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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Levulan Kerastick

Generic Name: aminolevulinic acid (Pronunciation: a MEE no le vue lih nick)

What is aminolevulinic acid (Levulan Kerastick)?

Aminolevulinic acid causes skin cells to become much more sensitive to certain types of light. Skin cells treated with aminolevulinic acid and exposed to a special light die and then slough off.

Aminolevulinic acid is used to treat warty overgrowths of skin (actinic keratoses) on sun-exposed areas of the face and scalp. Treatment involves application of aminolevulinic acid, followed 14 to 18 hours later by exposure to a special blue light.

Aminolevulinic acid may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of aminolevulinic acid (Levulan Kerastick)?

Serious side effects are not likely to occur. Stop using aminolevulinic acid and seek emergency medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction (shortness of breath; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; or hives).

You may experience some tingling, stinging, prickling, or burning of the area treated with aminolevulinic acid during the special light treatment. These feelings of discomfort should improve at the end of the light treatment. Following treatment, you will experience some redness, swelling, and scaling of the lesions, and to some degree, the surrounding skin. These changes are temporary and should completely resolve by 4 weeks after treatment. If these side effects are excessive, talk to your doctor.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about aminolevulinic acid (Levulan Kerastick)?

Only a qualified doctor or other healthcare professional should apply aminolevulinic acid. Aminolevulinic acid is not intended for application by the patient.

After aminolevulinic acid has been applied, wear sunlight-protective clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat or similar head covering. Sunscreens will not protect you. Avoid exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light (examination lamps, operating room lamps, tanning beds, or very close lights). If you experience stinging or burning of the treated skin, reduce your exposure to light. It has not been determined if perspiration can spread aminolevulinic acid outside the treatment site to the eyes or surrounding skin.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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