Levulan Kerastick (aminolevulinic acid HCI) topical solution 20%
for treatment of Actinic Keratoses
BLU-U® Blue Light Treatments for Moderate Acne
Levulan PDT system
The Levulan PDI system is an advanced 2-step treatment for minimally to moderately thick AKs (AKs that have not yet become enlarged and thick) of the face or scalp. The system is unique because it's the only one that uses light to destroy AKs.
How does the Levulan PDT system work?
Step 1. The first step in the Levulan PDT system is when your dermatologist applies Levulan® Kerastick® (aninolevulinic acid HCI) Topical Solution, 20% to individual AKs on your skin. This unique solution is an acid that occurs naturally in your body; it makes the AKs more sensitive to light. This application prepares them for step 2 in the Levulan treatment.
Step 2. After waiting an hour in the dermatologist's office, the.AK's are exposed to a special blue light. This light then destroys these AKs, whether they are precancerous or not.
How effective is it?
The LevuIan® PDT system has been proven effective in clinical testing. Eight weeks after treatment, it had cleared 100% of AKs in about 2/3 patients. The system more effectively cleared AKs of the face than those or the scalp. Clinical studies did not examine what happened to completely cleared AKs more than 12 weeks after treatment.
What will I experience during treatment?
During step 2 (the blue light therapy), at least half of the patients in the clinical studies felt a stinging and/or burning in the treated areas. Usually, this improved immediately after treatment and ended within 24 hours. (Less than 3% of patients discontinued therapy because of this discomfort.) After treatment, a small number of patients experienced some temporary reddening and swelling of the AKs and surrounding skin, which generally was completely gone by 4 weeks after treatment.
Are there any precautions I should take during the treatment?
Because step 1 makes the treated areas more sensitive to light, it is important that you avoid bright light during the 14 to 18 hours between step 1 and step 2. Sunscreens will not protect these treated areas. Stay out of sunlight or bright indoor light, and wear light-protecting clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat.
What are Actinic keratoses?
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are rough, scaly patches on the skin, caused by excessive exposure to the sun, that can sometimes progress into dangerous skin cancers. More than 5 million Americans live with these lesions, and far too many people ignore them, leaving them untreated. This can have serious consequences. Doctors estimate that 40% of squamous cell carcinomas, the second leading cause of skin cancer deaths in the United States, begin as AKs. And without performing a skin biopsy, it can be almost impossible for a doctor to distinguish an AK from a squamous cell carcinoma.
How do AKs become squamous cell carcinomas?
AKs sometimes can become larger and thicker. Doctors call this "hyperkeratotic." These enlarged lesions may then progress to squamous cell carcinomas. Patients may notice increased redness, tenderness, itching, and burning. However, these symptoms can be the same for either AKs or squamous cell carcinomas. This is what makes distinguishing between the two so difficult without a biopsy. Left untreated, squamous cell carcinomas may become larger, go deeper into the skin, and eventually spread to other parts of the body. This results in thousands of skin cancer deaths each year, many of which could be prevented.
How likely are AKs to become squamous cell carcinomas?
It is impossible to predict if an AK will evolve into a squamous cell carcinoma, or at which point it will happen. Many doctors believe that AKs and squamous‘s cell carcinomas are really the same condition at different stages of a continuing process. This process begins with minor cell damage and, over time, ultimately results in the cell becoming cancerous. These doctors believe that AKs occur in the early stages of the process; squamous cell carcinomas occur in the final stage. One thing, however, is certain: a significant percentage of AKs develop into squamous cell carcinomas. Estimates range from 10% to as high as 20% over a 10-year period.
Is there anything I can do to prevent AKs in the future?
Long-term exposure to the sun is the single most significant cause of AKs, so the best defense against them is a comprehensive sun protection program. This includes wearing protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, avoiding the sun at midday when ultraviolet rays are strongest, staying in the shade as much as possible, and wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
What is acne, and why is it so hard to control?
There are many types of acne. The most common is called acne vulgaris. Almost everyone goes through a period of acne at one time or another. Just beneath the surface of the skin lie hundreds of tiny glands called sebaceous glands. Their function is to collect and excrete the oily substance called sebum, to keep the skin healthy. However, the tiny pathway for the sebum to escape often becomes clogged, and a bacterium called p. acnes grows inside. In a short time, the area swells up, and forms a pimple on the skin. At certain times of life, this process becomes very active, troublesome and hard to control.
Is there a new way to control moderate acne?
There are many treatments for moderate acne - creams, washes, medications - mild ones and very strong ones. However, your doctor may decide that certain medications, such as antibiotics, aren't right for you. Your case of moderate acne may not be responding to medications or other conventional treatments. It may be hard for you to keep up with complicated routines of skin care. Maybe it's time to consider something new.
What's the Blue Light Treatment & How does it work?
There is now a new treatment available that doesn't depend on medication. It's called the BLU-U Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy Illuminator Model 4170. The BLU-U is a very special blue light that can kill the p. acnes bacteria in your skin. Treatments are simple - you simply sit with your face close to the light for a short time at a schedule set up by your doctor, usually a 15-minute session about once or twice per week. The treatments may go on for five weeks or so. It's very safe, it's not hot, it's not painful at all. After some weeks, the blue light can control your acne, or clear it up for a very long period. The BLU-U was cleared by the FDA in 2003 for the treatment of moderate inflammatory acne vulgaris.