Sun-Sensitive Drugs (Photosensitivity to Drugs)

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Pictures of food and plant sun-sensitivity (photosensitivity) reactions

Picture of phytophotodermatitis hyperpigmentation
Picture of phytophotodermatitis hyperpigmentation
Picture of photodermatitis
Picture of photodermatitis
Picture of photodermatitis with blisters
Picture of photodermatitis with blisters

Are there any medical applications of sun sensitivity (photosensitivity)?

Photodynamic therapy utilizes the concept of sun or light sensitivity to treat some skin conditions including skin pre-cancers (actinic keratosis), skin cancers, and acne. Briefly, this treatment takes advantage of activating a photosensitizing drug (such as 5-aminolevulinic acid) by shining light directly onto it for a short time. The drug is first applied to the area of the skin where the cancer or pre-cancer is found. With light-induced activation of the drug, the abnormal cells (cancer or pre-cancer) are destroyed preferentially.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCES:

Arndt, K. et al. Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery: An integrated program in dermatology. N Engl J Med 1996; 335:826 September 12, 1996

MedscapeReference.com. Porphyria Cutanea Tarda.

New England Journal of Medicine 2004;350:1111-1117. Photosensitivity by Morrison, MD.

Previous contributing author: Siamak T. Nabili, MD, MPH

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/10/2016

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