May 26, 2017
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Photofrin Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Photofrin

Generic Name: porfimer (Pronunciation: POR fi mer)

What is porfimer (Photofrin)?

Porfimer makes your body's tissues more sensitive to the effects of light.

Porfimer is used together with "photodynamic" laser light therapy to reduce the size of tumors in the lungs or esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth and stomach).

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

What are the possible side effects of porfimer (Photofrin)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
  • cough with yellow or green mucus, stabbing chest pain, feeling short of breath, coughing up mucus or blood;
  • tight feeling in your throat, trouble swallowing;
  • fever, chills;
  • sudden numbness or weakness, problems with vision, speech, or balance;
  • pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs;
  • feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin; or
  • anxiety, sweating, pale skin, severe shortness of breath, wheezing, gasping for breath, cough with foamy mucus, fast or uneven heart rate.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • increased sensitivity of your eyes to light;
  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;
  • constipation;
  • back pain;
  • sleep problems (insomnia); or
  • sore throat, mild cough.

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.

Read the Photofrin (porfimer sodium) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

What is the most important information I should know about porfimer (Photofrin)?

You should not receive this medication if you are allergic to porfimer, or if you have porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).

Before you receive porfimer, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease.

Porfimer may increase the sensitivity of your skin and eyes to sunlight, bright light, or car headlights. Avoid exposing your eyes and skin to natural sunlight and bright indoor lights for 30 to 90 days after you are treated with porfimer.

This medication may cause your eyes to be more sensitive to oncoming headlights while you are driving. Avoid driving at night until this effect wears off.

Side Effects Centers

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


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