What are photoallergic reactions?

A photoallergic reaction is where drugs or other chemicals are converted by sunlight to a chemical which the immune system then attacks. The newly made chemical is treated by the body as an allergen. Between 24 and 72 hours after exposure to sunlight, you may notice an itchier area of skin. This reaction is not restricted to those parts of the body exposed to sunlight – it can affect the entire body. You might also notice a rash.

Drugs and chemicals which can commonly cause these reactions include:

  • Thiazides.
  • Enalapril, a type of ACE-inhibitor, which can lower blood pressure by interfering with a chemical reaction in the body.
  • Phenothiazines.
  • Hydroxychloroquinine (a drug used to treat malaria)

Photosensitivity Guide Index:

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