- Adult Skin Problems Slideshow
- Quiz: Is Ringworm Contagious?
- Gallery of Skin Problems Pictures
- Patient Comments: Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Phototoxic Drugs
- Patient Comments: Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Foods and Plants
- Sun-sensitizing drugs (photosensitivity) facts
- What is photosensitivity?
- What is the difference between a photoallergic and a phototoxic reaction?
- What is ultraviolet light?
- Photoallergic and phototoxic reaction pictures
- What are the symptoms of sun sensitivity (photosensitivity)?
- Phototoxic drugs
- Photoallergic drugs
- Are there any medical conditions that may cause photosensitivity?
- How is sun sensitivity (photosensitivity) diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a photosensitizing drug reaction?
- Is anyone taking these drugs at risk for developing sunburn?
- Can any foods or plants cause sun sensitivity (photosensitivity) reactions?
- Pictures of food and plant sun-sensitivity (photosensitivity) reactions
- Are there any medical applications of sun sensitivity (photosensitivity)?
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 peeling and sloughing off (desquamation) of the affected skin 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.
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)
Cancer chemotherapy drugs
- 5-fluorouracil (5-FU, Efudex, Carac, Fluoroplex)
- vinblastine (Velban, Velsar)
- dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome)
- amiodarone (Cordarone)
- nifedipine (Procardia)
- quinidine (Quinaglute, Quinidex)
- diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan, Anaprox, Aleve), piroxicam (Feldene)
- photodynamic therapy for skin cancer [ALA or 5-aminolevulinic acid (Levulan), Methyl-5-aminolevulinic acid)
- phenothiazines [chlorpromazine (Thorazine)]
- tricyclic antidepressants [desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil)