Sun-Sensitive Prescription List 

(This list was updated in February 2015)

This list comprises the most common Photosensitive medications, sun sensitive or phototoxic drugs, topicals, and other agents and is meant to create awareness of any potential issues, not a complete guide or to replace your Doctor or Pharmacist’s recommendations. If you have specific questions about your prescription, please call your primary care physician or review with your pharmacist and bring papers, that you get from them, pertaining to your medication. If you are using any of these photosensitive medications below or other medications, please let the staff at Body Beautiful know immediately. We are always concerned about not only helping you to look and feel more beautiful but to make sure you are safe at all times. Many of these may not pose a serious risk on there own, but when taking multiple medications at the same time (Example: Birth Control AND an Antibiotic), it now may increase your risk. Some topical or oral medications need only a day or 2 to be safely out of your system, while others may take up to 4 weeks.

Protect Your Skin, photosensitive medications, sun sensitive, photo toxic drugs, topical, agents

how to search this page, Protect Your Skin, photosensitive medications, sun sensitive, photo toxic drugs, topical, agentsMost Common Classification of Photosensitizing Medications:

Acne Medications – Variety of medications, oral or topical, that fight acne bacteria or inflammation. There are multiple treatment options available, and sometimes it’s best to use several courses of action to treat acne.

  • Accutane
  • Differin
  • Soriatane

Antibiotics – Prescription medications that are used to help treat infections caused by bacteria. Many infections are contagious and/or serious life-threatening conditions, so it is important to take antibiotics correctly and thoroughly.

  • Sulfonamides (Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole, Cotrimoxazole, etc.)
  • Quinolones (Levofloxacin, Ciprofloxacin, etc.)
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Dapsone
  • Tetracyclines (Adoxa, Atridox, Doxycycline, etc.)

Antihistamines – Over the counter medicines that prevent or relieve allergy symptoms and side effects. Reactions have occurred in both systemic administration and topical application.
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

  • Claritin (Loratadine)
  • Periactin (Cyproheptadine)
  • Phenergan (Promethazine)
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine)

Anti-Androgenic – Agent that blocks androgens, which are hormones that produce male characteristics. These are used to treat prostate cancer.

  • Androcur
  • Euflex
  • Spironolactone
  • Vaniqa Cream

Anti-Infectives – Class of antibiotics that help stop infections caused by a virus, parasite, bacteria or fungus.

  • Tetracyclines: Treat skin infections and acne (examples include but are not limited to Demeclocycline, Chlortetracycline, Oxytetracycline, Adoxa, etc.)
  • Fluoroquinolones: Used to treat urinary tract infections and respiratory conditions (examples include but are not limited to Levaquin, Factive, Avelox, Floxin, Cipro, Noroxin, etc.)

Anti-Inflammatory (NSAIDs) Drugs – A medical treatment that reduces swelling and inflammation.

  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Ketoprofen

Anti-Cholesterol Medication – Class of medications that are used to lower cholesterol by suppressing enzymes that contribute to cholesterol production in one’s liver.

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  • Colesevelam HCL (Welchol)
  • Colestipol (Colestid)
  • Pantethine

Anti-Microbials – Medications used to slow or kill microorganisms (viruses, fungi, bacteria, etc.)

  • DDS (Dapsone)
  • Phisohex
  • Septisol

Antifungals – Medications used to treat fungus (cancer, yeast, candida).

  • Lotrimin
  • Mycoide
  • Clotrimazole

Blood Pressure Medications – A medication prescribed to help lower blood pressure levels called “antihypertensives.”

  • Hygroton
  • Lozol
  • Bumex

Cardiac Medications Combination of medications used after one suffers from a heart attack or heart-related conditions.

  • Cardizem, Dilacor or Tiazac
  • Cordarone
  • Procardia
  • Quinaglute

Treatment Over Sympathetic Ganglia – Patients that suffer from heart disease in the cardiac region and vagus nerves are not recommended to undergo laser treatments.

Cancer/Chemotherapy Medications – Chemotherapy involves using medications to kill cancer cells.

  • Anthracyclines
  • Dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome)
  • Taxanes
  • Vinblastine (Velsar)
  • 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU, Efudex, Fluoroplex)

Cutaneous Allergies –

  • Antihistamines
  • Antipruritic treatments (except for Vitamin D)
  • Corticosteroids
  • Epinephrine
  • Topical ointments/lotions

Diabetic Medications – Patients diagnosed with Type I Diabetes use insulin, while patients diagnosed with Type II Diabetes can manage their condition with diet and exercise. Some patients need oral medications to meet steady blood-glucose levels.

