verteporfin (generic name)

It is used to treat macular degeneration
(VER te PORE fin)
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What is this medicine?

VERTEPORFIN (VER te PORE fin) is used to treat macular degeneration. It is activated by light. This medication is given, then the eye(s) are treated with a laser light. This is called photodynamic therapy (PDT). This treatment results in a slowing of the disease and helps to maintain vision.

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

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • liver disease
  • porphyria
  • recent radiation therapy
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to verteporfin, eggs, porphyrins, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for injection into a vein. This is the first step of photodynamic therapy (PDT). Your doctor will numb your eye with eyedrops, and then place a special contact lens on the eye. The second step consists of shining a laser light into your eye for just over a minute to activate the medication. The laser does not use heat, so it will not burn your eye. Another course of treatment may be given in 3 months, if your vision problems recur.

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 a scheduled appointment. If you miss a scheduled appointment, contact your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • alcohol
  • any medicines that may make you sensitive to the sun (e.g., some antibiotics, sulfa medicines, and water pills)
  • aspirin and aspirin-like medicines
  • beta-carotene
  • calcium-channel blockers (e.g., diltiazem, nifedipine, and verapamil)
  • dimethyl sulfoxide
  • mannitol
  • medicines that affect platelets
  • medicines that treat or prevent blood clots like warfarin, enoxaparin, and dalteparin
  • NSAIDS, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
  • polymyxin b
  • tetracyclines
  • vitamins A and E

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

This medication will cause you to be very sensitive to light. Avoid exposing skin and eyes to sunlight and bright indoor lights (unshaded light bulbs at close range) for 5 days. If you are near a window in your home during daylight, make sure you have curtains or shades to block out direct sunlight. However, you should not stay in the dark. Exposing your skin to indoor light helps to inactivate the drug in the skin. You can watch TV or go to the movies. Try to avoid outside activities or chores until after sundown. If you do go outside during daylight hours within the first 5 days after your treatment, wear long-sleeved shirts and slacks, preferably tight-knit, light colored fabrics, gloves, socks and shoes, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat. Sunscreens will NOT protect against these reactions. After 5 days, you may resume normal outdoor activities without any special precautions.

Following the injection, you may notice increased sensitivity of your eyes to sun, bright lights or car headlights for several days.

After the treatment, you may experience temporary changes in vision. This may interfere with your ability to drive or operate machinery. You should avoid these activities until these symptoms go away.

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Last Updated: September 14, 2009
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