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Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

aminolevulinic acid (oral)

Pronunciation: a MEE noe LEV ue LIN ik AS id

Brand: Gleolan

What is the most important information I should know about aminolevulinic acid?

For 24 hours before and after taking aminolevulinic acid, you will need to protect your skin from light, both sunlight and bright indoor light.

What is aminolevulinic acid?

Aminolevulinic acid is given before surgery to remove a glioma (a type of brain or spinal cord tumor).

Taking this medicine causes a certain substance to build up within your tumor tissue. This allows the tissue to be seen more clearly through a special light scope that is used during surgery to remove the tumor.

Aminolevulinic acid may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking aminolevulinic acid?

You should not use aminolevulinic acid if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had liver or kidney disease.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

You should not breast-feed within 24 hours after taking aminolevulinic acid. If you use a breast pump during this time, throw out any milk you collect. Do not feed it to your baby.

How is aminolevulinic acid given?

Aminolevulinic acid is usually given about 3 hours before surgery. A healthcare provider will prepare and give you this medicine.

For 24 hours before and after taking aminolevulinic acid, you will need to protect your skin from bright light. Avoid exposure to both sunlight and bright indoor light. Wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat when you are outdoors. If you feel stinging or burning of the treated skin, reduce your exposure to light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Aminolevulinic acid is used as a single dose and does not have a daily dosing schedule.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medicine is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid after taking aminolevulinic acid?

Avoid exposure to sunlight or bright indoor light for 24 hours after taking aminolevulinic acid. Wear a hat and clothing that covers your skin.

What are the possible side effects of aminolevulinic acid?

Signs of an allergic reaction may include: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Your caregivers will watch you closely to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction, and to treat a reaction if it does occur.

Many side effects can occur up to 6 weeks after you took aminolevulinic acid. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • skin redness or swelling, raised red areas;
  • skin rash, itching, or blistering;
  • a seizure;
  • chills; or
  • trouble speaking or understanding what is said to you.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; or
  • abnormal liver function tests (for up to 6 weeks after taking aminolevulinic acid).

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.

What other drugs will affect aminolevulinic acid?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines. Certain medicines also can make you more sensitive to bright light and should be avoided within 24 hours before or after you take aminolevulinic acid. This includes:

  • St. John's wort;
  • an antibiotic or sulfa drug;
  • a diuretic or "water pill";
  • medicine to treat nausea or vomiting;
  • antipsychotic medication; or
  • an oral diabetes medicine.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect aminolevulinic acid, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here. Do not change the dosing schedule of your other medicines without your doctor's advice.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about aminolevulinic acid.

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.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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