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Side effect- hyper sensitvity to the sun on Imuran -Azathioprine

side effect- hyper sensitvity to the sun on Imuran -Azathioprine

Wonder if anyone can help??
i'm just about to go on holiday to spain in 2 weeks and i've just started with hyper sensitivity of the sun due to the Imuran (Azathioprine), great timing eh!! my Doctor has told me to stay out of the sun and wear factor 50 sun block, anyone with experience of this???
Cheers Guys
Hey Shaz - that used to be my nickname in High School!

I'm not on Imuran currently (I wasn't on it long enough to determine if it made me sensitive to the sun), but I am on Methotrexate and Humira. One or both of those has made me sensitive to the sun now, I've had little blisters on whatever area is exposed to the sun (mostly my face and arms). My doc had the same advice for me, wear a sunscreen with SPF of 30 or more, use clothing to cover up (although in the heat this might not be practical), stay in the shade, wear a wide-brimmed hat... just be careful!!


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I'm probably in the minority, but I prefer a parasol when I'm outside and want to avoid the sun. My friends look at me funny, but I never get sunburned! :)
Or if you have a tall husband that is willing to stand in front of you to block the sun! (That's what my husband did last night as we were waiting outside for a concert! Haha) :ylol2:


I was in Jamaica when I was on Imuran and didn't have any problems whatsoever. I wore spf 75 (I'm very fair so needed it!). The problem was the unending line of drinks.....lol
I work outside 6 days a week all day long and I was doing OK until this past weekend. The sun just got a lot stronger up here in the great white north and I have this stupid rash all over the backs of my legs.

It seemed to be a sunburn at first but came on very quickly and got a much deeper color. It was also strangely inconsistent. One of my co-workers, who takes methodextrate for arthritis, spotted it and thinks it is medication related for sure. It does not hurt as bad as a sunburn but looks a bit worse.
I take azathioprine & I use sunblock cream & a wide brimmed sun hat with long cotton sleeves to cover my shoulders & arms. Immuno meds = increased risk of skin cancer.


Best of British
Oh... I take Azathioprine, have since the beginning of diagnosis. I've noticed that since being sick I don't tan as well as I used to and always assumed that was because of the Crohn's. Never thought it could be the Azathioprine!

But I've never had any extra sensitivity to the sun.. well, I will burn just that tiny bit more easily, but not much. I've been all over the world in the sunshine since, including Tanzania, and never had problems.
Thanks for the replies guys, this should help me, to be honest my local doctors dont have much experience with crohns and although i have a crohns nurse available at the hospital i dont like bothering her with every little question so the forum is going to help me loads!
Hi Shaz! I take 6mp, which is pretty simular to imuran. I get a red rash from the sun (splotches and dots). So far this summer SPF 70 is keeping me from getting the rash (kind of a pain to apply every 90mins, but it's working). When I was younger the rash was a lot worse - my mom took me to a dermatologist who recommended sun-protective clothing ("sun precautions", I think, but there are a lot of different kinds). I had a sun-protective button-up shirt that helped a lot.
I take Imuran and never had a rash yet. Even in places like Spain I tend to keep covered up and wear a hat and SPF50. I also sit in the shade... but! I don't really like cooking in the sun anyway. All this has never spoiled any holidays for me
Sabrina! Your description sounds a lot like the rash that I developed last night on my torso! Though I haven't exposed my torso to the direct sun. Does yours look like heat rash and come and go? I called my GI's office and the nurse said the doc didn't think it was an allergic reaction since it got a lot better today.

I thought it was from the heat at the concert we went to on Sunday evening. I don't think the building had air. We were all sweating, which is why I thought it was heat rash. I described it with those 2 exact words splotches and dots. Were yours raised? Mine don't seem to be. Is it possible to get the sun rash THROUGH clothing?
Hey Marisa - sorry to hear about your rash!!! When I was younger I would get it on my arms through a long-sleeved shirt (that's why I got the sun-protective shirt), but it would seem to start on an exposed area like my hands first. My rash takes about a day or so to fade completely. I have a pic of it but I can't figure out how to put it on here! I'll go send it to you on fb.


When I have been on Imuran previously, I never really noticed any difference than my "normal" skin burn (keep in mind, I have red hair and WHITE skin...lol).

this summer, added to my Imuran, a dermatologist recommended Accutane to help with these sores/fistulas I am experiencing until I get my ostomy, so I am almost terrified to sit by a window without the sunblock in hand! LOL!

That being said, I apply a sunblock of spf 50 every morning (and reapply every 90 minutes to 2 hours, if I am outside that long), and I am a smoker who goes outside for ALL her smokes, usually to the deck where the sun is. So far this summer I haven't noticed any ill effects from the sun, and am even getting a bit of a tan on my arms.

I think meds are a big one for sun sensitivity, but I also think that skin/hair color needs to be taken into account as well... are you a person that normally burns in the sun? Maybe you don't see much sun 'cause you are in the bathroom all day? (LOL!) Maybe, like Kenny, you are normally outside and your skin has adapted a bit better, so you may be able to handle the sun a bit better. Like the disease itself, I think we all handle this issue a bit differently!

Hope all goes well!
Hi First time on this thing, and probs asking a silly question how safe is it to try and get a tan (natural) when on azathioprine (125mg) or do I reach for the fake bake?

Have noticed some itching but no rashes whatsoever mentioned after fairly long periods in the sun.

Sorry about the icon just need an answer.
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I got over the rashy thing pretty quick. Just keep up with the sunbock and all should be good. Don't over do it.

I'm still out there 5-6 days a week in shorts and a Tee. I keep lots of sunscreen behind the knees and at the top of my work boots tho.
on really hot days I might put on some more at 1 or 2 in the afternoon. My hours tend to be 9ish to 5 or6. Outside pretty much the entire day unless its like 90 deg. Then I hit some shade between customers. I use a coppertone Sport water resistant spf 40.
I've been reapplying every 2 hours to be super safe and I'm not even in direct sun most of the time. Haha. Guess I don't have to be so paranoid!
Interesting!! Im on Entocort and Pentasa, and today I burned really bad. I was wearing SPF 30 and in the shade most of the time. Id say I was in the sun for a total of 30 mins max and burned. Totally sucks, but atleast I know now!!
I am on Imuran and I believe it does make you hypersensitive to sun, i forgot to put sunscreen around ankles yesterday and they were pretty red worse than normal - if u wear sunscreen u should be fine though
I have been taking Aza for about six months and i have had to start taking sun lotion everywhere with me. I have started to burn through my clothes! I love side effects. I think this is my favourite one so far lol!
I was on aza about 4 years ago and I eventually developed a prickily heat type rash that was awful and very painful from the sun I was told it was a side effect of the drug. Its not nice but try to stay out of the sun x x