Tetracyclines are a group of broad-spectrum antibiotics largely employed in infectious, dermatological and surgical fields. Some adverse events may occur during treatment, including photosensitivity reactions, which are divided in phototoxic or photoallergic. We performed a systematic search on Pubmed, Cochrane and Embase from database inception to August 9, 2020 aim to summarize all available papers on photosensitive reactions related to tetracyclines in all clinical settings where they are used on human being. On the basis of our inclusion criteria, we selected only randomized controlled trials, open comparative trials and prospective cohort studies performed on both volunteers and patients, moreover we included a pharmacovigilance register. Thirty-eight articles met inclusion criteria, describing photo-sensitive effects due to doxycycline, minocycline, tetracycline, lymecycline, sarecycline, demethylchlortetracycline, chlortetracycline and metacycline, across six diagnoses (acne, Lyme disease, Gulf Veteran Illness, adbominal aortic aneurysms, traveler's diarrhea and pterygium) and several volunteers who were deliberately exposed to natural or artificial light sources. Not all drugs belonging to tetracyclines class are available to date, moreover the studies included lacked a homogeneous design and most of them involved a scarce number of patients, including reactions induced in volunteers during photo-testing. Available data on incidence, severity and clinical relevance of tetracyclines-related photo-sensitive reactions are scarce, heterogeneous and weak. What we can extrapolate is that some tetracyclines are more often related to phototoxic skin reactions than others and some of those seem to have a very low risk of phototoxicity.





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