font size

Sun-Sensitive Drugs (Photosensitivity to Drugs) (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What are the symptoms of sun sensitivity (photosensitivity)?

Symptoms of phototoxic reaction

Individuals with phototoxic reactions may initially complain of a burning and stinging sensation. Then the redness typically occurs within 24 hours of the exposure to sun in the exposed areas of the body such as the forehead, nose, hands, arms, and lips. In severe cases, the sun protected areas of skin may be also be involved.

The range of skin damage may vary from mild redness to swelling to blister formation (bullae) in more severe cases. The rash from this photosensitivity reaction usually resolves with sloughing off (desquamation) of the affected area within several days.

Symptoms of photoallergic reactions

Individuals with photoallergic reactions may initially complain of itching (pruritus). This is then followed by redness and possibly swelling and eruption of the involved area. Because this is considered an allergic reaction, there may be no symptoms for many days when the drug is taken for the first time. Subsequent exposure to the drug and the sun may cause a more rapid response in 1-2 days.

Hyperpigmentation after reaction

Hyperpigmentation (darkening) of the affected area of the skin may develop after the resolution of a phototoxicity reaction, but it is rare in a photoallergic reaction. In phototoxic reactions, high doses of the drug and long exposures to light may be required to cause the reaction.

Phototoxic drugs

Common phototoxic drugs include the following:

Antibiotics

  • quinolones [for example, ciprofloxacin (Cipro, Cipro XR, Proquin XR), levofloxacin (Levaquin)]
  • tetracyclines [for example, tetracycline (Achromycin), doxycycline (Vibramycin, Oracea, Adoxa, Atridox and others)]
  • sulfonamides [for example, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim; cotrimoxazole (Bactrim, Septra), sulfamethoxazole (Gantanol)]

Antihistamines

  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

Malaria medications

  • quinine (Quinerva, Quinite, QM-260)
  • chloroquine (Aralen)
  • hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • 5-fluorouracil (5-FU, Efudex, Carac, Fluoroplex)
  • vinblastine (Velban, Velsar)
  • dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome)

Cardiac drugs

  • amiodarone (Cordarone)
  • nifedipine (Procardia)
  • quinidine (Quinaglute, Quinidex)
  • diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac)

Diuretics

  • furosemide (Lasix)
  • thiazides [hydrochlorothiazide (Hydrodiuril)

Diabetic drugs

  • sulfonylureas [chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glyburide (Micronase, DiaBeta, Glynase)]

Painkillers

  • Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs [naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Anaprox, Aleve), piroxicam (Feldene)

Skin medications

Acne medications

  • isotretinoin (Accutane)
  • acitretin (Soriatane)

Psychiatric drugs

  • phenothiazines [chlorpromazine (Thorazine)]
  • tricyclic antidepressants [desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/5/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Medication Types Question: If you had a sun-sensitive reaction to a drug, what was the medication? What were your symptoms?
Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Symptoms Question: Describe your reaction or symptoms to a sun-sensitive medication. When did symptoms appear?
Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Treatment Question: What types of treatment, including other medications, did you receive after experiencing a sun-sensitive drug reaction?
Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Foods and Plants Question: Do certain vegetables, fruits, or plants cause you to have a photosensitivity reaction? Discuss your experience.
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/sun-sensitive_drugs_photosensitivity_to_drugs/article.htm

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations