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June 2002

Using Intravenous Diphenhydramine to Minimize Back Pain Associated With Photodynamic Therapy With Verteporfin

Arch Ophthalmol. 2002;120(6):872. doi:10.1001/archopht.120.6.872

The treatment of age-related macular degeneration with photodynamic therapy using verteporfin (Visudyne; Novartis AG, Basel, Switzerland) has become a recognized, approved therapy for predominantly classic subfoveal choroidal neovascularization. Back pain is an uncomfortable, uncommon (2.2% of patients) adverse effect encountered during intravenous administration of verteporfin.1 The cause of the pain is unknown, but it usually involves the lower back, begins within a few minutes of starting verteporfin infusion, and subsides 5 to 10 minutes after dye infusion is stopped. The back pain can be severe and occasionally requires early termination of the infusion and sometimes termination of the procedure if less than half the dye is infused.

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