Why is this medication prescribed?
Doxycycline is used to treat bacterial infections, including pneumonia, lyme disease, acne, venereal (sexually transmitted) diseases, and inhalational anthrax (after exposure). It also is used to prevent malaria. Doxycycline is in a class of medications called tetracycline antibiotics. It works by preventing the growth and spread of bacteria. Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
How should this medicine be used?
Doxycycline comes as a regular and a coated capsule, a tablet, a syrup, and a suspension (liquid), all to take by mouth. Doxycycline usually is taken with or without food once or twice a day for 7 to 60 days. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take doxycycline exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Drink a full glass of water with each dose of the capsule or tablet. Shake the syrup or suspension well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
Continue to take doxycycline even if you feel well. Take all the medication until you are finished, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking doxycycline,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to doxycycline, minocycline, tetracycline, sulfites (for doxycycline syrup only), or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially antacids, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin), barbiturates, carbamazepine (Tegretol), penicillin, phenytoin (Dilantin), and vitamins. Doxycycline decreases the effectiveness of some oral contraceptives; another form of birth control should be used while taking this drug.
- be aware that antacids, calcium supplements, iron products, and laxatives containing magnesium interfere with doxycycline, making it less effective. Take doxycycline 1 hour before or 2 hours after antacids (including sodium bicarbonate), calcium supplements, and laxatives containing magnesium. Take doxycycline 2 hours before or 3 hours after iron preparations and vitamin products that contain iron.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes or kidney or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking doxycycline, call your doctor immediately. Doxycycline can harm the fetus.
- plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Doxycycline may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.
- you should know that when doxycycline is used during pregnancy or in babies or children up to age 8, it can cause the teeth to become permanently stained. Doxycycline should not be used in children under age 8 except for inhalational anthrax or if your doctor decides it is needed.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from doxycycline are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- itching of the rectum or vagina
- sore mouth
If you experience the following symptom, call your doctor immediately:
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison controlcenter at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsedor is not breathing, call local emergency services at911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and laboratory. Your doctor will want to check your response to doxycycline.
If you have diabetes, doxycycline can cause false results in some tests for sugar in the urine. Check with your doctor before changing your diet or the dosage of your diabetes medicine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the doxycycline, call your doctor.