methoxsalen (8-MOP, Oxsoralen Ultra)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is methoxsalen-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

  • Methoxsalen is a naturally occurring photoactive chemical found in the seeds of the Ammi majus (Umbelliferae) plant and in the roots of Heraclem candicans. It belongs to a group of compounds known as psoralens, or furocoumarins. It is used for treating psoriasis, idiopathic vitiligo (leucoderma) and cutaneous (skin) manifestations of T-cell lymphoma. The exact mechanism of action of methoxsalen is not known.
  • Methoxsalen has several biological actions that may be responsible for its medical effects. Ultraviolet radiation of 320-400 nm wavelength (UVA) is beneficial for treating psoriasis, vitiligo, and skin manifestations of T-cell lymphoma. Methoxsalen is a photosensitizer that increases the reaction of the skin to UVA. Methoxsalen also combines with DNA in skin cells. Upon administration, methoxsalen reaches the skin via blood. When UVA penetrates the skin, cellular damage occurs, leading to inflammation. The damaged skin heals after several days to weeks.
  • Some experts suggest that methoxsalen improves vitiligo by stimulating melanocytes (melanin forming skin cells) to move up the hair follicle and to repopulate the epidermis. Psoriasis causes an over production of skin cells. Methoxsalen may benefit psoriasis by decreasing skin cell production by damaging DNA.
  • The FDA approved methoxsalen capsules in December 1954.

What brand names are available for methoxsalen-oral?

8-MOP, Oxsoralen Ultra

Is methoxsalen-oral available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for methoxsalen-oral?


What are the uses for methoxsalen-oral?

  • Oral methoxsalen combined with UVA (ultraviolet A) radiation is used as photochemotherapy for the treatment of severe, disabling psoriasis that is difficult to treat and is unresponsive to other treatments.
  • It also is used for treating idiopathic vitiligo (leucoderma) and cutaneous (skin) manifestations of T-cell lymphoma.

What are the side effects of methoxsalen-oral?

Common side effects include:

Other side effects include:

Possible serious side effects include:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/23/2016

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