Phototoxicity L56

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Non-immunological reaction that occurs at the first contact with the photosensitizer and in every human being if the dose of the substance is sufficient and followed by appropriate UV irradiation. S.u. phototoxic dermatitis.

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See below photo allergy.

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The penetration depth of light rays into human skin is between 0.2 and 4 mm, depending on wavelength and skin area. As the vascular-free stratum corneum is only about 10-150 µm thick, active substances circulating in the blood or in the skin can absorb light. Numerous substrates for phototoxic reactions are available to the excited active agent molecules. Phototoxic reactions occur in vivo and have to be distinguished from skin lesions which may be caused by photostable active substances or excipients. See below active substances, photostable.

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  1. Epstein JH (1999) Phototoxicity and photoallergy. Seminar Cutan Med Surg 18: 274-284
  2. Nigen S et al (2003) Drug eruptions: approaching the diagnosis of drug-induced skin diseases. J Drugs Dermatol 2: 278-299


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Last updated on: 29.10.2020