Photosensitivity is the amount to which an object reacts upon receiving photons, especially visible light.
Sun-sensitizing drugs are medications that can increase the skin's susceptibility to reddening and burning from the sun (or a tanning lamp). These drugs are also called photosensitizing agents.
It is very important to read the label carefully before using a prescription or non-prescription medication, paying particular attention to side effects such as photosensitivity.
I AM SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE!
The medication I am taking (Amitriptyline) makes me very sensitive to the sun and this was a lesson learned the hard way! I received severe burns to my legs that are incredibly painful and disabling and I hope that everyone will heed this warning!
Many prescription and non-prescription drugs contain photosensitizing agents that can cause sunburn, blistering, hives, rash or other skin reactions. These reactions are classified as either photo-allergic or phototoxic.
PLEASE ensure that you check your medications possible side effects RIGHT NOW and ensure that if a medication you are on causes sensitivity to the sun that you take the proper precautions to avoid possible SERIOUS burns from exposure to the sun.
Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Because the sun's rays are strongest during this period, try to schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day, even in winter or when the sky is cloudy.
Wear sunscreen year-round. Sunscreens don't filter out all harmful UV
radiation, especially the radiation that can lead to melanoma. But they play a major role in an overall sun-protection program. Be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 when you go outside, year-round. Use a generous amount of sunscreen on all exposed skin, including your lips, the tips of your ears, and the backs of your hands and neck. For the most protection, apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply it every two hours throughout the day, as well as after swimming or exercising.
Wear protective clothing. Sunscreens don't provide complete protection from UV rays. That's why it's a good idea to also wear dark, tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs, and a broad-brimmed hat, which provides more protection than a baseball cap or visor does. Some companies also sell photo protective clothing. Your dermatologist can recommend an appropriate brand.
Don't forget sunglasses. Look for those that block both UVA and UVB rays.
Avoid tanning beds and tan-accelerating agents. Tanning beds emit UVA rays, which may be as dangerous as UVB rays — especially since UVA light penetrates deeper into your skin and causes precancerous skin lesions.
The following is a small list of medications that have been known to cause sun sensitivity.The best way to find out if any medication you are taking is going to cause sun sensitivity is to ask your pharmacist...he/she has direct access to the possible interactions for the medication you are taking.
Antibiotics Doxycycline (Vibramycin and others) Floxine Minocycline Tetracycline Trimethoprim
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