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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Sun Sensitivity

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An indi vidual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 01/31/2000]
Question: In the last three months my face has gotten incredibly sensitive to the sun. I can not be in the sun for more than 10 minutes without getting sunburn- always on my cheeks in kind of a butterfly shape on either side of my nose. I've been on wellbutrin (300 mg twice/day).

Answer: Rashes are occasionally seen, but I'm not aware of any specific sun sensitivity. I would get a blood check for lupus(ANA) and you might consider a skin biopsy of unexposed skin(your rump is usually the best spot) to ensure that there are not any immune complex depositions. If these are negative, then the Wellbutrin is still the suspect. Other drugs can do this also, are you taking birth control pills or any other medication?

[posted 08/22/1999]
Question: I used Naprosyn for less than one week when I broke out in a rash 5 days later, after being in the sun for a few hours. I stopped taking the medication immediately as I suspected that I was having an allergic reaction to it (contact dermatitis was ruled out as only the body parts that were exposed to the sun were affected). Celestaderm and antihistamines were prescribed by the first doctor I visited. Four days later I visited another doctor as the rash was getting worse and he prescribed hydroxyzine. The next day my arms were red, swollen and blisters had formed so I went back to the doctor who had prescribed the hydroxyzine and he immediately put me on Prednisone: 60mg/5 days, 40mg/3 days, 20mg/3 days, 10mg/3 days (a culture was also taken in case of a skin bacteria but it turned out negative). The Prednisone helped immensely, however, I am still getting a reaction when I am in the sun (even with 45 sunblock on). Could the Naprosyn still be in my system after all this time? Has it left me photosensitive for life?

Answer: Wouldn't think so but there are some sytemic diseases that cause sun sensitivity as well as common medications like birth control pills. Ensure your doctor has checked your sedimentation rate and checked you for lupus. A skin biopsy would be helpful also(unaffected areas of your skin).

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