Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Breathing: This medication may cause shortness of breath and difficulty breathing in the time between receiving porfimer sodium and laser treatment. Contact your doctor immediately if these symptoms occur.
Chest pain: Some people may experience chest pain while receiving this medication as a result of how this medication works. Let your doctor know if this occurs.
Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, this medication can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). If possible, avoid contact with people with contagious infections. Tell your doctor immediately if you begin to notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells in your blood.
Sun sensitivity: Exposure of the eyes and skin to direct sunlight (or brightly focused indoor light) should be avoided for at least 30 days (and up to 90 days) after receiving porfimer sodium.
- Do not expose your skin to direct sunlight or to bright indoor lights for at least 30 days after injection. People going outdoors within this timeframe should wear protective clothing and dark sunglasses. Check with your doctor about the best sunglasses to use to project your eyes. Regular sunscreens do not protect the skin and eyes from a reaction. Talk to your doctor about how to tell when it is all right to resume your normal routine with respect to sunlight and bright light exposure.
- Do not stay in a darkened room during this period, as normal indoor light helps to break down the medication safely.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Women who may become pregnant should use effective contraception while taking this medication. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if porfimer sodium passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.