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Skin Cancer Risk from Antibiotics?
Most people would identify sun exposure as the primary Skin Cancer Risk, but few would think of antibiotics as a contributing factor to this deadly disease. Yet there is an entire class of antibiotics that are known to cause a condition known as photocarcinogenesis that can multiply the damage normally done by the sun and lead to an increase in the risk of skin cancer.
If you are unfamiliar with these drugs, I encourage you to read the page on the Introduction to the Fluoroquinone Drugs, and you can find a List of Quinolones here. These antibiotics have a LONG history of causing dangerous toxic conditions. In fact, no less than nine different Quinolone Antibiotics have actually been approved by the FDA and released onto the market only to be found to be so dangerous that they had to be removed and recalled.
Increased Skin Cancer Risk from An Antibiotic?
While each one was removed for various different toxic reactions, at least four were removed due to a problem called ‘Phototoxicity’. Phototoxicity is a common occurrence with many prescription medications requiring people using them to stay out of the sun because of the excess sun damage and sunburn that can result. But the phototoxicity that is caused by the Quinolone antibiotics may be so bad that it is causing DNA Damage to the cells and contributing to a more damaging form of phototoxicity called ‘Photocarcinogenesis’, a fancy way of saying an increase in skin cancer risk from sunlight.
A carcinogen is a substance that is known to cause cancer; therefore, photocarcinogenesis refers to a substance that can actually cause skin cancer in the presence of sunlight. Yet this fact was only discovered AFTER these drugs had been released onto the market and significant numbers of complaints of severe skin problems from sunlight exposure were reported.
While it would be logical to think that the FDA might be extra cautious and require more extensive studies for sun damage from Quinolone antibiotics considering their checkered past, this does not seem to be the case. Several Quinolones have been approved since these nine have been recalled and all Quinolones have a warning on them to stay out of the sun. But few people read package inserts and doctors and pharmacists can’t possibly discuss every warning of every drug with each patient – so this fact often remains unknown to the millions of people taking these antibiotics every year.
The FDA Thinks it’s OK to Put Quinolones Directly On Your Skin!
Even more disturbing is that there is now a Quinolone cream approved for use of skin infections – such as acne. This cream will be used primarily by teenagers who are not known to be cautious about going out in the sun. Not only that, but the possibility that teens and young adults will be using this drug for years and even decades, as acne drugs generally are, combined with even a small increase in photocarcinogenic damage at such a young age could significantly increase lifetime skin cancer risk.
Since it is WELL known by drug manufacturers and the FDA that Quinolone Antibiotics increased skin cancer risk in animals and cause skin damage in humans, those taking Quinolones regularly for non-life threatening chronic conditions, such as acne, bronchitis and sinus infections, are unwitting test subjects for the drug companies and the FDA to determine long-term skin cancer risk.