Drug-Induced Sun Sensitivity in Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Firstly, I thought that there was no way that I, as a fibromyalgia sufferer, should get irritation and sensitivity from the sun. I mean come on, the sun is the most powerful source of vitamin D for us how can we get sun sensitivity then I got the answer that sun directly is not responsible but we can become photosensitive because of our medications. Most of the fibromyalgia Medicines we take have the drawback of causing sun sensitivity in us. When the sufferers of sun sensitivity come under direct contact with the sun, reddish, swollen patches appear all over their skin and the pain caused by it becomes unbearable.

What drugs can cause sun sensitivity? Here’s a list of the ones that are most common for us:

Tricyclic antidepressants:

Elavil (amitriptyline,) Sinequan (doxepin,) Norpramin (desipramine,) and more;


Celexa (citalopram,) Lexapro (escitalopram,) Paxil (paroxetine,) and more;


Motrin (ibuprofen,) Relafen (nabumetone,) Anaprox/Aleve (naproxen,) and others;


Zyrtec (cetirizine,) Claritin (loratadine,) Benadryl (diphenydramine,) and others;


Zovirax (acyclovir,) Symmetrel (amantadine);


Neurontin (gabapentin,) Lyrica (pregabalin,) and others;


(cyclobenzaprine,) a muscle relaxant;


Ambien (zolpidem,) Sonata (zaleplon,) Librium (chlordiazepoxide,) Xanax (alprazolam.)

Some other drugs besides these that can cause sun sensitivity are:

Oral contraceptives, corticosteroids, diabetic drugs, antipsychotics, heart medications, antibiotics, and cancer drugs.

The drugs that I take that causes severe sun sensitivity are, Plaquenil for my autoimmune thyroid disease and methotrexate for my autoimmune arthritis.

Most of the time if you take a single medicine, which doesn’t increase sun sensitivity and is safe for you, but when you take it with some other drug like ibuprofen which as mentioned, augments sun sensitivity, it will not give you the desired benefits you wanted so instead try some other supplements for your better health.

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My Experience

Mostly I tried to avoid direct contact with the sun, especially in the summertime. But at the start of this summer, I’d been given a lot of work to do outside and because of this, I came under direct contact with the sun for a longer period every week.

At first, I started to experience very unusual feelings: it was like little pinpricks randomly around my arms. At that point, I first thought that it was starting to rain, but no one else felt it. But then it began to feel like hot little nerve zings and I recognized beforehand that it was just my body’s latest weirdness. It makes me feel irritated but it went away and I forget about it.

I was living a stress-free life without having this thing in my mind until one day last week. I was on vacation with a couple of my friends and sitting on a lovely Oregon beach enjoying every moment of it, with lots of sunscreen on, and before long I felt those little pinpricks again. At this moment, they started hot and worked up to rather excruciating. The pain and irritation didn’t stop and I felt it for 36 hours. When I went back to my apartment what I saw was unimaginable reddish, swollen patches on my body.

I’m of Irish descent and my skin doesn’t get any whiter than mine. I know sunburns intimately. This was no sunburn.

I did get burned on some areas where I didn’t apply sunscreen – around the base of my neck and just below one sleeve. They felt like normal sunburn to me – they were reddish and they hurt when I touched it. But the tops of my feet and the backs of my hands were extremely puffed up and I felt pinpricks of fire dancing all over them constantly. The only thing that gave me instant relief was soaking them in cold water, but once I took them out they again heated and swelled up and the pain I felt at that time was severe and unbearable.

I grabbed some energy and read so many articles online and soon realized the thing I was feeling at that moment is pretty typical of photosensitivity, and more specifically, phototoxicity. (Not similar to photoallergy. You can learn more about both here: Medications and Sun Sensitivity.)

The only treatment for protecting yourself from sun sensitivity is to stop taking the medication or avoid the sun. You can’t avoid medicines, if you suffer from this sensitivity try to go less outside when the sun is in its full bloom. But don’t compromise on living a moment of your life when it’s needed to wear lightweight long-sleeved shirts and long summery pants with a big hat. Always remember to take your umbrella with you while going outside it’ll protect you from sunburns. And wear – gasp – enclosed shoes, which terrify some of us who feel extreme heat sensitivity in our feet and prefer them bare. But we do what we have to do, don’t we?

Source: verywellhealth.com

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