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Side Effects of Aminolevulinic Acid

Side Effects of Aminolevulinic Acid Side Effects of Aminolevulinic Acid


Aminolevulinic acid is a compound comprised of several amino acids including L-glycine. Your body produces it naturally from alpha-linoleic acid. Plants also produce aminolevulinic acid, an important step in the production of chlorophyll. Applied topically to the skin, aminolevulinic acid may be useful in treating skin diseases including skin cancer, as well as other types of cancer, according to "The Merck Index: An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals." Some side effects from aminolevulinic acid are common and can be serious. Consult your physician before using aminolevulinic acid.

Skin Effects

Aminolevulinic acid is a topical cream and can cause irritation of the skin. Some users report tingling, stinging, prickling, or burning in the area of the skin treated with aminolevulinic acid. These symptoms usually last for less than 24 hours, while more long-term side effects of the skin may include redness, swelling, and scaling of your skin, which may last several weeks. In severe cases, aminolevulinic acid treatment may cause bleeding, blistering and pus formation.

Internal Effects

Once applied to your skin, aminolevulinic acid is absorbed by your body and can enter your bloodstream, which may affect the internal functioning of the organs and cells. One of the possible effects of aminolevulinic acid in your bloodstream is that it may affect blood flow by stimulating your blood vessels to dilate, called vasodilation. This may cause a decrease in blood pressure, which can lead to fatigue, dizziness and mental confusion.

Interactions with Medications

You should not take aminolevulinic acid if you are using medication to treat hypertension, or other medications to lower blood pressure, as it can further lower blood pressure to potentially dangerous levels. Aminolevulinic acid topical use may also interact with diabetes medication, such as synthetic insulin treatments, making it more difficult to regulate blood sugar levels if you suffer from diabetes. You should not use aminolevulinic acid in conjunction with any other skin care products, as that may increase the risk of developing side effects.

Allergic Reaction

Although rare, allergic reactions to aminolevulinic acid can constitute a medical emergency. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to aminolevulinic acid include the appearance of hives, swelling of your neck and throat, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, sweating, and body swelling. If you experience a severe allergic reaction, your throat may close completely, cutting your body off from oxygen, which can lead to heart attack, stroke or death. If you begin to experience any of these effects after using aminolevulinic acid, seek medical attention immediately.

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