  • Actos (pioglitazone)
  • Avandia (rosiglitazone)
  • Glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase)
  • Repaglinide (Prandin)
  • Nateglinide (Starlix)

Diuretics – Medications that promote urine production.

  • Aldactone (Spironolactone)
  • Bumetanide
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Thiazides (Hyrodiuril)

Epidermal Growth Factors (Receptor Inhibitors) – Mitogenic proteins involved in the processes of wound healing, cell growth, and tumor formations.

  • Erlotinib
  • Cetuximab
  • Gefitinib
  • Panitumumab
  • Vandetanib

Hypoglycaemics – Medications that lower blood glucose for patients with Type II Diabetes.

  • Alpha-Glucose Inhibitors
  • Biguanides
  • Sulfonylureas (Glyburide, Glipizide)
  • Thiazolidinediones

Major Tranquilizers – Medications taken to reduce anxiety or tension.

  • Butyrophenones
  • Phenothiazines
  • Piperidine and Piperazine Compounds
  • Thioxanthenes

Malaria Medications – Recommended medications for malaria differ depending on the country where the patient was diagnosed; antimalarials are used to treat and prevent malaria.

  • Chloroquine (Aralen)
  • Quinine (Quinite)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)

Neuroleptics/Anticonvulsants – Medications used to manage patients that suffer from psychosis, specifically bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

  • Aripiprazole (Abilify)
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • Phenothiazines (Fluphenazine/Chlorpromazine)
  • Thioxanthenes (Chlorprothixene)
  • Ziprasidone (Geodon)

Painkillers – Class of medications used to relieve pain.

  • Celebrex
  • Hydrocodone
  • Meperidine
  • Oxycodone

Porphyrins – Group of medications that are used to treat porphyrias.

  • Beta carotene
  • Chloroquine (Aralen)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • Vitamin D

Pro-photosensitisers (PDT) – These drugs can cause rashes or sunburn on exposed skin.

  • 5-Aminolevulinic Acid
  • Methyl-5-Aminolevulinic Acid
  • Photofrin

Psychiatric Medications/Antidepressants – Class of medications that treat depressive disorders and conditions (OCD, eating disorders, anxiety, etc.)

  • Ativan/Xanax
  • Prozac/Zoloft
  • Phenothiazines (Chlorpromazine, Fluphenazine, Perphenazine)
  • Tricyclic Anti-depressants (Desipramine, Imipramine)

Retinoids – Medications connected with Vitamin A used to control epithelial cell growth.

  • Acitretin
  • Differin
  • Isotretinoin
  • Retin-A
  • Tazorac

Skin Medications for Skin Cancer Medications used to treat skin cancer.

  • 5-Aminolevulinic acid (ALA or Levulan)
  • Methyl-5-Aminolevulinic Acid
  • Photofrin
  • Verteporfin

Steroids – Organic compounds that include vitamins, hormones, and alkaloids. These may inhibit wound healing if combined with laser treatments.

  • Androstenedione
  • Boldenone
  • Danazol (man-made steroid)
  • NandrolonePorphyria
  • Stanozolol
  • Testosterone

Other Potential Photosensitive Medications

  • Amiodarone
  • Coal Tar (Denorex, Tegrin)
  • Dapsone
  • Diltiazem
  • DiLTiazem
  • Enalapril
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Para-Aminobenzoic Acid
  • Paclitaxel
  • Porphyria
  • Quinine
  • Quinidine
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) Tattoos
  • Vitiligo

Topical Agents – only a concern on the area actually being treated
Several topical solutions and medications may cause one’s skin to develop a rash or burn when exposed to lasers. Photosensitivity can become a serious adverse reaction on the skin to particular agents within the laser. The agents can be absorbed topically, orally or subcutaneously and must be present during the laser treatment. Photosensitizers can cause rashes, erythema, burning, swelling, inflammation or increase overall risks.

Topical Agents

  • Essential Oils
  • Angelica
  • Bergamot Citrus
  • Bitter Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Lime
  • Mandarin
  • Tagetes
  • Tangerine
  • Yuzu
  • Makeup (foundation tints)
  • Tanning Products (Bronzers, tinglers, enhancers) – If a patient uses tanning lotions, creams, moisturizers, etc., or is wearing makeup or scented creams may increase side effects and reactions.

