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.
Liver function: Verteporfin may not clear from the body at the expected rate in cases where the liver is not working properly. This increases the risk of experiencing side effects.
If you have moderate liver dysfunction, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Photosensitivity: Verteporfin can make you more sensitive to light. Avoid exposure of skin or eyes to direct sunlight or bright indoor light for 2 days after receiving verteporfin. This includes tanning salons, bright halogen lighting, high power lighting (such as those used in dental offices), and light-emitting medical devices.
Exposure to light can cause pain, inflammation, swelling, or discoloration at the injection site. Some people may also develop a rash. If you are going outside, wear protective clothing and dark sunglasses. Sunscreens with ultraviolet protection will not protect against this type of light sensitivity. You may be given a wristband to remind yourself and others that you are light sensitive.
You should not stay in the dark; in fact, you should expose your skin to ambient indoor lighting, since this will help inactivate the medication in the skin through a process called photo bleaching.
Surgery: Bright lights such as those used in operating rooms and dentist's offices can activate verteporfin. If you are scheduled for surgery or have a dental appointment soon after a treatment with verteporfin, let your doctor or dentist know that you have received this medication.
Vision: You may experience temporary changes in vision that may affect your ability to drive or use machines. Do not perform these tasks until you determine you can do them safely without any impaired vision. Verteporfin can also make eyes more sensitive to light (see "Photosensitivity" above).
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking verteporfin, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding. You should stop breast-feeding for 96 hours (4 days) after receiving verteporfin.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.