Doxycycline is an antibiotic, used for treating different kinds of bacterial infections like acne, Lyme disease, urinary tract infections, anthrax, chlamydia, gonorrhea and periodontitis, to name a few. This tetracycline antibiotic may also be used in the treatment of bumps, blemishes and lesions similar to acne, like rosacea (however, it cannot treat the redness on face caused by rosacea).
For information on how the drug concentration levels vary in the body with time and its pharmacology you may look at doxycycline pharmacology.
Doxycycline is also commercially sold as –
What You Should Know About Doxycycline
Pregnancy or Breast Feeding
Refrain from using doxycycline in case of pregnancy.
May cause harm to the developing foetus
May cause permanent damage to unborn baby
May cause permanent discoloration of teeth later in life of baby to be born
Doxycycline may inhibit the effectiveness of birth control pills. In such cases, consulting the doctor and going for a non-hormone birth control measure like diaphragm, condom or spermicide is recommended, so as to prevent pregnancy while being on doxycycline medication.
Avoid this medicine if you are experiencing allergic reactions to it or have already experienced allergies from sulfites or other tetracycline antibiotics like –
Before resorting to this antibiotic, make it a point to update your doctor if you currently have a history of any one or more of these health ailments –
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
This medicine is not meant for treating bacterial problems in children below 8 years as it may cause permanent graying or yellowing of teeth.
Doxycycline is commercially sold in the form of capsule, syrup, suspension as well as tablet. Generally, the drug is recommended to be taken once to twice a day, accompanied by a full glass of water.
With or Without Dairy
Doxycycline should be taken exactly as prescribed by the doctor, with or without food. However, do not take the medicine with milk or any other dairy product unless your doctor has recommended so. Dairy makes it difficult for the body to absorb doxycycline easily. If you have been prescribed the medicine with milk or milk products, which might be possible in case of your body’s special needs, then, do ask your pharmacist to give you that brand of doxycycline, which can be consumed with milk.
Refrain from breaking or crushing the Oracea medicine. Also, do not take the medicine if it has passed the expiry date. The pill should be swallowed whole. Opening or breaking the capsule will release too much of the drug, all at once. Furthermore, breaking will damage the enteric coating of the pill, which is otherwise meant to protect the stomach.
If you have been prescribed the Doryx tablet, then, you may well break it and mix the powdered tablet into a spoonful of applesauce or pudding. This will make it easy for you to swallow the medicine. However, remember that you need only to swallow the medicine and not chew it. Also, have it all at once, without saving any portion to be taken later.
If the doxycycline you have been prescribed comes in the liquid form, then, measure it in a special medicine measuring cup or spoon, instead of a regular spoon.
Make sure you are taking this antibiotic for its full prescribed time length. You may experience the symptoms fading away gradually and your good health is returning even before the course is complete. However, do not take this as an opportunity to stop the medication. This is because, while the medicine is gradually alleviating the condition with visible results to some extent, the internal healing is still underway. Skipping the doses may bring you back to the higher risk category of further infection that may be resistant to the antibiotic altogether. Moreover, in the process, if you contract viral infections like flu or common cold, doxycycline will not be able to treat them.
If you will be undergoing a surgical operation for some other ailment, you need to update the surgeon well ahead of time that you are on doxycycline medication. In such a case, the surgeon may advise you to stop the medication for a short time until the surgery is over.
Doxycycline is best stored at room temperature, away from heat and moisture.
Precautions Before Taking Doxycycline
Discard any medicine that has crossed its expiration date as labeled or if it has remained unused for a very long period of time. Consuming expired doxycycline may damage the kidneys.
Often, antibiotics trigger diarrhea in certain people, which indicates a fresh infection. If you are having bloody or watery diarrhea, stop the medication immediately and seek medical attention. Also, refrain from treating yourself to any anti-diarrhea medicine without the doctor’s consent.
When on this medication, avoid the tanning beds or exposure to sunlight, as, the drug makes you more prone to sunburn. It is recommended that you wear protecting clothing and apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, every time you have to step outdoors.
Two hours prior to or post taking the medicine, do not take any multivitamin, iron or calcium supplement, laxative or antacid.
Missing a dose
If you miss a dose of the drug, make it a point to take it as soon as you remember. However, if you remember it closer to the time for the next scheduled dose, it is recommended that you skip the missed dose altogether. You need not take extra medication for making up for the missed dose.
In case of overdose, you may experience symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. In such a case, get medical attention at the earliest.
If you are a diabetes patient, then, doxycycline may show false results in certain sugar tests in the urine. So, it is important that you check with your physician before altering your diet or the diabetes medicine.
It is not a good idea to share your medicine with another, as your prescription may not be refillable. In a case, where some of the symptoms are still persisting even after the course of the antibiotic is over, do pay a visit to the doctor.
Side Effects of Doxycycline
If you experience an allergic reaction such as follows, on treating yourself to this drug, resort to immediate medical attention –
Fast heart rate, weakness, confusion, nausea, vomiting
Loss of appetite, severe skin reaction, peeling, blistering
Vaginal discharge or itching, upset stomach
Drugs Interfering with Doxycycline
Some common medicines which may interfere with the normal functioning of this antibiotic are:
Cholesterol lowering medicines like Colestipol (Colestid) and Cholestyramine ( Questran, Prevalite)
Tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova, Vesanoid)
Antacids like Milk of Magnesia, Tums, Maalox etc
Blood thinners like warfarin (Jantoven, Coumadin); or
Penicillin antibiotics like amoxicillin, ampicillin, dicloxacillin, etc.
Other Uses of Doxycycline
Doxycycline can also be administered to malaria patients. However, you need to consult your physician about the potential risks of using this drug for your condition. In case of someone who is planning to travel to a malaria prone region, generally, they are prescribed to start taking the drug a day or two before travelling. In that case, they would also need to continue the medicine at a stretch for 4 weeks, even after they have left the region. For prevention of malaria, doxycycline should be taken for over 4 months.
Sometimes, the medicine is also used by the doctors in treating several other ailments as well, which, you can find out from your doctor.