Doxycycline can cause a phototoxic reaction, which can be very similar to a severe sunburn.
The connection between doxycycline and the sun is that the drug can cause photosensitivity in some cases. Studies have confirmed that this reaction is linked to dosage, with lower dosages making it less likely to occur. The drug causes a phototoxic reaction, which looks a lot like a severe sunburn. This is a big risk for patients taking the drug as an antimalarial drug, because most malaria countries have tropical climates. Patients should cover their skin as much as possible and use sufficient sun protection if they develop the problem.
People who experience a reaction between dozycycline and the sun should cover themselves as much as possible, including a hat and sunglasses.
Doxycycline is linked to the sun because photosensitivity is a possible side effect of the drug. A chemical inside the drug can occasionally react with sunlight and cause a phototoxic reaction. Patients should recognize this by looking for extreme sunburn when exposure to the sun is short. Phototoxic reactions only occur on exposed areas of the skin, except in severe cases where they may extend to covered areas of skin. This can also occur if doxycycline and the sun are combined for long periods of time.
Taking doxycycline as an anti-malarial drug increases the risk of reaction when exposed to the sun.
Research has shown that the link between doxycycline and the sun is related to drug dosage. Patients who take 200 milligrams (mg) of the drug a day have a 40 percent chance of developing the condition. Those who take 150 mg a day have a 20 percent chance of developing the condition. Doses above 100 mg daily put the patient at significant risk for photosensitivity. Physicians should use as low a dose as possible for patients who go to or live in hot countries or who are likely to be exposed to frequent sunlight.
A person who is photosensitive typically experiences an heightened reaction to exposure to the sun.
The risk posed by taking doxycycline and sun exposure is greater in patients taking the drug as an antimalarial drug. Doxycycline is the most affordable anti-malarial drug, meaning many travelers choose it over more expensive alternatives. Malaria countries generally have tropical climates and frequent sunlight, which makes it difficult to stay out of the sun. Patients who experience photosensitivity while taking the drug to prevent malaria are often unable to stop taking the drug unless they find an alternative. They are advised to contact their doctor immediately to find an alternative treatment.
A phototoxic reaction to doxycycline usually affects only exposed areas of skin.
Patients suffering from the link between doxycycline and the sun can take some steps to reduce the severity. They should cover themselves as much as possible, including a hat and long-sleeved shirts, to reduce exposure to sunlight. Doctors advise using a sunscreen with at least a sun protection factor (SPF) 30. Preferably, sunscreens should contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for maximum effectiveness.