Warning to millions of Brits whose medication makes them more sun sensitive as temperatures hit 32C – are you at risk? | The Sun

MILLIONS of Brits taking certain medicines should be extra cautious as the weather heats up this week.

With temperatures set to reach upwards of 30C, it's important to be aware of the dangers.

However, you should not stop taking your medication.

Forecasters are predicting the mercury to rise to 30C on Tuesday, in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and the Bristol Channel.

But parts of the country are set to fry further on Wednesday and Thursday with highs of 32C in Berkshire and southern areas of the Midlands.

Many common prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines can make the skin more sensitive to the sun.

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This could impact the skin in several ways, from flushing or burning of the skin, to increased skin cancer risk.

Certain drugs can also reduce the body’s ability to maintain a safe temperature.

Professor Claire Anderson, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, previously said: "Some medicines contain ingredients that may cause photosensitivity and can cause sunburn-like symptoms, a rash or other unwanted side effects.

"It can be triggered by products applied to the skin, or medicines you swallow or inject.

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"Quite a few medicines can make you more photosensitive, including common drugs such as antibiotics, oral contraceptives and antidepressants, but not everyone who takes them will have a reaction."

Antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, may increase sweating, increasing the risk of dehydration.

Certain oral contraceptives including the combined Pill – the most common form of birth control taken by women in the UK – could increase sensitivity to light.

Antibiotics can make you more likely to burn in the sun.

"The one that comes to mind right away is bactrim, or sulfamethoxozole trimethoprim,"  Megan Rech, a pharmacist at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, US, told Health.

Bactrim (called trimethoprim in the UK) is prescribed on the NHS to treat and prevent UTIs, such as cystitis.

And some people find that antihistamines like diphenydramine (found in products like Benadryl) reduce their ability to sweat.

In hot weather, this side effect could increase the chance of life-threatening consequences, like severe dehydration or heat stroke.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said people taking drugs linked to increased light sensitivity can reduce their risk by “staying out of direct sunlight”.

It also advises people to “protect with a high factor sunscreen, and cover up with long sleeves, trousers and a hat”.

The RPS added: “If you have questions about your medicines and the possibility of a photosensitivity reaction, your pharmacist will be able to advise you.”

The NHS recommends spending time in the shade when the sun is strongest, which in the UK is between 11am and 3pm.

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It also suggests cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses and using at least factor 30 sunscreen.

A sun cream of at least factor 30 and 4-star UVA protection should be used – two tablespoons if you are covering the entire body.

Am I at risk?

THERE are dozens of medications and over-the-counter drugs that can cause sun sensitivity.

Some of the most common include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antifungals
  • Antihistamine
  • Antihypertensives (blood pressure drugs)
  • Benzocaine
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Cholesterol drugs
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Diuretics
  • Hypoglycemics
  • Neuroleptic drugs
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
  • Retinoids
  • Sulfonamides

You should speak to a GP or pharmacist about your concerns.

Source: FDA

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