Fragrances/Colognes/Perfumes – Avoid at least 24 hours before treatment.

  • 6-Methylcoumarin
  • Musk

Oral or Topical Medications

  • Accutane
  • Differin
  • Duac
  • Hormone Treatments
  • Estrogen
  • Oral Contraceptives
  • Renova
  • Retin-A
  • Tazorac
  • Tetracycline (Doxycycline)

too much fun in the sun, Protect Your Skin, photosensitive medications, sun sensitive, photo toxic drugs, topical, agentsSunscreens – Lotion or cream used on the skin to prevent harm from the sun (sunburn) by reflecting and absorbing the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

  • Para-aminobenzoic Acid/PABA (Eclipse, Block Out, Sea & Ski)
  • Benzophenones (Arimis, Clinique)
  • Cinnamates (Arimis, Estee Lauder)
  • Dioxbenzone (Solbar Plus)
  • Oxybenzone (Eclipse, PreSun, Shade)
  • Salicylates

Contra-Indications to Laser Treatments

Contra-Indications to Laser Treatments – If a patient is using a certain medication or has recently undergone surgery or procedure, it is strongly suggested that the patient should share that information before getting a laser treatment because it may cause harm to the patient.

Direct Irradia Eyes – Some lasers can potentially be harmful to the human Retina, however, damage to the Retinal is very improbable. To avoid this possibility, special wavelength safety goggles must be worn during laser treatments.

Diabetes, Epilepsy, Lupus – Nervous disorders must be evaluated prior to beginning laser treatments.

Hirsutism (Excessive Body Hair) – (The medical term for excessive body hair) can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Such conditions are generally hormone related, e.g. polycystic ovarian syndrome. The first port of call, if you have excessive body hair, should be to your General Practitioner, to discuss the problem and rule out any underlying health problems, which could be causing problems, such as female facial hair (usually around the mustache or beard area) that grows like men’s hair pattern. There are a lot of factors that contribute (genetics, hormones)

Keloid scarring – May have an increased risk of scarring from laser treatments.

Herpes Simplex Virus (I or II) – During laser treatments, the heat from the laser may cause flare-ups over areas that have previously had outbreaks. Patients will need to begin their prescription herpes medication approximately four-five days prior to their treatment. However, if a patient is having an active outbreak, they must reschedule and cannot go through with treatments at that time.

Hemorrhage – Laser treatments may cause hemorrhages to become more severe if it is broken, inflamed, cut or irritated near the treated area.

Cancer Tumor – Although research does not support this theory, it is recommended to not receive laser treatments over a primary or secondary carcinoma tumor or lesion.

Radiation Therapy – Patients undergoing LLLT are not recommended to undergo laser treatments due to research that supports its effect on the immune system.

Immunosuppressant Drugs – It is not recommended for patients taking immunosuppressant drugs to undergo

  • laser treatments.
  • Tacrolimus

Pregnancy – Doctors dictate that LLLT should not be conducted over the pregnant woman’s uterus.

Important Photosensitive Medications – Sun and Wavelength Information – The infrared range from 700nm to 1,000,000nm (1mm) affects the electromagnetic radiation when it reaches Earth. The 3 categories of wavelengths:

  • Infrared-A 700 nm – 1,400 nm
  • Infrared-B 1,400 nm – 3,00 nm
  • Infrared-C 3,000 nm – 1 mm

The visible wavelength of light (visible to the human eye) reaches from 380-780 nm. This range is the strongest output from the sun’s entire irradiance spectrum. Ultraviolet C (UVC), spanning from 100-280 nm. Ultraviolet is defined as the range where the radiation is at a higher frequency than violet, which is invisible to the naked eye. Ultraviolet B (UVB) ranges from 280-315 nm and is absorbed by the atmosphere itself. UVB and UVC create photochemical reactions which lead to the creation of the ozone layer, which causes sunburn and may damage DNA.

Ultraviolet A (UVA) ranges from 315-400 nm. It was once believed that UVA was less damaging to the DNA, which is why artificial tanning (tanning beds) became popular. However, research now supports that UVA causes significant damage to the DNA and can assist in causing cancer.

Not sure about Photosensitive Medications and lasers? We may be able to help call 724 987 3221
If you have a serious concern about medications and laser treatments, call your Family Doctor or visit
www.aapcc.org or call 1 (800) 222-1222

Close Menu
Call Now Button Top
Font Resize