Bits & Pieces - Medications and the Sun · Parkinson's Resource Organization

Bits & Pieces - Medications and the Sun


Before you travel, check with your doctor and find if any medications you are taking, or bath products include ingredients that can cause sun sensitivity or increased body temperatures and/or sweating.

Azilect, a Selegiline based medication is known to increase heat sensitivity, as are certain prescriptions used for depression, Psoriasis, Arthritis and Allergies.

People with Parkinson's disease may have an increased risk for developing skin cancer (melanoma). Tell your doctor promptly if you notice a change in the appearance or size of moles or other unusual skin changes. Ask your doctor if you should have regular skin exams.

Store your Sinemet (Carbidopa/Levodopa) at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C). Store it in a tightly closed container away from high heat, moisture, and light. Levodopa may turn a darker color when not properly stored. If this occurs, it may not work as well and may need to be thrown out and replaced. Consult your pharmacist for more information on what to do if the medication changes color. Do not store in the bathroom.

Drugs that raise sun sensitivity leave the skin vulnerable to sunburn, other skin reactions, and even skin cancer. Protective steps include avoiding direct sunlight during midday and scrupulously using protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Drugs that increase heat sensitivity can interfere with sweating, increase the body’s heat generation, deplete its water or salt stores, or dull the sense of thirst. Protective measures when it’s hot or humid include limiting your exertion, drinking plenty of water, and asking your doctor about adjusting the dosage or timing of your medication before exercising.

A healthy nude adult can be exposed to temperatures as low as 12°C (53.6°F) or as high as 60°C (140°F) in dry air and still maintain an almost constant core temperature of 37°C. The body maintains this temperature through cooling (sweating) and heat conservation (shivering and lack of sweating) regulated by the autonomic nervous system. People with Parkinson’s often complain of temperature sensitivity that manifests as either intolerance to heat, intolerance to cold, or profuse periodic sweating.

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Updated: August 16, 2017