Penn State Hershey Medical Center home Penn State Hershey Medical Center home Penn State Hershey: Patient Care home Penn State Hershey: Education home Penn State Hershey: Research home Penn State Hershey: Community home
Penn State Hershey Health Information Library
  Library Home
  Find A Physician
  Find A Practice
  Request An Appointment
  Search Clinical Studies
  Classes and Support Groups
  Ask A Health Librarian
  Subscribe to eNewsletters

Penn State Hershey Health Information Centers
  Bone and Joint

        Follow Us

Aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride (On the skin)

Aminolevulinic Acid Hydrochloride (a-mee-noe-lev-ue-LIN-ik AS-id hye-droe-KLOR-ide)

Treats wart-like lesions (actinic keratoses).

Brand Name(s):

Ameluz, Levulan Kerastick

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. You should not receive it if you had an allergic reaction to aminolevulinic acid, porphyrins, or soybean phosphatidylcholine, or if you have porphyria or skin that is sensitive to sunlight.

How to Use This Medicine:

Gel/Jelly, Liquid, Stick

  • You will receive this medicine in a clinic or doctor's office.
  • A nurse or other trained health professional will apply the medicine. The next day, or several hours later, you will be treated with a blue or red light.
  • This medicine is applied on your lesions or on the skin around the lesions. Do not get any of it into your eyes, nose, or mouth. Rinse it off right away if it does get on these areas.
  • After treatment with this medicine, stay out of the sun or bright light as much as possible. Wear protective clothing when you go outside.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines can affect how aminolevulinic acid works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • St. John's wort
    • Diuretic (water pill)
    • Medicine to treat infection (including ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, griseofulvin, levofloxacin, minocycline, moxifloxacin, tetracyclines, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole)
    • Oral diabetes medicine (including glimepiride, glipizide, glyburide)
    • Phenothiazine medicine (including chlorpromazine, prochlorperazine, promethazine)
    • Sulfa drugs

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have bleeding or blood clotting problems.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Temporary memory loss
    • Changes in vision
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Wear sunscreen. Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Bleeding, blistering, or oozing of treated areas
  • Blurred vision, changes in vision, increased sensitivity of the eyes to sunlight
  • Problems with memory
  • Swelling of the eyelids

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Changes in color of treated skin
  • Flaking, pain, peeling, itching rash, breaking down of the skin
  • Stinging, burning, redness, tingling, or itching skin

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

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

Last Updated: 5/1/2020

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.

All rights reserved

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and chrome browser.