Drugs That May Cause Photosensitivity

The Sun and Skin Cancer

Causes of Photosensitivity

Photosensitivity may be defined as sensitivity of the skin to a light source. And people with particular skin types tend to be more sensitive to this occurring. Photosensitivity can occur due to a number of reasons:

  • Medications. Certain ones may make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. These include most of the tetracycline antibiotics, birth control pills, antihistamines, antidepressants and many retinoids (such as Vitamin A derivatives) – see a more exhaustive list below.
  • Medical Conditions. Some medicals conditions lead to increased light sensitivity. Individuals with systemic lupus erythematosus experience skin symptoms after sunlight exposure and some types of porphyria are aggravated by sunlight.
  • Skin Cancer. The development of skin cancer is linked to excessive sunlight exposure, and the rare hereditary condition xeroderma pigmentosum (a defect in DNA repair) can accelerate this risk.

Photosensitivity may be referred to as “photoallergy” or “sunlight allergy”, even though an actual allergy is not associated with the condition.

Four-hundred drugs are known to cause lightsensitive and photo-allergic reactions. If you’re not sure whether any of your medications are likely to cause photosensitivity, you can check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Minimizing Photosensitivity

The use of a well formulated broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays is important in managing photosensitivity. Whether you opt for a chemical blocking formulation as with Anthelios sunscreens or a physical blocking one that contains zinc oxide, like Apothekari Shade SPF 30,  daily sunscreen use is a must if you are taking any photosensitizing medications.

Common Photosensitizing Medications

Here is a list of the more common photosensitizing medications, listed by generic name.

