Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Phototoxic Drugs

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If you had a sun-sensitive reaction to a drug, what was the medication? What were your symptoms?

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Phototoxic drugs

Common phototoxic drugs include the following:


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


  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

Malaria medications

  • quinine (Quinerva, Quinite, QM-260)
  • chloroquine (Aralen)
  • hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)

Cancer chemotherapy drugs

  • 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)


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

Diabetic drugs

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


  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Anaprox, Aleve), piroxicam (Feldene)

Skin medications

  • photodynamic therapy for skin cancer [ALA or 5-aminolevulinic acid (Levulan), Methyl-5-aminolevulinic acid)

Acne medications

  • isotretinoin (Accutane)
  • acitretin (Soriatane)

Psychiatric drugs

  • phenothiazines [chlorpromazine (Thorazine)]
  • tricyclic antidepressants [desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil)
Return to Sun-Sensitive Drugs (Photosensitivity to Drugs)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Mouse, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 09

I began taking hydrochlorothiazide a little over a month ago. It was soon after that our son came to visit and we went to the Oregon coast. We walked quite a bit there. It was about 80 degrees. I wore a hat. But when we got back to the motel I noticed my face, hands, neck, and eyes were bright red, and burned and itched. My husband and son did not have it. Nothing helped. I continued to have it for the next month. Though it has got a little better it is still red, inflamed and itchy. I then went out a couple of days ago for 15 minutes and within that time I again totally turned red, was itching, and my eyes swelled up. It was in reading this article that I realized that I am highly allergic to the medicine. I do have some other medical allergies, but this is about the worst. I am going to the doctor tomorrow and am asking to be taken off of this medication. I am only taking the 12.5mg. I believe it is not needed. And I can't go on looking like someone has beat me in the face. Thanks for your article, I believe it has really answered my problem.

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Comment from: Girlzoom, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 18

I am taking metoprolol and Norvasc. I am having extreme sun sensitivity. I just recently changed to Norvasc from Cozaar.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


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