Chemical Photosensitivity

Photosensitivity is an enhanced skin response, like an exaggerated sunburn reaction, from the combined effect of a light source and a chemical agent. There are many medications and topical agents that can cause photosensitivity.

A list by class of medication is presented below with examples of the chemicals involved in causing enhanced UV photosensitivity. The references for this list follows the table. If you have any questions about the photosensitivity of your medications or topical solutions, consult your doctor or a pharmacist.

  ANTIBACTERIALS TRANQUILIZERS
  Tetracyclines Phenothiazines
  Sulfonamides  
     
  ANTIDEPRESSANTS DIURETICS
  Clomipramine Furosemide
    Metolazone
     
  ANTIHISTAMINES ANTI-INFLAMMATORY (NSAID)
  Diphenhydramine Ibuprofen
    Naproxen
     
  ANTIARRYTHMICS SUNSCREEN
  Amiodarone PABA
  Quinidine  
     
  ANTIMALARIC/ANTIPARASITIC COSMETICS
  Bithionol Bergamot Oil
  Quinine  
     
  ANTIPSYCHOTICS HYPOGLYCAEMICS
  Chlorprothixene Acetohexamide
  Haloperidol Chlorpropamide
     
  CYTOTOXIC OTHERS
  Fluorouracil Psoralens (in plants)
    Coal Tar

References

[1] D.E. Moore , “Drug-Induced Cutaneous Photosensitivity: Incidence, Mechanism, Prevention and Management”, Drug Safety. vol. 25, pp.345-372, 2002. doi: 10.2165/00002018-200225050-00004

[2] International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, “ICNIRP Statement on protection of workers against ultraviolet radiation”, Health Phys. vol. 99, pp.66-87, 2010. doi:10.1097/HP.0b013e3181d85908

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