methoxsalen (generic name)

This medicine is given before ultraviolet radiation
(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 given before ultraviolet radiation. It is used to treat severe psoriasis and vitiligo. Some forms of this medicine are also used to treat the skin symptoms of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

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

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • albinism
  • eye problems like cataracts or aphakia
  • heart disease
  • liver disease
  • lupus
  • porphyria
  • history of arsenic therapy
  • history of x-ray therapy
  • skin cancer
  • skin photosensitivity problems
  • xeroderma
  • 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?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. If this medicine upsets your stomach, you may take it with low-fat food or milk, or you may divide your dose and take it in 2 portions (30 minutes apart). Follow your doctor's directions. Do not take it more often than directed.

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

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • anthralin
  • coal tar
  • diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide
  • griseofulvin
  • medical dyes like methylene blue, toluidine blue, rose bengal, methyl orange
  • medicines for seizures like ethotoin, fosphenytoin, phenytoin
  • nalidixic acid
  • phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine
  • retinoids like bexarotene, tazarotene, tretinoin
  • some antibiotics like ciprofloxacin, sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline
  • some bacteriostatic soaps

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular check ups. See your eye doctor regularly. Report any changes in your vision right away.

This medicine may increase your chance of getting cancer. Talk to your doctor about your risk. See a doctor for regular cancer checks as directed.

This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths. Stay out of the sun for 24 hours before a UV treatment and at least 8 hours after taking this medicine, or as directed by your doctor.

For 24 hours after you take this medicine, wear wrap-around sunglasses that block all UV light whenever you can see any sunlight.

Do not switch between hard- and soft-gelatin capsules of this medicine. This may change the timing of your UV treatment.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • changes in vision
  • depression
  • swelling of feet or hands
  • unusually weak or tired

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

  • dizziness
  • headache
  • increased sensitivity to the sun
  • itching, dry skin
  • leg cramps
  • nausea
  • nervous
  • skin thinning or wrinkles
  • trouble sleeping

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Protect from light. Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

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.

Last Updated: July 06, 2009
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