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Information about 8-MOP

Brand Name(s): 8-MOP, Oxsoralen-Ultra

Generic Name Methoxsalen

What are methoxsalen capsules?

METHOXSALEN (8-MOP®, Oxsoralen-Ultra®) is a skin pigmenting (coloring) and light sensitizing agent. When combined with the use of ultraviolet (UV) light in a treatment called PUVA, methoxsalen treats vitiligo (a condition where skin color is missing) and psoriasis (red scaly skin patches). Methoxsalen and ultraviolet light also treats skin problems associated with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma or mycosis fungoides; this treatment is called photopheresis. Photopheresis is a process where your white blood cells are separated from the rest of your blood. The white blood cells are exposed the methoxsalen and UV light and then reinfused back into you. Generic methoxsalen capsules are not yet available. Do not change the brand of your capsules unless told to by your prescriber or health care professional.

What should my health care professional know before I take methoxsalen?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • absence of the lens in the eye (aphakia)
  • albinism
  • cataracts
  • heart disease
  • liver disease
  • porphyria
  • history of radiation therapy
  • skin cancer
  • skin photosensitivity problems
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to methoxsalen, tartrazine dye, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take methoxsalen capsules by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the capsules with a drink of water. If methoxsalen upsets your stomach you can take it with low-fat food or milk. Another way to reduce stomach upset or nausea is to divide your dose into two doses and take them 30 minutes apart. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, tell your prescriber or health care professional so that your light treatment can be rescheduled. For the treatment to be successful light treatment must be done at the appropriate time after you take your medicine.

What drug(s) may interact with methoxsalen?

Methoxsalen will make you sensitive to the sun. This effect may be increased by other medicines that also cause sensitivity to the sun such as:

  • griseofulvin
  • medicines for infections including sulfa or tetracycline antibiotics
  • medicines for mental problems or psychotic disturbances
  • some types of water pills (diuretics)
  • vitamin A and vitamin A-like medicines and creams (examples: Accutane®, Solage®, Retin-A®, or Differin®)
  • vitamin E

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking methoxsalen?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • burning, blistering, or swelling of the skin
  • changes in vision
  • depression
  • skin rash
  • unusual tiredness

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • increased sensitivity to the sun and skin irritation
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dizziness
  • generalized itching, dry skin
  • headache
  • leg cramps
  • nausea, vomiting

What should I watch for while taking methoxsalen?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Methoxsalen and PUVA can increase your risk of getting skin cancer. Show your prescriber or health care professional any unusual sores or blemishes that develop. If your skin gets very dry, ask your prescriber or health care professional before you use any skin cream or lotion. Visit your ophthalmologist regularly for a check up and report any changes in your vision.

Methoxsalen can increase sensitivity of the skin to sun or UV light which could lead to a serious burn. Keep out of the sun for at least 24 hours before and 48 hours after PUVA. Keep out of the sun for 8 hours after taking methoxsalen capsules; if you must be outside wear protective clothing and use a sunscreen (at least SPF 15). Do not apply sunscreen to areas of psorisis until after light therapy. Do not use sun lamps or sun tanning beds or booths. Certain foods can increase your sensitivity to sunlight while taking methoxsalen. Avoid eating limes, figs, parsley, parsnips, mustard, carrots, and celery while using methoxsalen.

Wear wrap-around sunglasses that block all ultraviolet light for 24 hours after you have taken a dose of methoxsalen to protect your eyes from cataract formation.

You can get permanent premature aging of the skin if you take methoxsalen for a long time. This effect is similar to the result of too much sunbathing.

Recent treatment with radiation therapy or cancer medicines increases the chance of developing side effects from combined light treatment and methoxsalen.

Do not switch between hard- and soft-gelatin capsules of methoxsalen. This may change the timing of light therapy.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Protect from light. Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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