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Doxycycline belongs to the tetracycline class of antibiotics. It is a broad-spectrum antibiotic used in the treatment of a variety of bacterial infections such as acne, bacterial pneumonia, Lyme disease, chlamydia infections, etc. In combination with quinine, Doxycycline is quite useful in the prevention of malaria. The antibiotic can be taken orally or through injections.

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What Is Doxycycline

Doxycycline belongs to the tetracycline family of antibiotics used for treating bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, respiratory infections, intestinal infections, periodontitis, and others.

Doctors also prescribe Doxycycline for treating blemishes, bumps, and lesions caused by rosacea. Some forms of the drug can also help prevent malaria, treating anthrax exposure and infections caused by lice, ticks, and mites.

Doxycycline Dosage

Make sure to follow the exact doses and timing of doses as prescribed by your doctor. The dosage may vary as per an individual’s age, weight, BMI, current medications, and medical history. Therefore, it is not recommended to self-medicate with this antibiotic. 

Doctors usually prescribe Doxycycline 200 mg divided twice daily in 12 hours intervals. For some cases, you may also have to take a maintenance dose between 100-200 mg/day once a day or split it twice every 12 hours.

How to take Doxycycline?

You can usually take the drug 1 or 2 times a day. Swallow it as a whole with plenty of water. It is a delayed-released capsule, so do not crush it. If you have a problem swallowing it, you break it into two pieces and take them one by one. However, you need to break it with care, ensuring it does not crumble.

If you take the suspension form, shake the bottle well before taking it.

Continue your Doxycycline dose even if you feel well. Your symptoms may be gone, but the bacteria may be present in your body. Therefore, you must complete the dosage as prescribed by your doctor.

If you are taking the antibiotic to prevent malaria, start taking it 1 or 2 days before traveling to the respective area. Continue taking it every day of your stay and four weeks after leaving the place. You should not take this antibiotic for malaria prevention for more than four months.

Continue to take Doxycycline even if you feel well. Take all the medication until you are finished unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

Mechanism of action

Doxycycline works by blocking the protein synthesis of the bacteria by binding itself to the 30S ribosomal subunit, thereby inhibiting its growth and multiplication.

Precautions to follow 

Doxycycline may cause an allergic reaction in rare cases. Ensure to inform your doctor if you have a previous allergic reaction to the drug. Also, tell your doctor if you are allergic to minocycline, demeclocycline, sulfites, or any other ingredients in the medicine.

Tell your doctor about your medical history and current ongoing medications (prescription and nonprescription). Also, inform if you are taking or planning to take any vitamins, herbal or nutritional supplements.

Doxycycline may interact with several drugs, substances, and supplements. Some medicines that interact with this antibiotic include:

  • Acitretin
  • Amoxicillin 
  • Anticoagulants or blood thinners
  • Barbiturates
  • Secobarbital
  • Bisumuth subsalicylate
  • Carbamazepine
  • Isotretinoin
  • Penicillin
  • Phenytoin
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Dexlansoprazole
  • Esomeprazole
  • Lansoprazole
  • Omeprazole
  • Pantoprazole
  • Rabeprazole

We have not mentioned all the drugs in the list, so make sure you get them clarified by your doctor.

Doxycycline can also interact with antacids containing magnesium/aluminum/calcium, calcium & iron supplements, and laxatives containing magnesium.

What are the precautions to be followed?

  • Take the antibiotic drug at least 2 hours before taking any iron products and vitamins, or you can wait for 4 hours after taking the drug.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any kidney/liver/asthma/ stomach diseases, autoimmune diseases like lupus, high blood pressure, intracranial hypertension, a yeast infection in your mouth/vagina, or had recent surgery.
  • This antibiotic may reduce the efficacy of some hormonal contraceptives. Ask your doctor whether you need a different form of birth control.
  • The drug may make your skin sensitive to the sun. Always wear sunscreen and protective clothing and avoid sunlight as much as possible.
  • Doxycycline does not provide complete protection against malaria. You must also use insect repellent, and mosquito nets, and keep your body well-covered while traveling in malaria-prone areas.
  • Taking this antibiotic medicine during pregnancy may interfere with the tooth or bone development of the child.
  • The drug can also pass through the milk to the baby, so do not breastfeed while taking Doxycycline.
  • It may cause permanent teeth staining in babies, children under eight years, and pregnant women. Doctors often prescribe different medications for children less than eight years unless they decide it is the best choice.

Side effects of Doxycycline

Some common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, sore throat, swollen tongue, dry mouth, itching on the rectum/vagina, back pain, anxiety, and color changes in nails/eyes/mouth/skin/scars.

Some severe side effects that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Rash with fever or swollen glands
  • Breathing or swallowing difficulty
  • Easily bruised skin
  • Swelling of eyes/face/throat/tongue or lips
  • Joint or chest pain

Some side effects may occur after or within two months of completing the Doxycycline treatment. This includes water or bloody stools, stomach cramps, fever, sore throat, chills, and other signs of infections.