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Sep 8, 2000

Dear Dr. Feinberg, A friend of mine has been diagnosed with HIV, with a low T-Cell count. He has developed Eczema, and is taking Zyratec and Pharmosone for the Eczema. However, they are not taking effect yet, and he is losing sleep. He would like to use light therapy to treat the Eczema, but is taking Sulfamethoxazole which does not permit exposure to either direct or artificial sunlight. Is there either an adequate substitute for Sulfamethoxazole or a better treatment for Eczema so that my friend can stop itching and sleep better. Thanks for your advice.

Response from Dr. Feinberg

Taking sulfa drugs is not an absolute reason to avoid sunlight, as only a small proportion of people on sulfa drugs will be sensitized to the light. He can take this (to my mind, relatively small) risk, or he can switch to dapsone if he's worried about the light exposure.

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