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Hypertensive medications are commonly prescribed, yet physicians and patients may be unaware that many of these agents are photosensitizing. Although the study by Friedman et al focused on lip cancer, a rare cancer, it is likely that patients receiving these agents are also at increased risk of basal cell and squamous cell cancers of the skin (these cancers are not tracked by the cancer registry used for this study). The findings are important because simple interventions, such as lip protector, sunscreen, large-brim hats, rash guard swim shirts, and avoiding times of the day when the sun is most intense, are likely to decrease the harmful effects of the sun for everyone, regardless of whether they are receiving a photosensitizing agent. When initiating use of photosensitizing agents for our patients, we need to remind them of these simple measures to avoid sun exposure.
Katz MH. Sun Protection for All: But Especially for Those Receiving Certain Hypertensive Medications Comment on “Antihypertensive Drugs and Lip Cancer in Non-Hispanic Whites”. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(16):1251. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.2773