AMINOLEVULINIC ACID is a light sensitizing drug that is used in photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT is used to treat many types of skin conditions including actinic keratosis and certain types of skin cancer. PDT is a two-step process that requires application of a drug and then exposure to a certain type of light. Compare medical supplies and devices.

Levulan Side Effects

What should I watch for?

This medicine will cause your skin to be very sensitive light in the 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 begin to experience stinging and/or burning, decrease your exposure to light.

During the second step of therapy, you will be exposed to a blue light for about 17 minutes. This light will not heat the skin. You will receive goggles to protect your eyes. During exposure to the blue light you may experience stinging, burning, tingling, or prick-like feelings at the treated sites.

After treatment with the blue light, the treated areas and sometimes the surrounding skin will get red, swell, and may scale over. These effects should improve within 4 weeks of the treatment.


Interactions with Medications

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Pain, burning, itching, redness, or swelling at the application site

Less common

Bleeding during lesion preparation

Incidence not known

difficulty seeing at night

double vision

increased sensitivity of the eyes to sunlight

red, sore eyes

seeing double

swelling of the eyelids

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, “pins and needles,” stinging, or tingling feelings

darkening of the treated skin

lightening of the treated skin

scaling or crusting

skin sore

small red raised itchy bumps

swelling of the skin

Less common



open sore on the skin


pus filled blister or pimple

raw skin



Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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