Why does my doctor call this treatment
Photopheresis is called other names like photoimmunetherapy or extracorporeal photoimmune therapy orECP. These refer to the same treatment.
Will my health insurance pay for this?
Medicare has approved photopheresis forreimbursement whether you are an inpatient oroutpatient where the treatment is medically necessaryand reasonable. A number of insurance companies mayreimburse for photopheresis treatments. You shouldconsult your insurance company about your coverage.
Please read this brochure carefully before you start toreceive your treatment. This brochure does not tell youeverything about your therapy. If you have anyquestions or are not sure about anything ask yourhealth professional. Keep this brochure, you may wantto read it again.
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Since a little of your blood stays in the tubing, your
doctor will need to watch your blood pressure and
Photopheresis is a medical treatment prescribed by your
doctor. The process separates out some of your white blood
You may be exposed to a small amount of UVADEX
cells (WBCs) from the rest of your blood and exposes them
when the white blood cells are returned to your body.
to ultraviolet light after adding a drug, UVADEX®
This may make you more sensitive to sunlight. If you
(methoxsalen). When exposed to ultraviolet A (UVA)
have any diseases that make you more sensitive to light
light, the drug becomes activated, which then destroys
or you are taking any medicines that make you more
diseased white blood cells. Depending on your medical
sensitive to the sun, discuss this with your doctor. Afew patients have reported low-grade fever, or
condition, this may help your body control the cells that
increased redness of skin 6 to 8 hours after a treatment.
Since this treatment involves blood, are
Photopheresis is done with sterile techniques and the
There are several possible theories on the way
Photopheresis hurts about the same as the needle stick you
only blood you will be exposed to is your own. A new
photopheresis works. One theory is that when the treated
feel when you give blood or have a blood test.
sterile kit is used for each treatment procedure. Your
white cells are returned to the body, the immune system
senses a difference and the body works to eliminate thesecells and others like them. This medicine is always
Your doctor should be aware of your blood counts andblood pressure and determine if you will be able to
administered by a specialized doctor who can best explain
tolerate the temporary removal of some of your blood
The time may vary from patient to patient and sometimesfrom treatment to treatment. It usually takes three hours
Patients who have an allergy to psoralen drugs should
Currently photopheresis is indicated to alleviate skin
problems associated with Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma
(CTCL). In CTCL, a certain kind of T lymphocyte may be
That depends on your medical condition and your
contributing to problems you are experiencing with your
doctor’s assessment. For patients with CTCL, two
For twenty-four hours after a treatment, you should
successive treatments a month are recommended. Your
wear wrap-around sunglasses that provide UVA light
doctor will select a schedule best suited to your needs.
protection. Avoid sunlight for a day and protect anyexposed skin with sun block (at least SPF15), especially
What happens to me during photopheresis?
if you have a history of skin cancer.
Does photopheresis have side effects?
After your doctor prescribes photopheresis, a trainedmedical person inserts a needle or catheter into your vein.
Like all therapies especially those involving medicine,
Some of your blood is then removed, just like when you
photopheresis can cause some unwanted effects. Any
have a blood test or give blood. This blood goes into a
complication that happens from a needle stick can happen
Your doctor has prescribed this treatment because he or
machine that separates the blood cells. Everything is
during photopheresis, such as a small chance of infection.
she hopes there will be a benefit for you. Everyone is
returned to you immediately, except your white blood
Since you will have a small part of your blood volume
different and photopheresis may not work for you.
cells. These are treated with UVADEX and then moved
outside of your body for a short period, you might feel
Clinical trial patient data indicates that about one half
through a light panel so that the UVA light can reach
weak or dizzy during or immediately after the procedure.
the patients studied saw some improvement in their
them. After the light therapy, your white blood cells are
Anything that you experience should be reported to the
skin involvement. It generally takes several treatments
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