Doxycycline

Doxycycline is an antibiotic and treats infection and can treat acne. Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight and/or tanning beds, and wear protective clothing.

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Pharmacist Anyssa S. Garza, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Doxycycline
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Doxycycline Overview

Reviewed: May 14, 2013
Updated: 

Doxycycline is a prescription medication used to treat certain bacterial infections and to prevent malaria infections. Doxycycline belongs to a group of drugs called tetracycline antibiotics, which prevent the growth and spread of certain bacteria by inhibiting protein production.

This medication comes in tablet, capsule, and oral suspension (liquid) forms, and is typically taken once or twice a day. The tablets and capsules should be taken with a glass of water, with or without food. However, taking doxycycline with milk or food may decrease the amount of medication absorbed from your stomach. Do not crush or break the delayed-release tablets or capsule.

Doxycycline also comes as a gel to be administered by a dentist in a clinic setting.

This medication is also available in an injectable form to be given directly into a vein (IV) by a healthcare professional.

Common side effects of doxycycline include nausea, sunlight sensitivity, and rash.  

Patient Ratings for Doxycycline

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What are you taking Doxycycline for?

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  • Other
  • Anthrax
  • Chlamydia Infections
  • Malaria
  • Mycoplasma Infections
  • Pleural Effusion
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial
  • Rickettsia Infections
  • Syphilis

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Doxycycline Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautions

Uses of Doxycycline

Oral/Injectable:

Doxycycline is a prescription medication used to treat certain bacterial infections and to prevent malaria infections. Doxycycline treats bacterial infections of the lungs, respiratory tract, skin, genitals, and urinary tract. Doxycycline is also used to treat Lyme disease, anthrax, and acne. It may also be used by your dentist to treat periodontitis (inflammation within the mouth).

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Doxycycline Brand Names

Doxycycline may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Doxycycline Drug Class

Doxycycline is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Doxycycline

Oral/Injectable:

Serious side effects have been reported with doxycycline. See “Doxycycline Precautions” section.

Common side effects of doxycycline include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • itching of the rectum or vagina
  • sore mouth
  • increased sensitivity to sunlight and ultraviolet light
  • mild rash

This is not a complete list of doxycycline side effects.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

 

Doxycycline Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medications you take including prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • anticoagulants, or blood thinners
  • penicillin antibiotics such as amoxicillin (Moxatag) and ampicillin
  • antacids containing aluminum, calcium, magnesium, or iron
  • bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
  • barbiturates such as phenobarbital (Donnatal)
  • carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • methoxyflurane (Penthrane)
  • oral contraceptives

This is not a complete list of doxycycline drug interactions.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Doxycycline Precautions

Oral/Injectable:

Serious side effects have been reported with doxycycline including:

  • Hypersensitivity reaction:  An allergic reaction is possible with doxycycline.  Tell your doctor if you are allergic to doxycycline (Doryx and Oracea), minocycline (Solodyn), or other tetracycline antibiotics.  Tell your doctor if you are allergic to sulfites and will be taking the syrup form of doxycycline.  Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
    • hives
    • difficulty breathing or swallowing
    • rash
    • itching
    • fatigue
    • confusion
  • Photosensitivity/Phototoxicity:  Doxycycline may increase your sensitivity to sunlight, ultraviolet light from tanning beds, and sunburns. Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight and wear protective clothing.
  • Tooth discoloration during childhood development:  Tetracycline antibiotics including doxycycline can discolor the tooth enamel of children under the age of 8 and of fetuses in the last half of pregnancy.
  • Decreased effectiveness of oral contraceptives (birth control): Talk to your doctor about methods to prevent pregnancy while taking doxycycline.
  • Overgrowth of bacteria resistant to doxycycline. This can lead to severe infections if not identified and addressed upon occurrence. 

If you are taking doxycycline to prevent malaria, you should know:

  • that no present-day antimalarial agent, including doxycycline, guarantees protection against malaria.
  • to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by using personal protective measures that help avoid contact with mosquitoes, especially from dusk to dawn (e.g., staying in well-screened areas, using mosquito nets, covering the body with clothing, and using an effective insect repellent).
  • taking doxycycline to prevent malaria:
    •  should begin 1 to 2 days before travel to the malarious area.
    •  should be continued daily while in the malarious area and after leaving the malarious area.
    •  should be continued for 4 further weeks to avoid development of malaria after returning from an endemic area.
    •  should not exceed 4 months.

 

Doxycycline Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods.

Food, especially food and beverages high in calcium, can slightly decrease the absorption of tetracycline antibiotics, including doxycycline.  However, the absorption of doxycycline is not strongly influenced by food interactions.

Inform MD

Before taking doxycycline, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • have had an allergic reaction to doxycycline (Doryx and Oracea), or other tetracycline antibiotics such as minocycline (Solodyn)
  • take anticoagulants (blood thinners), carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), vitamins, oral contraceptives, or antacids
  • have kidney or liver disease
  • have diabetes
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Doxycycline and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. 

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Doxycycline falls into category D. There is evidence of risk to the unborn baby based on studies in humans or adverse reaction data, but this medication may be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that its benefits to the pregnant woman outweigh any possible risks to her unborn baby.

Doxycycline and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.  The active ingredient in doxycycline is excreted in human breast milk. The effect of doxycycline on the nursing infant is not known, although it may affect bone and tooth development.

Doxycycline Usage

  • Take doxycycline exactly as prescribed.  Do not change the dose or stop taking doxycycline without talking to your doctor. 

Oral:

  • This medication comes in tablet, capsule, and oral suspension (liquid) forms.
  • Doxycycline is typically taken once or twice a day, with a glass of water and with or without food. 
  • You should finish the entire course of treatment of the antibiotic to ensure your infection is treated appropriately. It is important not to skip doses of doxycycline.
  • If doxycycline upsets your stomach, the drug should be taken with food or milk.
  • The oral suspension should be shaken prior to taking the medication.
  • If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of doxycycline at the same time.
  • Doxycycline also comes as a gel to be applied to the the tooth pocket. It is administered by a dentist in a clinic setting.

Injectable:

  • This medication is also available in an injectable form to be given directly into a vein (IV) by a healthcare professional.

Doxycycline Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your weight
  • your height
  • your age
  • your gender

Oral:

  • Take doxycycline exactly as prescribed.  Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.
  • Your doctor will determine the appropriate dosage and schedule of doxycycline depending on the type and severity of your infection, as well as your age.
  • The range of doses for all forms of doxycycline is 100 to 200 mg a day, with a maximum daily dose of 600 mg.
  • When taking doxycycline for the prevention of malaria, you should start taking the drug 1 to 2 days before traveling to an area with malaria. Continue taking doxycycline for 4 weeks after leaving the area with malaria, but not for longer than 4 months total.
  • When being used in a dental setting for the treatment of periodontitis, the amount of doxycycline that is applied per administration is 50 mg. 

Injectable:

  • The recommended dosing range for doxycycline injectable in adults is 100 to 300 mg per day.

Doxycycline Overdose

If you take too much doxycycline, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If doxycycline is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.
 

Other Requirements

  • Store doxycycline at room temperature, below 86°F (30°C).
  • Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.