What is Doxycycline?
Doxycycline is a type of antibiotic called a tetracycline. It is used to treat infections caused by bacteria. The active ingredient doxycycline works by interfering with the ability of bacteria to produce proteins that are essential to them. Without these proteins the bacteria cannot multiply and die off. As a result, the symptoms of a bacterial infection, such as pain and fever, reduce within a number of days.
What is Doxycycline used for?
Doxycycline is a broad spectrum antibiotic that is active against a wide variety of bacteria. It is prescribed for:
- Respiratory infections such as pneumonia, middle ear infection, bronchitis, sinus infection, laryngitis;
- Bladder infection;
- Skin infections such as rosacea and acne;
- Gastrointestinal infections;
- STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis;
- Lyme's disease;
How to use Doxycycline
Doxycycline is available in capsule form. The capsules should be swallowed without chewing with plenty of liquid, preferably while you are standing. This is to prevent the medicine getting stuck and irritating the throat. To prevent stomach complaints, this medicine may be taken with or directly after meals. It is important that you finish the prescribed course, even if you feel better or it seems the infection has cleared up. Stopping the course early increases the chance that the infection will come back.
Unless the doctor instructs otherwise, the usual dose for treating most bacterial infections in adults and children aged 12 and above is: Two 100-mg capsules on the first day, followed by one 100-mg capsule daily thereafter for six days. For children under the age of 12 the appropriate dose is determined by a doctor. Doxycycline 100 mg is not suitable for children under the age of 8. Read the package leaflet before use.
Like all medicines, Doxycycline can have side effects, although most people do not experience any. In rare cases, it may cause:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (stomach ache, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting). These side effects can be prevented by taking the capsules after a meal;
- Discolouration of the tongue (black tongue);
- Vaginal or anal yeast infection;
- Increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight.
See the package leaflet for a complete list of possible side effects.
When not to use Doxycycline
Doxycycline is not suitable for everyone and should not be used if:
- You are allergic to doxycycline or any other ingredient in this medicine;
- You are pregnant.
- Younger than 8 years of age
Consult your doctor if your blood clotting is abnormal. Doxycycline interacts with other medicines, such as certain epilepsy medicines and anticoagulant medicines. It is therefore important that you tell the doctor what other medicines you are currently taking. See the package leaflet for more information on contraindications and interactions.
Doxycycline is not prescribed during pregnancy as it may be harmful to the unborn baby. (This medicine can be deposited in growing bone, affecting the development of the skeleton, and in teeth, causing discolouration.) Doxycycline should also not be used, or only with your doctor's approval, if you are breastfeeding. Doxycycline does not interact with alcohol or affect your ability to drive safely. There are no dietary restrictions with this medicine.
Important when you order Doxycycline
Please note that on some occasions the Doxycycline capsules may come in a bottle rather than blister packs, because each patient is having these medicines dispensed as a personalised service against a prescription for a quantity which is personal to them, and might not be the same quantity as a "full box".