ACAMPROSATE ACETAMINOPHEN
ACETAZOLAMIDE ACETOHEXAMIDE
ACYCLOVIR ALDESLEUKIN
ALITRETINOIN ALLOPURINOL
ALMOTRIPTAN ALPRAZOLAM
AMANTADINE AMILORIDE
AMINOLEVULINIC ACID AMINOSALICYLATE SODIUM
AMIODARONE AMITRIPTYLINE
AMOBARBITAL AMOXAPINE
ANAGRELIDE ANTHRAX VACCINE
ARSENIC ATAZANAVIR
ATENOLOL ATORVASTATIN
ATROPINE SULFATE AZATADINE
AZATHIOPRINE AZITHROMYCIN
BENAZEPRIL BENDROFLUMETHIAZIDE
BENZTHIAZIDE BENZTROPINE
BERGAMOT BETAXOLOL
BEXAROTENE BIMATOPROST
BISOPROLOL BROMPHENIRAMINE
BUMETANIDE BUPROPION
BUTABARBITAL BUTALBITAL
CAPECITABINE CAPTOPRIL
CARBAMAZEPINE CARISOPRODOL
CARTEOLOL CARVEDILOL
CEFAZOLIN CEFTAZIDIME
CELECOXIB CETIRIZINE
CEVIMELINE CHLORAMBUCIL
CHLORDIAZEPOXIDE CHLORHEXIDINE
CHLOROQUINE CHLOROTHIAZIDE
CHLOROTRIANISENE CHLORPHENIRAMINE
CHLORPROMAZINE CHLORPROPAMIDE
CHLORTETRACYCLINE CHLORTHALIDONE
CINOXACIN CIPROFLOXACIN
CITALOPRAM CLEMASTINE
CLOFAZIMINE CLOFIBRATE
CLOMIPRAMINE CLOPIDOGREL
CLORAZEPATE CLOZAPINE
CO-TRIMOXAZOLE COLCHICINE
CORTICOSTEROIDS CROMOLYN
CYCLAMATE CYCLOBENZAPRINE
CYCLOTHIAZIDE CYPROHEPTADINE
DACARBAZINE DANAZOL
DANTROLENE DAPSONE
DEMECLOCYCLINE DESIPRAMINE
DEXCHLORPHENIRAMINE DIAZOXIDE
DICLOFENAC DIFLUNISAL
DILTIAZEM DIMENHYDRINATE
DIPHENHYDRAMINE DISOPYRAMIDE
DOCETAXEL DONG QUAI
DOXEPIN DOXYCYCLINE
DULOXETINE EFAVIRENZ
ENALAPRIL ENOXACIN
EPIRUBICIN EPOETIN ALFA
ESOMEPRAZOLE ESTAZOLAM
ESTROGENS ETHACRYNIC ACID
ETHAMBUTOL ETHIONAMIDE
ETODOLAC FELBAMATE
FENOFIBRATE FLOXURIDINE
FLUCYTOSINE FLUOROURACIL
FLUOXETINE FLUPHENAZINE
FLURBIPROFEN FLUTAMIDE
FLUVASTATIN FLUVOXAMINE
FOSINOPRIL FURAZOLIDONE
FUROSEMIDE GANCICLOVIR
GATIFLOXACIN GEMIFLOXACIN
GENTAMICIN GLATIRAMER
GLIMEPIRIDE GLIPIZIDE
GLYBURIDE GLYCOPYRROLATE
GOLD And GOLD COMPOUNDS GOLDENSEAL
GREPAFLOXACIN GRISEOFULVIN
HALOPERIDOL HENNA
HEROIN HYDRALAZINE
HYDROCHLOROTHIAZIDE HYDROFLUMETHIAZIDE
HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE HYDROXYUREA
HYDROXYZINE HYOSCYAMINE
IBUPROFEN IMATINIB
IMIPRAMINE INDAPAMIDE
INDOMETHACIN INFLIXIMAB
INTERFERON BETA 1-A INTERFERON BETA-1B
INTERFERONS, ALFA-2 IRINOTECAN
ISOCARBOXAZID ISONIAZID
ISOTRETINOIN ITRACONAZOLE
KANAMYCIN KAVA
KETOCONAZOLE KETOPROFEN
KETOTIFEN LAMOTRIGINE
LEUPROLIDE LEVOFLOXACIN
LINCOMYCIN LISINOPRIL
LOMEFLOXACIN LORATADINE
LOSARTAN LOXAPINE
MAPROTILINE MECLIZINE
MECLOFENAMATE MEDROXYPROGESTERONE
MEFENAMIC ACID MELATONIN
MELOXICAM MEPROBAMATE
MERCAPTOPURINE MESALAMINE
MESORIDAZINE METFORMIN
METHAZOLAMIDE METHENAMINE
METHOTREXATE METHOXSALEN
METHYCLOTHIAZIDE METHYLDOPA
METHYLPHENIDATE METOLAZONE
MINOCYCLINE MIRTAZAPINE
MITOMYCIN MOEXIPRIL
MOLINDONE MOXIFLOXACIN
NABUMETONE NALIDIXIC ACID
NAPROXEN NAPROXEN
NARATRIPTAN NEFAZODONE
NIFEDIPINE NISOLDIPINE
NITROFURANTOIN NORFLOXACIN
NORTRIPTYLINE OFLOXACIN
OLANZAPINE ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES
OXAPROZIN OXCARBAZEPINE
OXYTETRACYCLINE PACLITAXEL
PANTOPRAZOLE PAROXETINE
PENTOBARBITAL PENTOSAN
PENTOSTATIN PERPHENAZINE
PHENELZINE PHENINDAMINE
PHENOBARBITAL PILOCARPINE
PIMOZIDE PIROXICAM
POLYTHIAZIDE PRAVASTATIN
PROCARBAZINE PROCHLORPERAZINE
PROCYCLIDINE PROMAZINE
PROMETHAZINE PROPRANOLOL
PROPYLTHIOURACIL PROTRIPTYLINE
PSORALENS PYRAZINAMIDE
PYRIDOXINE PYRILAMINE
PYRIMETHAMINE QUETIAPINE
QUINACRINE QUINAPRIL
QUINESTROL QUINETHAZONE
QUINIDINE QUININE
RABEPRAZOLE RAMIPRIL
RANITIDINE RIBAVIRIN
RILUZOLE RISPERIDONE
RITONAVIR ROFECOXIB
ROPINIROLE RUE
SACCHARIN SAQUINAVIR
SCOPOLAMINE SELEGILINE
SELENIUM SERTRALINE
SILDENAFIL SIMVASTATIN
SMALLPOX VACCINE SOTALOL
SPARFLOXACIN SPIRONOLACTONE
ST JOHN’S WORT STREPTOMYCIN
SULFACETAMIDE SULFADIAZINE
SULFADOXINE SULFAMETHOXAZOLE
SULFASALAZINE SULFISOXAZOLE
SULINDAC SUMATRIPTAN
TACROLIMUS TARTRAZINE
TERBINAFINE TETRACYCLINE
THIMEROSAL THIOGUANINE
THIORIDAZINE THIOTHIXENE
TIAGABINE TIMOLOL
TIOPRONIN TOLAZAMIDE
TOLBUTAMIDE TOLMETIN
TOPIRAMATE TORSEMIDE
TRANYLCYPROMINE TRAZODONE
TRETINOIN TRIAMTERENE
TRIAZOLAM TRICHLORMETHIAZIDE
TRIFLUOPERAZINE TRIHEXYPHENIDYL
TRIMEPRAZINE TRIMETHADIONE
TRIMETHOPRIM TRIMETREXATE
TRIMIPRAMINE TRIOXSALEN
TRIPELENNAMINE TRIPROLIDINE
TROVAFLOXACIN VALDECOXIB
VALPROIC ACID VALSARTAN
VANCOMYCIN VARDENAFIL
VENLAFAXINE VERAPAMIL
VERTEPORFIN VINBLASTINE
VITAMIN A VORICONAZOLE
YARROW ZALCITABINE
ZALEPLON ZIPRASIDONE
ZOLMITRIPTAN ZOLPIDEM