Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic that fights bacteria in the body. It is used to treat several types of bacterial infections such as:
- Eye infection
- Gum disease like periodontitis
- Intestinal infection
- Chest infection such as chronic bronchitis flare-up or pneumonia
- Urinary tract infection, inflammation of the urethra
- Infections of the lymphatic system
- Certain skin infections
- Lyme disease
- Sexually transmitted disease like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis
- Clostridial infection
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Infections caused by
You can take doxycycline to prevent the following conditions:
- Traveller’s diarrhea
- Infectious disease called Scrub typhus
- Typhoid fever
Doxycycline is also used along with other medications in treating bumps, blemishes, abscesses on the face, and acne-like lesions due to rosacea. Some forms of this medicine are used to prevent infections caused by Rickettsia microorganism transmitted by tick, fleas, lice and mites.
Doxycycline is a good alternative antibiotic especially for people who are allergic to penicillin. It’s safe for people who are 65 years and above and even to those who have kidney problems. It’s one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the US and is even listed on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.
As a tetracycline antibiotic, this medicine works by killing the bacteria that causes infection. Doxycycline crosses the membrane of the bacteria and accumulate in high concentration in the cytoplasm. It inhibits the synthesis of the bacterial proteins by binding to certain units of the protein. Bacteria use protein for many purposes. If bacteria can’t make protein, they won’t grow and will then die off.
When and How to Use Doxycycline
The dose and the duration of treatment of Doxycycline depends on the following:
- Type of infection
- Severity of infection
- The Strength of the medicine
For most adult infection, the recommended dose is 100 mg every 12 hours during the first day. The dose may be decrease to 100 mg once a day. The dose for children weighing 45 kg or more is 100 mg every 12 hours on the first day. The dose then is decreased to 50 mg every 12 hours. The peak effect of doxycycline can be observed within 1.5 hours to 4 hours of administration. The duration of the effect lasts for an average duration of 2 days.
For the prevention of malaria, the dose is 100mg once a day taken 1 to 2 days before traveling to an area where there is malaria. Continue taking the medicine daily throughout your travel. After leaving the malaria area, continue taking for another 4 weeks.
Take Doxycycline exactly as prescribed. Take it at least an hour before a meal with plenty of water. After taking Doxycycline, do not take medicines, supplements containing iron, calcium, zinc or magnesium because these can reduce the absorption of the medicine in the gut.
Possible Side Effects of Doxycycline
Doxycycline may cause unwanted side effects aside from its intended effects. Common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Back pain
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen tongue
- Sore or irritated throat
Call your doctor right away in case of serious side effects like:
- Chest pain or fast heartbeat
- Allergic reaction with signs like hives, itching, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat, difficulty breathing and swallowing
- Liver problems with sings like stomach pain, jaundice, dark-colored urine
- Fever, chills or sore throat
- Severe dizziness
- Swollen gland
- Vaginal itching or discharge
What should I know before taking Doxycycline?
- Some patients who are taking Doxycycline experiences skin sensitivity to sunlight causing an exaggerated sunburn reaction. For this reason, avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight.
- Diarrhea is common during treatment with doxycycline but prolonged use of this medicine and other antibiotics can lead to a severe form of diarrhea called C. diff. associated diarrhea or CDAD. CDAD may happen during or even months after taking antibiotics. If this will happen to you, do not take anti-diarrhea medication. Contact your doctor.
- This medication is not suitable for most adult and children under 12 years old. It should not be taken by:
- Pregnant women unless it’s to prevent malaria
- Women who are breastfeeding as this can pass into breast milk
- If you are allergic to other tetracycline-type of antibiotic
- Lower dose is needed among patients with:
- Kidney or liver problems
- Myasthenia gravis
- Long-term inflammation of skin and some internal organs called systemic lupus erythematosus
- Drinking a small amount of alcohol is unlikely to cause a problem provided that you don’t have liver problems and that you don’t feel unwell.
Getting the Best Result from Doxycycline
- Pregnant women should not use doxycycline as this can harm the unborn baby particularly during the second and third trimesters. The medicine can be deposited in the growing bones affecting the development of the skeleton and teeth. If you will travel in malaria infected area and wish to take this medication, talk with your doctor about this.
- Finish the entire course of your treatment. Do not stop taking your medicine even if you feel better or your infection may seems to clear up. Stopping the course will increase your chance of getting the infection back. It will only make the bacteria more resistant to the antibiotic.
- Tell your doctor if you are taking anti-blood clotting medications like Warfarin as this can increase the blood clotting effect of the medicine.
- Avoid taking medicines that contains zinc, magnesium, calcium, aluminum and antacids two hours before or after taking this medicine. These medicines can reduce the absorption of doxycycline in the gut making it less effective.
- Aside from anti-blood clotting medications, inform also your doctor what other medications you are taking including those bought over-the-counter, vitamins, nutritional and herbal supplements.