Methyl Aminolevulinate

March 21, 2017

Methyl Aminolevulinate topical cream

What is Methyl Aminolevulinate topical cream?

METHYL AMINOLEVULINATE (Metvixia™) topical cream is a light sensitizing drug that is used in photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT with methyl aminolevulinate topical cream is used to treat a type of skin condition called actinic keratosis. PDT is a two-step process requiring application of a drug and then exposure to a certain type of light. Generic methyl aminolevulinate topical cream is not available.

NOTE: This product is discontinued in the United States.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • bleeding disorders

  • conditions that make you sensitive to light or sunlight

  • porphyria

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to methyl aminolevulinate, porphyrins, other medicines, foods (especially peanuts or almonds), dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

How should this medicine be used?

Methyl aminolevulinate topical cream is applied by a trained health care professional to affected areas on the face or scalp. This is the first step of photodynamic therapy (PDT). Three hours after application of this medicine, the treated area is exposed to a special red light for about 10 minutes. Another course of treatment may be given 7 days after the first.

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss a scheduled appointment. The timing after the application of the drug determines when the light treatment may be given. If you miss a scheduled appointment, contact your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible. Even if you are not exposed to the light treatment, continue to avoid exposure to sunlight or prolonged bright light for at least 2 days.

What drug(s) may interact with Methyl Aminolevulinate topical cream?

Methyl aminolevulinate topical cream will make you sensitive to the sun. This effect may be increased by other medicines that also cause sensitivity to the sun such as:

  • griseofulvin

  • medicines including sulfa or tetracycline antibiotics

  • medicines for mental problems or psychotic disturbances

  • some types of water pills (diuretics)

  • vitamin A and vitamin A-like medicines and creams (examples: Accutane®, Solage®, Retin-A®, or Differin®)

  • vitamin E

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines that you are taking, including nonprescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What should I watch for while taking Methyl Aminolevulinate topical cream?

Methyl aminolevulinate topical cream will cause your skin to be very sensitive light in areas where it is applied. You must avoid exposing treated areas to sunlight and bright indoor lights (unshaded light bulbs at close range) during the treatment period. Use a wide-brimmed hat or other protective clothing. Sunscreen will NOT work to protect your skin. If you are not exposed to the red light, continue to avoid exposure to sunlight or prolonged bright light for at least 2 days. If you begin to experience stinging and/or burning, decrease your exposure to light.

During the second step of therapy, you be exposed to a red light. This light will not heat the skin. You will receive goggles to protect your eyes. During exposure to the red light you may experience stinging, burning, tingling, or prick-like feelings at the treated sites.

After treatment with the red light, the treated areas and sometimes the surrounding skin will get red, swell, and may scale over. These effects should improve within 10 days of treatment. redness may last up to one month. If any of these skin reactions get worse and last longer than 3 weeks, call you health care provider.

What side effects may I notice from receiving Methyl Aminolevulinate topical cream?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • blisters, redness, swelling of skin (similar to severe sunburn)

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor if they continue or are bothersome):

  • burning or stinging

  • crusting or scaling of lesions

  • itching

  • redness of treated areas

  • sensitivity to the sun and other lights

  • swelling of lesions

Where can I keep my medicine?

This does not apply. You will receive methyl aminolevulinate topical cream in a clinic or hospital setting by trained health care providers. You will not take this medicine home.


March 21, 2017


U.S. FDA-approved Package Insert