Sun exposure and drugs

Sunlight has both positive and negative effects on our body. For example, it is essential for the synthesis of vitamin D. On the other hand, it may cause sunburns or increase the risk of skin carcinoma. Special attention must be given when taking sun-sensitizing medications due to the significant risk of side effects.

In all of the aforementioned scenarios, ultraviolet radiation is responsible for the sun’s negative influences on drug therapy.Ultraviolet rays include:

  • UVA – “long-wave”; affect the second layer of skin. UVA exposure is the main cause of sun-related drug side effects.
  • UVB – “short-wave”; affect the top layer of skin. On rare occasions, these rays can also induce photosensitivity reactions.
  • UVC – don’t reach the earth’s surface, but are found in artificial sources of UV radiation such as tanning beds.

Drug-induced photosensitivity might be caused by various mechanisms.

The absorption of UV radiation by phototoxic drugs (e.g. furosemide, amiodarone, tetracycline, ibuprofen etc.) can result in energy transfer to oxygen atoms and the subsequent creation of oxygen radicals. These radicals may change skin molecules, causing long-term damage or cell death. This mechanism is called phototoxicity and is manifested in the form of blisters, desquamation or hyperpigmentation. In some cases, due to DNA damage, phototoxic drugs may also induce the development of skin carcinoma.

Furthermore, UV rays can cause structural changes in drugs such as thiazides, quinidine, sulphonamides or topical ketoprofen, causing stimulation of our immune system which leads to photo allergic skin reaction. Photo allergy usually manifests as dermatitis.

It has to be noted that not only topical but also systemic intake of sun-sensitizing drugs can lead to photosensitivity reactions. In conclusion, when taking therapy which includes these drugs, it is important to apply sunscreen regularly and avoid sun exposure.

Ena Bulović, Mpharm /  Senior Pharmacovigilance Associate

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Marti Farm Ltd. Trade and Services
Marti Farm Ltd.
Lašćinska cesta 40, HR-10000 Zagreb
Planinska ulica 13/2, HR-10000 Zagreb
a limited liability company
Commercial Court of Zagreb
080751121

 

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Martina Diminić Smetiško, director of the
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Full company name: Marti Farm Ltd. Trade and Services
Short company name: Marti Farm Ltd.
Headquarters: Lašćinska cesta 40, HR-10000 Zagreb
Office: Planinska ulica 13/2, HR-10000 Zagreb
Legal form: a limited liability company
Court register: Commercial Court of Zagreb
Registration number: 080751121

OIB: 29969122438
Share capital: HRK 20,000.00 (paid in its entirety)
Authorized representative: Martina Diminić Smetiško, director of the company (Representing the company individually and independently, Responsible person for data protection)

Bank account: HR3623600001102197724 (Zagrebačka banka), HR4324020061100628669 (Erste banka)

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