Levulan Kerastick Cost

Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 21, 2018

The photosensitizer Levulan Kerastick (20% delta-aminolevulinic acid HCl) is an in-office photodynamic therapy that is able to provide a high clearance with low downtime for appropriate actinic keratosis patients, according to DUSA Pharmaceuticals and is commonly used with the BLU-U® Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy Illuminator (Levulan PDT) at your doctor’s office.  It can also be used for off-label purposes to help treat mild to moderate acne.

By combining the Levulan Kerastick with a light source such as the BLU-U system, this type of photodynamic therapy is able to target specific skin cells, all while leaving the surrounding tissue unharmed.

How much does Levulan Kerastick cost?

The Levulan Kerastick, usually combined with the BLU-U® Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy Illuminator, is an FDA-approved treatment for actinic keratoses and sometimes can be used for off-label purposes for acne, according to Steven Hacker, MD.  These costs, when usually combined with the BLU-U® treatments, can range anywhere from as little as $35 to more than $250 per session, plus the office examination fee, all depending on how the therapy is performed, whether the BLU-U was used alone, for example, or in conjunction with Levulan.

As a package, which is often required, the totals can reach well into the $2,000 to $4,000 range, but this will greatly depend on the severity of the condition being treated, the geographical region and the doctor you hire.  This is the price without any health insurance coverage.

For example, on this Realself.com Q&A thread with multiple doctors, one doctor, Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD, said his office would charge $210 for a session, which would include the Kerastick and the BLU-U.  However, if you wanted the Blu-U only, then you could subtract $100.  In this same thread, another doctor, Keith A. Lopatka, MD, said the cosmetic treatments can cost anywhere from $30 to $250, all depending on what’s being used during the treatment.

As for health insurance coverage, it did appear that most policies would cover the procedure only if you were being treated for a treatment of actinic keratoses on the head and/or neck.  If you’re using it for any other purposes, then there’s a good chance your health insurance provider will not cover the procedure.  To know for certain if your policy will cover the procedure since there are hundreds of policies on the market, we strongly encourage you to call your insurance company to know your policy’s restrictions.

The procedure

Photodynamic therapy, involving the Levulan Kerastick, is usually a two-step process, according to Docshop.com.  The first step involves applying the Levulan Kerastick photosensitizing solution to the targeted area, followed by the exposure to the light source, which is often the BLU-U system.  The purpose of the Levulan Kerastick is to make sure the skin is more sensitive to the light and is compromised of an aminolevulinic acid, which is a naturally occurring substance in the body.

Usually, the solution is applied in one session and will be asked to come in the following day for the light therapy session.  However, as per DocShop, if used for acne, then Levulan is usually done in one day as the solution will be left on the skin for up to 60 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of light exposure.

After the procedure completes, your skin will be extremely sensitive to light and your doctor will recommend avoiding any sunlight UV rays for at least 48 hours.

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