7 drugs that increase sun and heat sensitivity | Fox News

( jcarillet)

This summer’s must-reads aren’t romances or thrillers; they’re the warning labels and package inserts for your drugs and supplements. As Consumer Reports on Health cautioned in a recent article,[ s] ome widely used drugs can attain you far more sensitive to summertimes sunlight and heat than youd usually be.

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That sensitivity can mean anything from a reduced ability to sweat to an increase in the amount of liquid you lose through your urine. So its important to revisit whatever safety info you have, and to check in with your doctor, who can let you know about potential risks during the brightest, warmest time of year, told Megan Rech, an emergency medicine clinical pharmacist at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.

For the leading player that interact with the sunlight and cause whats called phototoxicity, those[ consequences] should be listed on the bottle or in the patient information, ” explained Rech. “But there are a plenty of drugs that can cause interactions with the sunlight, so lesser-known side effects[ that] occur in fewer patients may not always be obvious.”

Here are some of the better-known substances that may allow summer’s sunlight and heat to reach you harder.

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Acne therapies

Those can definitely be phototoxic, especially the retinoids, Rech told. Phototoxic effects are going to appear like a very bad sunburn.

The risk is more pronounced for prescription retinoids( such as Retin-A and Tazorac ), which are significantly stronger than the products youll find at pharmacies and beauty counters. But OTC acne and anti-aging products with retinol can cause dryness, peel, and sun sensitivity as well. Products with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can also increase your vulnerability. If youre use one and plan to spend significant time outdoors, be sure to sport sunblock and a broad-brimmed hat.


Antibiotics can cause photosensitivity and phototoxic reactions, means that theyre going to worsen your sunburn, Rech told. The one that comes to mind right away is Bactrim, or sulfamethoxozole trimethoprim.

Bactrim is prescribed to treat everything from bronchitis to bladder infections. Thats a big offender, and so are tetracyclines and fluoroqinolones.

That told, you should never, ever skip an antibiotic to the purposes of sunbathing, cautioned Rech. Your physician can help you juggle your plans and your meds.

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Allergy drugs

Some users find that oral antihistamines like diphenydramine( found in products like Benadryl and Dramamine) reduce their ability to sweat. In extreme cases, as the Consumer Reports medical advisory board noted, the overheating that can result leads to cramps, exhaustion, and even heat stroke. If you find that your allergy meds make it difficult for you to cool down, scheme outdoor activities for the morning and evening, and try to spend the hottest hours of the working day indoors.


Tricyclic antidepressants may cause problems in hot weather since they are “prevent the region in your brain that governs heat replies from knowing youre overheating, Rech explained. They can also lessening sweating, which leads to a decrease in heat loss.

When youre taking a drug that increases the possibilities of overheating, stay alert for warning signs such as headaches, lightheadedness, nausea, and weakness. If you experience any of those symptoms, get out of the sun and reach for water or a sports beverage with sodium( which will help your body retain liquid until balance is restored ). In the event of a severe reaction such as confusion, fever, or fainting, contact your doctor or call 911.

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Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs( NSAIDs )

The main non-steroidals that cause phototoxicity are likely not ones that we commonly use, ” Rech told. But still, caution should be used, especially if you’re on other drugs.

“Any time youre taking a non-steroidal and going out in the sunlight I would recommend barrier protection with sunscreen and avoidance if possible, because any of the non-steroidals can worsen[ phototoxicity ], Rech explained.

Vitamins and herbs

A lot of over-the-counter herbal drugs[ can have phototoxic effects] for example, St. Johns Wort is a big inducer of photosensitivity, and that drug including with regard to has a number of medication interactions. Anyone[ interested in taking it] should ask their doctor or pharmacist first, Rech said.

Another pill that might put you at risk: Niacin, a form of Vitamin B3 thats used to treat high cholesterol. It can cause skin reactions, Rech told, “so it could potentially cause[ sunlight sensitivity ].

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Topical drugs

Significant sun exposure can amplify the effect of transdermal patches( such as Fentanyl, a powerful pain reliever, or Clonidine, which lowers blood pressure) that deliver drug directly through the scalp. When you get a sunburn, the blood vessels in the surface area of your skin dilate, explained Rech, and that can lead to increased absorption of your meds. So if youre wearing a patch, it’s a good notion to consider long sleeves.

This article originally appeared on Health.com .

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