methoxsalen topical (generic name)

This medicine is combined with ultraviolet light or sunlight, in a therapy called PUVA
(me THOK suh luhn)
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What is this medicine?

METHOXSALEN (me THOK suh luhn) is a skin coloring and light sensitizing agent. This medicine is combined with ultraviolet light or sunlight, in a therapy called PUVA. This therapy is used to treat vitiligo, a condition where skin color is missing.

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

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • absence of the lens in the eye
  • albinism
  • cataracts
  • heart disease
  • porphyria
  • skin cancer
  • recent radiation therapy
  • skin photosensitivity problems
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to methoxsalen, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for external use on the skin only. Do not take by mouth. This medicine should only be applied by a physician to a well-defined area of skin before the area is exposed to ultraviolet A light.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

This medicine is only applied by a doctor or health care professional. For the treatment to be successful, light treatment must be done at the correct time after the lotion is applied.

What may interact with this medicine?

This medicine will make you sensitive to the sun. This effect may be increased by other medicines that also cause sensitivity to the sun such as:
  • anthralin
  • antibacterial soaps
  • certain diuretics
  • certain staining dyes (examples: methylene blue, toluidine blue, rose bengal, or methyl orange)
  • coal tar
  • griseofulvin
  • medicines for infections including sulfa or tetracycline antibiotics
  • medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
  • vitamin A and vitamin A-like medicines and creams
  • vitamin E

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You may see an improvement in your condition after a few weeks. The full effect can take 6 to 9 months of treatment. This medicine and PUVA can increase your risk of getting skin cancer. Show your doctor or health care professional any unusual sores or blemishes that develop. If your skin gets very dry, ask your doctor or health care professional before you use any skin products.

This medicine can increase sensitivity of the skin to sun or UV light. This could lead to a serious burn. Keep out of the sun for at least 24 hours before and 48 hours after PUVA. Keep out of the sun for 12 to 48 hours after application of this medicine. If you must be outside, wear protective clothing and use a sunscreen (at least SPF 15). Do not apply sunscreen to areas of psoriasis until after light therapy. Do not use sun lamps, sun tanning beds or booths. Certain foods can increase your sensitivity to sunlight while using this medicine. Avoid eating limes, figs, parsley, parsnips, mustard, carrots, and celery while using this medicine.

You can get permanent premature aging of the skin if you use this medicine for a long time. This effect is similar to the result of too much sunbathing.

Recent treatment with radiation therapy or cancer medicines increases the chance of developing side effects from combined light treatment and this medicine.

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Last Updated: July 06, 2009
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