Metvix®/ Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
What is Metvix®?
Metvix® is a drug that has been approved by Health Canada and used to selectively treat Basal Cell Carcinoma, one of the most commonly occurring types of skin cancer, and Actinic Keratosis. A/K’s are areas of sun damage which, if left untreated, can progress into skin cancer. Metvix® is an in-office treatment; the skin is prepped, the Metvix® cream is applied to the affected area, and then incubated (left on) for 2.5-3 hours. Metvix® is selectively taken up by cancer cells and premalignant cells, which are in turn destroyed after the light application.
How is Metvix® different than other available treatments?
Photodynamic therapy with Metvix® should be a part of a comprehensive treatment plan to deal with Actinic Keratosis or sun damage. Ideally, it should be used to treat sun damage involving larger areas. The advantage of Metvix® is that excellent clearance rates can be achieved without scarring or pigment changes and has a much shorter recovery time compared to other available treatments. Left untreated, Actinic Keratosis can progress in to Squamous Cell Carcinoma, another of the most commonly occurring types of skin cancer, and often, by treating a sun damaged field, this progression can be prevented. Healing time for another common topical treatment with topical medication can require between 3-4 weeks of visible downtime; equivalent treatment with Metvix® is 1 week with less redness and discomfort.
How many treatments are needed?
Depending on the skin condition and severity, generally 1-2 treatments are required. Clients are required to avoid direct sun exposure to the treated area for 48 hours post-treatment.
Is the Metvix® treatment covered by insurance plans
Metvix® treatments are more often than not partially covered by third-party insurance and drug plans.
Why is it important to treat these skin conditions?
It is important to treat an entire field of sun damage because of the selective nature of Metvix®, which will treat cellular sun damage that may not be clinically apparent or visible.