Patient Comments: Sun-Sensitive Drugs - Phototoxic Drugs


If you had a sun-sensitive reaction to a drug, what was the medication? What were your symptoms? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Anna, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 24

I am taking desipramine for a nutcracker esophagus. I was out in the sun for 1/2 hour and have a terrible bright red rash on my face. I have used this off and on for years and this is the first time I have had a reaction. My arms were exposed too but did not get red.

Comment from: Ms.Andrews, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 29

I was prescribed naproxen on 22.07.19. I went to the beach from 11 am to 6 pm on 23.07.19 in 28 degree heat and am still in agony days later with severe swelling on my legs, feet and ankles that are so tender to touch and super sensitive! Feels like they could split under the pressure. I knew it was more than sunburn. But seems a quick reaction rate to a drug at only 24 hours in my system.

Comment from: Mackintosh, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 03

I was taking doxycycline 100 mg 2 times a day for a while. One day in spring when it was warm and very sunny outside, I was running errands (driving) with my sunroof open. About 1/2 hour later, I looked at my right arm and hand and was very surprised to see a sort of angry red rash. This had never happened to me before. Thankfully, I was on my way to a specialty pharmacy at the time! When I arrived there, the pharmacist took one look at it and asked me if I was on doxycycline... you bet!

Comment from: Redfaced, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 19

I was (mis)advised I could take doxycycline on a 5-day canoe trip if I used sunscreen. I slathered it on regularly practically hourly but ended up with a bright red face, neck and ears. Thank goodness my SPF shirt and hat protected my torso and forehead and sunglasses my eye area and gloves protected my hands. I will be informing my dermatologist’s office to give better advice than I received, in the future.

Comment from: jennie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 26

I have been taking omeprazole 20 mg and prednisolone 5 mg for 9 weeks, then began hydroxychloroquine 200 mg for 3 weeks, and then reduced prednisolone to 4 mg. I also took vitamin D. One week later I stood in the bathroom with winter sunlight lighting my face and neck, then burning and redness began where the sun touched, this continued the rest of the day and worsened. Next day (Saturday) I showed it to a local pharmacist and told her it had spread all over my trunk including my genitals and burning worse. She said it wouldn't be the medication as I had been taking them a while (a reaction would be more instant), I didn't need to see a doctor and sold me some antihistamine tablets. Second (Sunday) day everything was more intense and also down my limbs, I saw another pharmacist and she thought it was probably the medication in particular hydroxychloroquine, and that I should see a doctor next day. Monday face, nose and lips swollen, I saw the doctor who said to stop the hydroxychloroquine totally and increase the prednisolone to 20 mg for 5 days then return to 4 mg per day, and if I had more swelling (tongue, etc.) then to seek immediate further help from the doctor or hospital. It is Saturday again, I am improving slowly, swelling, burning, and redness are lessening but still on face, rest of rash fading and now very itchy.

Comment from: Girlzoom, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 18

I am taking metoprolol and Norvasc. I am having extreme sun sensitivity. I just recently changed to Norvasc from Cozaar.

Comment from: Mouse, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 09

I began taking hydrochlorothiazide a little over a month ago. It was soon after that our son came to visit and we went to the Oregon coast. We walked quite a bit there. It was about 80 degrees. I wore a hat. But when we got back to the motel I noticed my face, hands, neck, and eyes were bright red, and burned and itched. My husband and son did not have it. Nothing helped. I continued to have it for the next month. Though it has got a little better it is still red, inflamed and itchy. I then went out a couple of days ago for 15 minutes and within that time I again totally turned red, was itching, and my eyes swelled up. It was in reading this article that I realized that I am highly allergic to the medicine. I do have some other medical allergies, but this is about the worst. I am going to the doctor tomorrow and am asking to be taken off of this medication. I am only taking the 12.5mg. I believe it is not needed. And I can't go on looking like someone has beat me in the face. Thanks for your article, I believe it has really answered my problem.

Comment from: lgittins1, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

I have taken hydrochlorothiazide for several years. This past year I have had sunburn on my feet and one leg. They look a reddish purple color and swell a lot. They also hurt really badly. They have the appearance of being baked.

Comment from: valj, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 21

Having lived in Hawaii and California, and never any issue with sun exposure, I was very annoyed to find out that I was having allergic type reaction to sun. The only medication that I was taking was Nexium. Symptoms were severe itching on arms and legs that would last for 1 to 2 weeks following sun exposure. One incident that was severe happened while on vacation in Hawaii. No sunburn, but with multiple days at the beach itch became severe and I also got hives on arms, neck and face. Doctor visit with steroid injection and several day course of steroids took care of this and I switched to an OTC acid reducer.


An average adult has about ________ square feet of skin. See Answer
Comment from: Hutcher, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 12

I took ibuprofen and Aleve for several years for a very bad back and now have a problem with the sun. I must wear a hat and I often get redness and little blister eruptions on my nose, etc., when exposed to the sun for any time. I have been off the medication for several months now and the condition persists, especially when driving a car on sunny days. I believe the pain pills may have caused the problem. I hope it goes away soon. It is so embarrassing to have your nose red and ulcerated when you go out in public.

Comment from: Diana047), 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 15

I had a sensitivity to the sun after taking Biotin for hair and nails.

Comment from: Sylvia, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 07

I rubbed estrogen gel on my arms then went to the beach. I had severe reaction to the sun.

Comment from: cbeard9071, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 28

The medicine I am taking for high blood pressure, hydrochlorothiazide, causes me to react to the sun. I get weak and feel dizzy. I also have pains feel sick to my stomach. I have had this happen more than once since I have taken this medicine. It does say to stay out of direct sunlight. Even when driving down the road it has happened as well.


Sun-Damaged Skin: See Sun Spots, Wrinkles, Sunburns, Skin Cancer See Slideshow