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Monday, 02 July 2018 17:39

Medications and Sunscreens - What You Need to Know

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Here's something you might not have even thought of when t comes to sunscreens: how do medications interact with being in the sun?
It really is something to think about. Some medications are very common, millions take them on a regular basis (see list below). Did you know that medication counseling can be a pharmacist's unique role in helping patients concerning UV safety? Why is this so important?
According to Pharmacy Times, "In addition to sun safety and UV rare exposure, pharmacists can help manage the effects and consequences of photosensitive medications, which can be classified as either a phototoxic or a photoallergic reaction. Phototoxic reactions are a non-immunologic reaction that increase a patient's susceptibility to sunburn. UV-A rays can react with certain medications, particularly if the concentration of the medication in the body is high. Patients will present with a severe sunburn that quickly peels within a few days. Photoallergic reactions are less common. This type of photosensitivity is an immunologic reaction nor concentration dependent and can occur in any patient. It presents as a delayed hypersensitivity reaction due to UV-A rays that looks like a skin rash in sun exposed areas. Unlike phototoxic reactions, photoallergic reactions can still occur after the patient has stopped taking the medication. Therefore, if a patient presents with a concern of a severe sunburn, a thorough medication history should be gathered."
Medications that may cause a reaction are:
  • Diuretics: Lasix (furosemide), Hydrodiuril )hydrochlorothiazide)
  • Antibiotics: Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Levaquin (levofloxacin), Vibramycin (doxycycline), Bactrim (trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole)
  • Painkillers: Motrin (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), Celebrex (celecoxib)
  • Allergy medications: Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Antinausea: Phenergan (promethazine)
  • Birth control pills
  • Acne medications: Accutane (isotretinoin), Retin-A (tretinoin)
  • Diabetic medications: Micronase (glyburide), Glucotrol (glipizide)
It is actually the responsibility of the pharmacist to provide specific directions for safe medication use and instruction on how to safely protect a patient from the sun when taking a photosensitizing agent. So, if you happen to spend a lot of time in the sun and you are on any medication(s) be sure and check in with your pharmacist. Remember this is a service a pharmacist offers routinely and does not cost anything additional. Just make sure you use a sunscreen that is nontoxic.
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