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- Doxycycline is an antibiotic used to treat a number of infections
- It is part of the tetracycline group of antibiotics
- It is used to treat the sexually transmitted infections chlamydia and gonorrhoea
- It is effective in preventing malaria
- It is important to read the patient leaflet for a full list of side effects and cautions.
How Does Doxycycline Work?
Doxycycline is an antibiotic that treats infections by preventing the bacteria from growing and multiplying. It does this by stopping the bacterial proteins from working properly, thus inhibiting the effect of the bacteria.
Some bacteria can invade our own body cells, which often makes it hard for the antibiotics to reach and kill them. Doxycycline can attack bacteria that works in this way, making it an effective antibiotic choice.
Antibiotics are designed to treat certain infections, and so it is important to be sure that doxycycline is the best medication for your infection. You may need to undergo an infection screen or test to confirm which bacteria is causing your symptoms.
How is Doxycycline Taken?
Doxycycline is available in capsule form. Each capsule should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. It is best to take doxycycline with a meal, and to swallow it sitting up to avoid the capsule irritating the throat or food pipe (oesophagus).
Avoid taking doxycycline just before you go to bed, as lying down may cause the capsule to irritate the oeseophagus.
As with all antibiotics, you should finish the course even if you feel better within a few days. Stopping too soon will mean the infection could return, and can increase the risk of bacterial resistance in the population.
Dosage of Doxycycline
Your dose of doxycycline will depend on which type of infection you require the treatment for. The usual dose is 100mg or 200mg once or twice a day.
If you are taking doxycycline to prevent malaria, the dose is 100mg once a day. You should start taking it two days before entering an area where there is malaria, and continue taking it for four weeks after leaving the area.
Are there any Side Effects?
Like many antibiotics, some people will experience side effects when taking doxycycline. The most common side effects are:
- Nausea or vomiting (feeling sick or being sick)
- Increased sensitivity to sunlight.
Be sure to wear high factor sun block to avoid sunburn. You can take simple painkillers to treat the headache. However, if symptoms persist speak to a healthcare professional.
More serious side effects affect fewer people, but include:
- Unexplained bruising or bleeding
- Feeling tired or unwell
- A temperature of more than 38oC
- Diarrhoea that might be bloody or contain mucus
- Ringing or buzzing in the ears
- Pale poo and dark urine with yellowing skin or eyes – this could be a sign of liver problems
- Joint or muscle aches and pains
- Severe headaches, vomiting or changes in your vision – this could be a sign of increased pressure around your brain
- Fingernails coming away at the base
- Sore mouth, lips or tongue
- Severe stomach pains
- Pain or difficulty swallowing which could be due to an inflamed food pipe (oesophagus).
If any of the above occur, speak to your doctor.
If you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) including breathlessness, lip or tongue swelling, call 999 immediately.
Doxycycline is not recommended for pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding.
During the Consultation with EU Meds, you will be asked to complete a health questionnaire to check that doxycycline is suitable for you. Doxycycline may be unsuitable for people including those who:
- Have liver or kidney problems
- Have an inflamed food pipe (oesophagitis)
- Have lupus or myasthenia gravis
- Have ever had an allergic reaction to medication.
As doxycycline may interact with other medications, a prescriber from EU Meds will review your current medications to ensure that doxycycline will suit you.
Once prescribed, you can order doxycycline online for home delivery.