April 03, 2013

Photosensitivity and Medications

Prescribed Medication

Whenever  a pharmacy delivers a prescribed medication, there is a printed insert included that has a lot of information regarding the drug--the conditions for which it is prescribed, the manner in which it is to be taken, possible side effects, etc.  One of the possible side effects of commonly prescribed medications is photosensitivity.


Photosensitivity is defined as "an abnormal sensitivity to light."  Light, sunlight or indoor lighting, contains UV rays that can cause this reaction.

The classes of drugs that have been implicated in causing photosensitivity are:
  • sulfonamides (antibacterials used to treat infections)
  • tetracycline (antibiotic used to treat infections)
  • fluroquinolones (broad-spectrum antibiotics)
  • phenothiazines (tranquilizer and pain medications)
  • tacrolimus (for preventing organ transplant rejection)
There are four ways to protect yourself from UV radiation: absorb it by wearing synthetic fabrics with darker colors or chemical additives, reflect it with clothes, block it with a sunblock, or avoid it altogether.

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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