Benzodiazepine-induced photosensitivity reactions: A compilation of cases from literature review with Naranjo causality assessment. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: Benzodiazepines have been reported to cause photosensitivity reactions. We characterized the clinical presentation and diagnosis of benzodiazepine-associated photosensitivity and adjudicated these cases for a causal association with benzodiazepines. METHODS: A literature search on PubMed's "MeSH" search feature and CINAHL (1964 to 2019) was performed using search terms: benzodiazepine, photosensitivity, and photosensitivity disorders/chemically induced. We applied the Naranjo scale, a standardized causality assessment algorithm, to identified cases. RESULTS: We identified eight published cases, with 50% of patients being female with a mean age of 46.3years. Alprazolam, tetrazepam, clobazam, and clorazepate induced phototoxic reactions. Chlordiazepoxide induced one photoallergic reaction. Photosensitivity occurred between 1-3days (37.5%), 7-14days (25%), and >14days (25%). Photosensitivity resolved after drug discontinuation within 2weeks (62.5%). Benzodiazepine rechallenge confirmed photosensitivity in 75% of cases. Photopatch testing was negative in two patients; however, these patients had positive oral provocation testing. However, an oral photoprovocation test, an ideal diagnostic test, was not administered to several patients. Despite these challenges, the Naranjo scale identified 5 cases as definite benzodiazepine-induced photosensitivity. CONCLUSION: Five benzodiazepines induced photosensitivity reactions. Five patients showed a definite association with the Naranjo scale. Reporting to pharmacovigilance databases may help identify other benzodiazepines causing photosensitivity reactions.

published proceedings

  • Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Momin, N., Phan, P., Ali, A. A., I Ali, H., Seeger, C. M., & Joseph, M.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Momin, Noorulain||Phan, Phuong||Ali, Ashmal A||I Ali, Hamed||Seeger, Christina M||Joseph, Merlyn

publication date

  • November 2021