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Drug-Induced Photosensitivity-An Update: Culprit Drugs, Prevention and Management

Kim M Blakely, Aaron M Drucker, Cheryl F Rosen
Drug Safety: An International Journal of Medical Toxicology and Drug Experience 2019 March 19
Photosensitive drug eruptions are cutaneous adverse events due to exposure to a medication and either ultraviolet or visible radiation. In this review, the diagnosis, prevention and management of drug-induced photosensitivity is discussed. Diagnosis is based largely on the history of drug intake and the appearance of the eruption primarily affecting sun-exposed areas of the skin. This diagnosis can also be aided by tools such as phototesting, photopatch testing and rechallenge testing. The mainstay of management is prevention, including informing patients of the possibility of increased photosensitivity as well as the use of appropriate sun protective measures. Once a photosensitivity reaction has occurred, it may be necessary to discontinue the culprit medication and treat the reaction with corticosteroids. For certain medications, long-term surveillance may be indicated because of a higher risk of developing melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma at sites of earlier photosensitivity reactions. A large number of medications have been implicated as causes of photosensitivity, many with convincing clinical and scientific supporting evidence. We review the medical literature regarding the evidence for the culpability of each drug, including the results of phototesting, photopatch testing and rechallenge testing. Amiodarone, chlorpromazine, doxycycline, hydrochlorothiazide, nalidixic acid, naproxen, piroxicam, tetracycline, thioridazine, vemurafenib and voriconazole are among the most consistently implicated and warrant the most precaution by both the physician and patient.


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