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Lasers Med Sci. 2002;17(3):208-15.

Development of a stable solution of 5-aminolaevulinic acid for intracutaneous injection in photodynamic therapy.

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Catharina Hospital, Department of Pharmaceutical Services, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.


Photodynamic therapy using 5-aminolaevulinic acid (ALA) as a photosensitiser is a new treatment modality for basal cell carcinomas. Until now ALA has been used topically as a cream. As this administration route leads sometimes to insufficient penetration in the skin, an intracutaneously injectable solution of ALA was developed. The influence of pH, concentration and temperature on the degradation of ALA in aqueous solution was investigated in order to optimise the formulation of the injection. In 0.1% ALA solutions with pH values between 4 and 8 a pH dependency of ALA degradation was shown, comprising fast decomposition at pH values higher than 7, whereas at a pH value of 6 or lower the solutions remained within the range of 90-110% of the initial concentration for at least 128 days. An increase of degradation rate with increasing concentrations became evident which is consistent with the supposed second-order degradation kinetics. After accelerated stability research at 63 degrees C and 85 degrees C a shelf life of 281 days for a 0.1% ALA solution pH 5 was calculated from an Arrhenius plot. A 2% ALA solution was proven to be isotonic. From our results a 0.1-2% ALA solution with pH 5 and an appropriate amount of sodium chloride to obtain isotonicity is recommended as an injectable solution.

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