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: 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.

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Comment from: jennie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 26

I have been taking omeprazole 20 mg and prednisolone 5 mg for 9 weeks, then began hydroxychloroquine 200 mg for 3 weeks, and then reduced prednisolone to 4 mg. I also took vitamin D. One week later I stood in the bathroom with winter sunlight lighting my face and neck, then burning and redness began where the sun touched, this continued the rest of the day and worsened. Next day (Saturday) I showed it to a local pharmacist and told her it had spread all over my trunk including my genitals and burning worse. She said it wouldn't be the medication as I had been taking them a while (a reaction would be more instant), I didn't need to see a doctor and sold me some antihistamine tablets. Second (Sunday) day everything was more intense and also down my limbs, I saw another pharmacist and she thought it was probably the medication in particular hydroxychloroquine, and that I should see a doctor next day. Monday face, nose and lips swollen, I saw the doctor who said to stop the hydroxychloroquine totally and increase the prednisolone to 20 mg for 5 days then return to 4 mg per day, and if I had more swelling (tongue, etc.) then to seek immediate further help from the doctor or hospital. It is Saturday again, I am improving slowly, swelling, burning, and redness are lessening but still on face, rest of rash fading and now very itchy.

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