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Drug induced photosensitivity

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Several drugs may interact with ultraviolet or visible light to cause adverse cutaneous effects. The principal effects are summarised:

  • phototoxicity - the most common; caused by phenothiazines, amiodarone, thiazides, NSAID's, quinine, tetracyclines, sulphonamides, retinoids, psoralens, fluoroquinolones, griseofulvin, chlorpromazine, prochlorperazine (1)
  • photoallergy - sulphonamides, phenothiazines, thiazides, pyridoxine, griseofulvin, quinidine, sunscreens, antibacterial agents (1)
  • lupus erythematous - hydralazine, procainamide, thiazides
  • pseudoporphyria - frusemide, nalidixic acid, amiodarone, ciprofloxacin, bumetanide, NSAID's
  • lichen planus - thiazides, quinine
  • pellagra - isoniazid

Atopic diatheses may predispose to drug-induced photosensitivity (1).


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