Sunburn Easily? It Might be Your Medications

Image Source: Harry Knight/Unsplash

We’re all aware that most medications can have a variety of side effects, but did you know that one of them can be an increased sensitivity to the sun? There are a multitude of medications that can increase your risk of sunburn or even cause photosensitivity. Summer is here, so be sure you’re prepared to stay safe in the sun!

How can a medication increase your sensitivity to the sun?1

Photosensitivity is a reaction set off by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and can result in two different reactions.

  • Phototoxic Reaction: Occurs when UV radiation reacts with a drug to form compounds that damage the skin.
    • Results: Sunburn-like symptoms
  • Photoallergic Reaction: This is less common, but usually happens when UV light changes a substance applied to the skin, causing an immune response.
    • Results: Bumps, hives, blisters, or red blotches

What are some common drugs that cause sunburns?

  • Antibiotics
  • Antiarrhythmics (cardiac drugs)
  • Diuretics (used to treat hypertension, heart failure or edema)
  • NSAID (Ibuprofen or naproxen)
  • Acne Medications

For a detailed list, click here

How to prevent sun sensitivity2

  • Check Your Meds: Check prescription medications to see if sun sensitivity is listed as a side effect.
  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water!
  • Cover Up: Use sunscreen, wear protective clothing or try to stay in the shade as much as you can!

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/beware-of-sunburn-boosters#1
  2. https://www.consumerreports.org/drugs/can-your-meds-make-you-more-sensitive-to-sun-and-heat/
  3. https://www.medicinenet.com/sun-sensitive_drugs_photosensitivity_to_drugs/article.htm#list_of_examples_of_medications_that_cause_phototoxicitcy

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