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What is Visudyne (verteporfin)?
Verteporfin works by enhancing the eye’s sensitivity to light. Verteporfin affects abnormal blood vessels in the eye.
Verteporfin is used together with «photodynamic» laser light therapy to treat blood vessel disorders in the eye caused by macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
Verteporfin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about Visudyne (verteporfin)?
You should not receive this medicine if you have porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).
What should I discuss with my health care provider before I receive Visudyne (verteporfin)?
You should not receive verteporfin if you are allergic to it, or if you have porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).
To make sure verteporfin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- liver disease;
- gallbladder disease; or
- if you are receiving radiation treatment.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether verteporfin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine.
Verteporfin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using verteporfin.
How is verteporfin given?
Verteporfin is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. Verteporfin must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take at least 10 minutes to complete.
Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when verteporfin is injected.
You will receive laser light treatment to your eye(s) within 15 minutes after the start of your verteporfin infusion.
After receiving verteporfin, you must protect your eyes from natural sunlight and bright indoor light for at least 5 days.. For best protection, wear dark sunglasses whenever you are outdoors or while indoors under bright lighting.
You should not stay in the dark while you are indoors, as this can actually cause the drug to stay active in your body longer. It is best to spend your time in ambient indoor light such as indirect sunlight through a window, or low-wattage incandescent lighting. Avoid areas where you will be exposed to halogen or fluorescent light.
Your doctor will need to check your progress on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since verteporfin is given by a healthcare professional only in preparation for laser light treatment, you will not be on a frequent dosing schedule.
Your doctor should check your condition every 3 months to determine if you need repeat treatment.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include severely decreased vision.
What should I avoid after I receive Visudyne (verteporfin)?
Verteporfin will make your eyes and your skin more sensitive to light. Natural sunlight and bright indoor light can expose you to harmful UV rays, which may cause severe sunburn or damage to your vision.
Avoid exposure to sunlight, tanning beds, bright halogen lights, or other bright lighting for at least 5 days after you are treated with verteporfin.
To avoid exposing your skin to sunlight, keep all parts of your skin covered with clothing. Sunscreen will not be effective in protecting you from UV rays during the 5-day period after you have received verteporfin.
This medication may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.
Visudyne (verteporfin) side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; sweating; dizziness; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Tell your caregivers at once if you have:
- severe decrease in vision;
- sudden and severe pain;
- severe redness or other discoloration of your eyes;
- eye pain or seeing halos around lights;
- feeling like you might pass out;
- chest pain; or
- flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling).
Common side effects may include:
- slight changes in your vision, seeing flashes of light;
- dry eyes;
- redness, swelling, or itching of your eyelids;
- headache, feeling weak or tired;
- mild itching or skin rash;
- constipation, nausea;
- joint pain, muscle weakness;
- fever, chills, flu symptoms; or
- pain, swelling, bleeding, or itching where the medicine was injected.
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Visudyne (verteporfin)?
Other drugs may interact with verteporfin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with verteporfin. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.