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31. 8. 2023

Antibiotics versus sunlight


Antibiotics and chemotherapeutics are drugs that are used to treat bacterial infections, and they differ in both chemical structure and use. For that reason, other information about the method of use and other restrictions is available to the patient at the time of dispensing.

Some antibiotics have a so-called photosensitizing potential – the skin becomes more sensitive to light (especially to ultraviolet radiation) and an intensified skin reaction may occur.

Antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs that can cause photosensitivity reactions include:

  • tetracyclines (tetracycline, doxycycline),
  • quinolones (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin),
  • sulfonamides (cotrimoxazole),
  • also chloramphenicol, gentamicin etc.

It is therefore appropriate to:

  • limit exposure to the sun (generally not recommended during ATB treatment) during summer and winter months,
  • do not visit tanning beds,
  • protect the skin with clothing,
  • wear a head covering
  • protect exposed skin with products with a high factor (mainly against UVA).

The skin's reaction to sunlight can manifest as:

  • skin tension,
  • itching to pain,
  • redness (blisters, skin peeling),
  • hyperpigmentation etc.

Undesirable photosensitive effects of antibiotics can be mitigated by cooling the skin (cold compresses, soothing body lotion...) or by administering anti-allergy drugs. More serious skin reactions should be assessed by a doctor.

Free according to the web portal of the Czech Chamber of Pharmacy for the public Lékárnické kapky, 30/08/2023