porfimer

NOTICE: This health information was not created by the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) and may not necessarily reflect specific UMHS practices. For medical advice relating to your personal condition, please consult your doctor. Complete disclaimer

porfimer

Pronunciation: POR fi mer
Brand: Photofrin

What is the most important information I should know about porfimer?

Porfimer should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

nosun After porfimer has been administered, exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light (examination lamps, dental lights, operating room lamps, tanning beds, or very close unshaded light bulbs) must be avoided for at least 30 days. Sensitivity may last for 90 days or more. Exposure to normal indoor light is good, as this helps the body to eliminate porfimer. Therefore, do not stay in darkened rooms. Before exposing any area of skin to direct sunlight or bright indoor light, test for sensitivity by exposing a small area of skin to sunlight for 10 minutes. If there is no reaction (such as redness, blistering or swelling) within 24 hours, you can gradually increase your sun exposure time. If a reaction does occur, wait another 2 weeks before testing again. Do not use the face or skin around the eyes as a test area. If you travel to a place that has more sunlight, you should retest with the 10 minute exposure procedure. Sun screens will not prevent a reaction. Sun screens stop UV (invisible) light, while porfimer makes the skin sensitive to visible light

Porfimer may increase the sensitivity of the eyes to sun, bright lights, or car headlights. Dark sunglasses which have an average white light transmittance of less than 4% should be worn when outdoors for 30 days following treatment with porfimer.

What is porfimer?

Porfimer increases the sensitivity of tissues to the effects of light. Porfimer is used before the administration of laser light to cancerous tumors to decrease tumor size.

Porfimer is used in the treatment of some esophageal and lung cancers.

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

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using porfimer?

donot Do not take porfimer if you have porphyria.
nopreg Porfimer is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is unknown whether it will harm an unborn baby. Do not use porfimer without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment.
nobrfeed It is not known whether porfimer passes into breast milk. Do not take porfimer without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use porfimer?

Porfimer should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Your doctor will determine the correct amount and frequency of treatment with porfimer depending upon the type of cancer being treated and other factors. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding the treatment schedule.

nosun After porfimer has been administered, exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light (examination lamps, dental lights, operating room lamps, tanning beds, or very close unshaded light bulbs) must be avoided for at least 30 days. Sensitivity may last for 90 days or more. Exposure to normal indoor light is good, as this helps the body to eliminate porfimer. Therefore, do not stay in darkened rooms. Before exposing any area of skin to direct sunlight or bright indoor light, test for sensitivity by exposing a small area of skin to sunlight for 10 minutes. If there is no reaction (such as redness, blistering or swelling) within 24 hours, you can gradually increase your sun exposure time. If a reaction does occur, wait another 2 weeks before testing again. Do not use the face or skin around the eyes as a test area. If you travel to a place that has more sunlight, you should retest with the 10 minute exposure procedure. Sun screens will not prevent a reaction. Sun screens stop UV (invisible) light, while porfimer makes the skin sensitive to visible light

Your healthcare provider will store porfimer as directed by the manufacturer.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss a dose of porfimer.

What happens if I overdose?

emt If for any reason an overdose of porfimer is suspected, seek emergency medical attention or contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Symptoms of a porfimer overdose may include increased or prolonged sensitivity to light.

What should I avoid while using porfimer?

nosun After porfimer has been administered, exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light (examination lamps, dental lights, operating room lamps, tanning beds, or very close unshaded light bulbs) must be avoided for at least 30 days. Sensitivity may last for 90 days or more. Exposure to normal indoor light is good, as this helps the body to eliminate porfimer. Therefore, do not stay in darkened rooms. Before exposing any area of skin to direct sunlight or bright indoor light, test for sensitivity by exposing a small area of skin to sunlight for 10 minutes. If there is no reaction (such as redness, blistering or swelling) within 24 hours, you can gradually increase your sun exposure time. If a reaction does occur, wait another 2 weeks before testing again. Do not use the face or skin around the eyes as a test area. If you travel to a place that has more sunlight, you should retest with the 10 minute exposure procedure. Sun screens will not prevent a reaction. Sun screens stop UV (invisible) light, while porfimer makes the skin sensitive to visible light

Porfimer may increase the sensitivity of the eyes to sun, bright lights, or car headlights. Dark sunglasses which have an average white light transmittance of less than 4% should be worn when outdoors for 30 days following treatment with porfimer.

What are the possible side effects of porfimer?

If you experience any of the following serious side effects from porfimer, contact your doctor immediately:

  • an allergic reaction (including difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
  • shortness of breath or increased coughing;
  • chest pain;
  • bloody vomit or black, bloody, or tarry stools; or
  • a severe skin reaction to light such as blistering.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Talk to your doctor if you experience

  • mild constipation;
  • nausea;
  • mild to moderate skin reactions such as redness, swelling, itching, or burning sensations;
  • increased hair growth, skin discoloration, skin growths, increased wrinkles, or increased skin fragility of the area treated; or
  • eye sensitivity to sun, bright lights, or car headlights.

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. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect porfimer?

Before using porfimer, tell your doctor if you are taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal or alternative preparations. You may not be able to take porfimer, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you are taking any of the treatments listed above.

Where can I get more information?

Your healthcare provider may have additional information about porfimer that you may read.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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