What is this medication for?
Verteporfin belongs to the class of medications called photosensitizing agents. It is used to treat "wet" age-related macular degeneration (AMD), pathologic myopia (a severe form of nearsightedness), and presumed ocular histoplasmosis (a fungal infection of the eye).
In these conditions, vision loss occurs when damage in the macula (centre of the retina) is caused by choroidal neovascularization (CNV), which is an ingrowth of abnormal blood vessels. These blood vessels leak blood and fluids to cause scarring. Verteporfin is used to treat the predominantly classic form of CNV, where the leakage occurs rapidly. When activated by light, verteporfin works to destroy the abnormal blood vessels growing in the macula.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Visudyne® is available as:
Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended dose is based on body surface area and will be determined by the doctor. This medication is given by a health care professional. Verteporfin is injected by intravenous (into a vein) infusion, where the medication is given over a 10-minute period, usually in the arm. After a few minutes, the doctor shines a light (laser) on the eye, where the medication has traveled to the abnormal blood vessels in the eye. This light activates verteporfin to start working.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are receiving the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important this medication be given exactly as recommended by your doctor. If you miss an appointment to receive verteporfin, contact your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.
This medication is stored at room temperature.
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Who should NOT take this medication?
Verteporfin should not be used by anyone who:
- is allergic to verteporfin or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- has porphyria