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July 1962

Antihistamine Photosensitivity

Author Affiliations


Charity Hospital of Louisiana at New Orleans, Tulane School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, Louisiana State University School of Medi-Student Research Assistant, Department of Dermatology (Dr. Schreiber); Junior Medical Student, cine (Mr. Naylor).

Arch Dermatol. 1962;86(1):58-62. doi:10.1001/archderm.1962.01590070064009

The observation of a patient with antihistamine photodermatitis due to diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and carbinoxamine, d-form (Twiston-RA) is of particular import due to the frequent use of antihistamines by physicians and their incorporation in proprietary "cold remedies."

Till now, reports of photosensitization to antihistamines have been limited to the phenothiazine derivatives, chlorpromazine1 and promethazine (Phenergan).2 This study, of a patient and her twin sister with antihistaminic photosensitivity, showed both phototoxic and photoallergic reactions to various antihistamines on photopatch testing. Structural formulas and ultraviolet light absorption peaks of the tested antihistamines were compared, and biopsies of the skin test sites were stained and studied in regard to mast cells.

Testing Procedure  The method of Curwen and Jillson3 was followed by us in photopatch testing. A Bausch and Lomb carbon arc (Therapeutic Sunshine C) lamp was used, which gave a constant output of light (2,500-7,000 A.), about 12 times the

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