reported: Cerebrovascular accident

Postmarketing reports: Dizziness, hypoesthesia, vasovagal syncope[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Tumor hemorrhage[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Jaundice

Postmarketing reports: Pancreatitis, portal vein thrombosis[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Cataracts, ocular sensitivity, abnormal vision, diplopia, eye pain, photophobia

Postmarketing reports: Asthenopia, ocular hyperemia, abnormal visual acuity test[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Hypersensitivity[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Infusion reactions, application site edema[Ref]


1. Product Information. Photofrin (porfimer). Sanofi Winthrop Pharmaceuticals. 2001;PROD.

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. UK Summary of Product Characteristics.

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.