Drugs That Can Make You Sun Sensitive

Health Writer
Medically Reviewed

Ultraviolet light from the sun can make the chemicals in some medications interact with skin cells, leading to tissue damage.

This reaction causes your skin to burn more quickly and at less sun exposure than normal. As a result, you may be at increased risk for skin cancer. Here are some common sun-sensitizing drugs and supplements of which to be aware. If you're taking any of them, avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.:

• Antianxiety drugs (alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide)

• Antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, levofloxacin, ofloxacin, tetracyclines, trimethoprim)

• Antiarrhythmics (amiodarone, quinidine)

• Antidepressants (tricyclics)

• Antifungals (flucytosine, griseofulvin, voriconazole)

• Antihistamines (cetirizine, diphenhydramine, loratadine, promethazine, cyproheptadine)

• Antipsychotics (phenothiazines, including chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, thioridazine)

• Cancer and immunosuppressant drugs (dacarbazine, fluorouracil, methotrexate, vinblastine)

• Diabetes drugs (sulfonylureas, such as glipizide and glyburide)

• Diuretics (thiazides, including hydrochlorothiazide, chlorthalidone, chlorothiazide, furosemide, triamterene)

• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib, piroxicam, ketoprofen)

• Oral contraceptives and estrogen

• Skin-clearing drugs, such as those for acne, eczema, and psoriasis (retinoids, psoralen, coal tar)

• Sulfonamides, or sulfa drugs, used to treat certain infections (acetazolamide, sulfadiazine, sulfamethizole, sulfapyridine, sulfasalazine, sulfisoxazole)

• Statins (simvastatin, atorvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin)

• St. John’s wort