Doxycycline is used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections such as respiratory, eye, skin, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. It belongs to a group of medicines called ‘tetracycline antibiotics.’
Uses of Doxycycline
- Doxycycline is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections such as infections of the respiratory tract and the lungs (like bronchitis, pneumonia, etc.)
- Urinary tract infections
- Sexually transmitted diseases such as urethral, cervical (lower part of the uterus), anal infections and ulcers in the genital region (chancroid)
- Doxycycline is used as second line treatment for gonorrhea and syphilis
- Pimples and infections of sweat glands (acne vulgaris)
- Eye infections
- Rickettsial infections (fever, chills, severe headache, body pains, loss of appetite, etc.) such as rocky mountain spotted fever, Q fever and tick fevers
- Other infections like malaria, cholera, psittacosis (parrot fever – fever, chills, vomiting, body pains, diarrhea), melioidosis (cough, fever, chest pain, headache) and other similar bacterial infectionsread less
- Prevention of infectious diseases such as scrub typhus (fever, body aches, and rashes), leptospirosis (high fever, chills, body aches, bleeding) and traveler’s diarrhea
Contraindications of Doxycycline
When should one not use Doxycycline
Allergy to Doxycycline or any components of this medicine or other medicines of the class ‘tetracyclines’ – Oxytetracycline, Minocycline, Demeclocycline, etc.
Side effects of Doxycycline
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Extreme skin sensitivity to light causing skin rashes, itching, redness, sunburn (serious, but uncommon)
- Swollen tongue, loose motions, fever, cramps (pseudomembranous colitis); itching near the genital regions or anus; worsening of previously existing allergic reactions; decreased blood cell counts causing easy bleeding, infections, sore throats; ringing in the ears; liver problems (jaundice or yellowing of skin and eyes), irritation of the pancreasread less
- Discoloration of teeth, black hairy tongue, discoloration of thyroid gland, mouth and lip sores, stomach pain, loose motions, indigestion, vomiting, ulcers of the oesophagus (food tube), headache, blurred or permanent loss of vision, bulging head in infants; kidney problems, body aches, detachment of nails etc. (uncommon)read less
- Severe skin reactions causing rashes, redness, patches on the skin, blisters, ulcers, skin peeling, like burning (Stevens-Johnson syndrome); fever chills, headache, body pains, rashes (Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction), or allergic reactions causing fever, rashes, blood cell abnormalities (DRESS syndrome) – serious, but rareread less
- Severe allergic reactions causing swelling of face, throat, lips, swallowing or breathing difficulty with or without rashes, skin blisters, low blood pressure (serious, but rare)
Precautions and Warnings of Doxycycline
Can I take Doxycycline during pregnancy?
Doxycycline is not recommended during pregnancy as it has the potential to harm the unborn baby.
Can I take Doxycycline while breastfeeding?
Doxycycline is secreted in breast milk and can harm the baby. It is not advisable to consume this medicine during breastfeeding.
Can I drive if I have consumed Doxycycline?
Doxycycline may not affect your ability to drive but you are advised not to drive if you experience any side effects such as blurred vision or any other visual disturbances.
Can I consume alcohol with Doxycycline?
Doxycycline interacts with alcohol and increases the intensity of unwanted effects of alcohol. Hence, it is best advised to avoid alcohol while taking this medicine. Do not take alcohol for at least 48 hours before or after stopping this medicine.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- Liver disease
- A genetic disorder of blood resulting in defective hemoglobin, purple patches on the skin and nerve damage (porphyria)
- A type of muscle weakness (myasthenia gravis)
- Sensitivity to light
- A disorder of the immune system causing rashes on the face, fever, joint and body pains, hair loss (systemic lupus erythematosus)
Mode of Action of Doxycycline
How Does It Work?
Doxycycline interferes with the formation of proteins, which are essential for the survival and growth of bacteria. This will prevent the bacterial replication and thus controls the infection.
Interactions of Doxycycline
Interactions with other medicines
- Use the following medicines with caution:
- Warfarin (blood-thinning agent, used to prevent blood clots)
- Penicillin and Rifampicin (antibiotics)
- Antacids or Sucralfate (reduce acidity of stomach)
- Sleeping tablets (Phenobarbital, etc.)
- Carbamazepine, Phenytoin or Primidone (to treat seizures)
- Methoxyflurane (used for anesthesia)
- Cyclosporine (to suppress immune response)
- Ergotamine or methysergide (for migraine)
- Kaolin (for loose motions)
- Methotrexate (to treat cancers, joint pains)
- Quinapril (for high blood pressure)
- Birth control pills
- Retinoids (vitamin A compounds used for skin growth)
- Typhoid vaccines
Interactions with food items
Doxycycline can be taken with or without food. The capsules can be taken with water, milk, or food.
Dietary Restrictions of Doxycycline
Drink plenty of fluids.
Dosage of Doxycycline
Accidental overdose of Doxycycline may not be harmful. Reach out to the doctor in the presence of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Missed a Dose
- If you forget to take a dose, follow the regular dose schedule. Do not take a higher or double dose to make up for the missed dose
- Doxycycline is ordinarily taken once or twice a day. Hence, make sure there is at least a 12-hour gap between 2 dosages
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What else should I know before taking Doxycycline?
- Always take Doxycycline under medical supervision
- If taking capsules with water is irritating your stomach or causing loose motions, take the tablets with food or milk. You should take it in sitting or standing position and make sure not to lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking this medicineread less
- This medicine is preferably taken at night, 1-2 hours before going to bed
- Doxycycline should be taken for at least 10 days and do not stop the medicine earlier, even if you feel better. Improper usage may result in reduced efficacy. This medicine should not be used in higher doses than recommendedread less
- If you are taking any antacids, make sure there is at least 2 hour gap before or after taking the medicine
- Doxycycline should not be used in children in less than 8 years of age
Q: Is Doxycycline an effective antibiotic?
- Doxycycline is a safe, well-tolerated, and a widely used antibiotic, which is in use since a long time for the treatment of a variety of bacterial infections
- Dose adjustment is not required in kidney or liver failure
- It works effectively when taken orally with minimum side effects and interactions with other medicines
- Absorption and tissue penetration rates of Doxycycline are very good compared to other antibiotics
- It reduces the efficacy of birth control pills and alternative methods of contraception such as condoms or loops must be used while taking Doxycycline
- This medicine is available in the form of capsules and injection
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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