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porfimer (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving porfimer (Photofrin)?

You should not receive this medication if you are allergic to porfimer, or if you have porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).

To make sure you can safely receive porfimer, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease; or
  • a history of stroke or blood clot.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether porfimer will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while being treated with this medication.

It is not known whether porfimer passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are receiving porfimer.

How is porfimer given (Photofrin)?

Porfimer is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when porfimer is injected.

You will receive laser light treatment within 40 to 50 hours after your porfimer infusion. A second laser light treatment may be given within 96 to 120 hours after your porfimer infusion.

Porfimer will make your skin and eyes more sensitive to light and severe sunburn may result. For at least 30 days after you are treated with porfimer, you must protect your eyes and skin from natural sunlight and bright indoor lights (such as lights in a doctor's or dentist's office, operating room lamps, tanning beds, bright halogen lights, or unshaded light bulbs).

To avoid exposing your skin to sunlight, keep all parts of your skin covered with clothing and wear dark sunglasses when you are outdoors. Sunscreen will not prevent a severe skin reaction to sunlight during the 30-day period after your treatment with porfimer.

You may be more sensitive to sunlight and bright light for up to 90 days or longer. To determine when this effect has worn off, you may test your skin to see if it is still sensitive to sunlight.

To test your skin for sun sensitivity:

  • Expose a small area of skin to direct sunlight or bright indoor light for about 10 minutes.
  • Do not use the skin on your face or around your eyes to test for light sensitivity.
  • If the exposed skin develops redness, swelling, or blistering within 24 hours, wait another 2 weeks before testing the skin again.
  • If your exposure to sunlight will increase because of travel or relocation within the 90-day period after you receive porfimer, test your skin again.

Exposure to indirect sunlight (sun shining through a window) is not as harmful and will actually help your body eliminate porfimer from your tissues. Follow your doctor's instructions about the best amount of light exposure.

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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