Aminolevulinic acid

Active ingredient description

5-Aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) is a natural biochemical precursor of heme that is metabolised in a series of enzymatic reactions to fluorescent porphyrins, particularly PPIX. 5-ALA synthesis is regulated by an intracellular pool of free heme via a negative feedback mechanism. Administration of excess exogenous 5-ALA avoids the negative feedback control, and accumulation of PPIX occurs in target tissue. In the presence of visible light, fluorescence of PPIX (photodynamic effect) in certain target tissues can be used for photodynamic diagnosis.

Medicine classification

This medicinal substance has been classified in the anatomical therapeutic chemical (ATC) classification according to its main therapeutic use as follows:

ATC code
Group title
Aminolevulinic acid
L Antineoplastic and immunomodulating agents → L01 Antineoplastic agents → L01X Other antineoplastic agents → L01XD Sensitizers used in photodynamic/radiation therapy
Discover more medicines within L01XD04


Aminolevulinic acid is the active ingredient of these drugs:


Austria Finland Ireland Netherlands Poland

Austria Estonia Ireland Lithuania Poland


United States

Austria Cyprus Estonia Finland France

Product monographs

Competent medicine agencies globally have authorized commercialization of this active ingredient according to these medication package inserts (MPIs):

Structured Product Labeling (SPL/PLR)
Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC)

Structural formula

Graphic representation of the active ingredient's molecular structure

Molecular mass: 131.13 g/mol

External identifiers

CAS Substance: 106-60-5
CAS Substance: 5451-09-2
DrugBank Drug: DB00855
RxNorm Ingredient: 683
SNOMED-CT Concept: 259496005
5-aminolevulinic acid (substance)
UNII Identifier: 88755TAZ87