Doxycycline hyclate is an antibiotic in the tetracycline family. This medicine is a versatile treatment for many different bacterial infections, including bacteria with both Gram-positive and Gram-negative cell walls. Doxycycline works by interfering with bacterial protein production. It is also effective against other microbiota, including some protozoa and atypical pathogens.

Doctors may prescribe doxycycline as a tablet, capsule, delayed-release tablet, and a liquid. This antibiotic can cause mild side effects, including upset stomach, digestive issues, headache, and sun sensitivity. Allergic reactions are rare but possible.

Doxycycline is commonly used for respiratory infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), skin infections, sexually transmitted diseases, Lyme disease, and some forms of acne. Since it has anti-plasmodial effects, international travelers going to regions with drug-resistant malaria are sometimes given doxycycline as a preventative treatment against malaria.

It’s essential to take antibiotics like doxycycline as prescribed, even once you start to feel better. Many patients notice improvements within a few days of starting their doxycycline treatment. That’s because the medicine has begun to attack the infectious bacteria. However, doxycycline needs time to wipe out the full bacterial load. Take all of your medicine to avoid another infection.

Doxycycline is not effective against viruses like COVID-19 or the flu. It only works against bacteria and some other infectious agents.

How Does Doxycycline Work?

Doxycycline’s mechanism of action involves binding to microscopic ribosomes within bacterial cells. These ribosomes typically assemble proteins from small groups of chemicals. Cells use proteins to manage all cellular work, including generating energy, breaking down waste, repairing themselves, reproducing, and more.

Specifically, doxycycline bonds to the 30S ribosomal subunit, usually communicating instructions about proteins being made. By binding to this ribosome, doxycycline prevents it from communicating with other cell parts, keeping proteins from being assembled. Eventually, the bacterial cell can’t perform its tasks, and bacteria die after encountering doxycycline.

Doxycycline Precautions and Warnings 

Doxycycline isn’t safe for people allergic to it or other tetracycline-based antibiotics. Before taking this prescription, tell your doctor about all your medical and other allergies. Doxycycline antibiotics sometimes contain soy and sulfites as inactive ingredients.

Doxycycline can cause skin sensitivity and change the color of your body. While on doxycycline, avoid excessive sun exposure and use sun protection, such as sunscreen, lip sunscreen, hats, and long-sleeved shirts. This medicine can also darken the color of your body, including your skin, teeth, eyes, nails, gums, and scars.

If you’re using doxycycline as a preventative malarial treatment, you can still get malaria. The antibiotic will help fight the infection but can’t keep you from being infected in the first place. Avoid mosquitoes using netting, bug spray, and protective clothing as much as possible.

Doxycycline should not be used during pregnancy because this medicine can harm developing babies. Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant before using doxycycline.

Doxycycline can cause false positives in some tests, including both medical screens and drug tests.

Many different types of antibiotics are available. If doxycycline isn’t suitable for you, your doctor will find a better choice to treat your infection. Let your doctor know about your complete medical history since doxycycline can make some conditions worse. This is especially true if you have a history, or a family history, of the following:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Throat or esophagus problems
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Acid reflux/heartburn

Side Effects of Doxycycline

Like many antibiotics, doxycycline can cause digestive side effects, including diarrhea, nausea, and an upset stomach. The human digestive tract is usually full of valuable bacteria. These bacteria comprise the microbiome and play an essential role in many biological processes. The gut microbiome helps break down food during digestion. It also appears to interact with the nervous system and mental health in ways scientists are beginning to understand.

Unfortunately, doxycycline attacks your body’s beneficial and infectious bacteria. You may experience diarrhea during or after your doxycycline dose, including up to two months after finishing the prescription. Over-the-counter diarrhea treatments can make these symptoms worse. Tell your doctor if you have diarrhea, especially if it lasts over a few days.

Some patients experience skin reactions to doxycycline. These include the following symptoms:

  • Rash
  • Redness
  • Peeling
  • Blistering
  • Loose skin
  • Severe acne
  • Sores
  • Ulcers

Allergic Reaction

Tell your doctor if you have any signs of an allergic or autoimmune response, such as:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Joint pain
  • Tiredness

Drug Interactions with Doxycycline

Antibiotics can interfere with many other medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements, herbs, alcohol, marijuana, and others. Ask your doctor what medicines are safe to take while you’re on doxycycline.

Doxycycline commonly interacts with the following drugs:

  • Oral retinoids
  • Barbiturates
  • Blood thinners (such as Eliquis and Xarelto) and anticoagulants
  • Digoxin
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Strontium

Strengths and Dosages of Doxycycline

Doxycycline is available in various formats, dosages, and strengths. This means that doxycycline is a versatile treatment that can be used for many purposes.

Dosage Form Strength
Capsule 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg
IV solution powder 100mg
Syrup 50 mg/5 ml
Oral liquid 25 mg/5 ml
Tablet 20 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg
Delayed-release tablet 50 mg, 60 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, 120 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg
Delayed-release capsule 40 mg

Doxycycline is generally not prescribed to children under 8 years old because of its potential for staining teeth. However, it may be prescribed to these patients if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Alternatives to Doxycycline

Yes, there are other tetracycline antibiotics available in America. Some of these options include:

  • Amzeeq
  • Declomycin
  • Dynacin
  • Lymepak
  • Minocin
  • Minolira
  • Morgidox
  • Nuzyra
  • Okebo
  • Seysara
  • Solodyn
  • Tetracyn
  • Tygacil
  • Xerava
  • Zilxi

Doxycycline FAQs

Why was I prescribed doxycycline?

Doxycycline is an antibiotic that also has some anti-plasmodial properties. You were probably prescribed doxycycline because you have an infection it can treat. Doxycycline is especially effective against acne, respiratory diseases, urinary tract infections, and sexually transmitted infections. It’s also used as a preventative treatment for people who have been exposed to anthrax or who may be exposed to malaria.

What if I have diarrhea on doxycycline?

Diarrhea is an unpleasant but common side effect of many antibiotics. Doxycycline and other similar drugs kill the “good” bacteria in your digestive tract, which can lead to diarrhea and other digestive complaints. However, doxycycline is sometimes associated with longer-lasting diarrhea. This can last up to two months after finishing your prescription. Over-the-counter diarrhea remedies can make the condition worse, not better. Don’t take diarrhea medicine on doxycycline without instructions from your doctor. Let them know immediately if these symptoms last more than a few days.

Can I stop taking doxycycline once I start to feel better?

No, it would be best if you took the entire doxycycline round as prescribed. Antibiotics need time to kill all the infectious bacteria in your system. If you stop taking doxycycline early, a few bacterial cells might survive- just a few cells are enough to make your infection return. You can use all your medication as directed for the best results.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

Product was successfully added to your cart!