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Brand Name(s) : Doxylar, Vibramycin, Vibramycin-D, Periostat, Efracea
Side Effects


Doxycycline should be used with caution in: patients with liver problems or who are taking medicines which affects the liver, systemic lupus erythematosus (a long-term allergic condition that causes joint pain, skin rashes or fever), myasthenia gravis (a muscle weakness disease), sensitivity to light (avoid exposure to sunlight or sun lamps), and alcohol dependence.

Indigestion remedies or medicines containing aluminium, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc should not be taken at the same time as doxycycline but can be taken 2 or 3 hours before or after.

It should not be used in: children under 12 years of age, pregnant or breast-feeding women, people hypersensitive (allergic) to doxycycline, other similar antibiotics such as tetracycline or minocycline or to any of its ingredients, or those with a blood disorder called acute porphyria.

Also see list of precautions and interactions.


Store below 25ºC.


What is it used for?

  • Doxycycline is used to treat a number of problems.
  • It is a tetracycline antibacterial drug, sometimes known as an antibiotic.
  • It is a broad spectrum antibiotic (which means it is effective against a wide range of bacteria) used to treat infections caused by bacteria in many different parts of the body.
  • In general this drug is used to treat respiratory tract infections e.g. bronchitis, pneumonia, sinusitis; urinary tract infections e.g. cystitis; sexually transmitted diseases e.g. gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia; acne which is a skin infection; eye infections; fevers (high temperature) associated with louse or tick bites; oral infections and malaria. It is also used to prevent certain infections such as malaria, scrub typhus, travellers’ diarrhoea and leptospirosis (a bacterial infection caught by direct or indirect contact with animals especially rodents such as rats). This medicine can also be used to treat many other infections caused by bacteria.
  • Benefits of being on this drug can include treatment and prevention of certain bacterial infections.

Listed below are the typical uses of doxycycline.

On occasion your doctor may prescribe this medicine to treat a condition not on the above list.


This medication is available as capsules, dispersible tablets (which should first be dissolved in water) and as a modified release preparation (designed to release the drug over a long time into your body, usually several hours) of capsules.

How often do I take it?

  • Take this medication by mouth, usually once or twice daily, with or without food. Capsules should be swallowed whole with a full glass of water whilst sitting or standing to avoid irritation to the throat.
  • Use this medication for the duration of the prescription in order to get the most benefit from it.
  • Remember to use it at the same time each day - unless specifically told not to by your doctor.
  • It may take some time before the full benefit of this drug takes effect.
  • Certain medical conditions may require different dosage instructions as directed by your doctor.

What dose?

  • Dosage is based on your age, gender, medical condition, response to therapy, and use of certain interacting medicines.

Do I need to avoid anything?

  • Avoid taking indigestion remedies or medicines containing iron or zinc at the same time as taking this medicine. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When can I stop?

  • Always complete the full course as prescribed by your doctor.


  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears)
  • Liver inflammation
  • Changes in liver function tests
  • Pancreas inflammation
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Tooth discolouration with prolonged use
  • Rashes
  • Red blotchy spots on the skin
  • Itching
  • Increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight (photosensitivity)
  • Inflammation and ulcers of the gullet, causing pain when swallowing
  • Headache with or without disturbances in eyesight.
  • Severe skin reactions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (rash with flushing, fever, blisters or ulcers), toxic epidermal necrolysis (reddening, peeling and swelling similar to burns).
If any of these persist or you consider them severe then inform your doctor or pharmacist.

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms: skin that is very sensitive to light (skin rash, itching, redness or severe sunburn on exposure to sunlight or sun beds), yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice); severe, persistent or bloody diarrhoea (which may be associated with stomach pain or fever); worsening of systemic lupus erythematosus; or persistent or severe headache, particularly with eyesight disturbances.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine (which includes vaccines, herbals and over the counter medicines) that you are taking. It is run by the medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA). Please report any suspected side effect on the Yellow Card Scheme website.


Before taking doxycycline, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other antibiotics; or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist in case of: a blood disorder called acute porphyria.

Before using this medication tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially any of the following: liver problems, systemic lupus erythematosus (a long-term allergic condition that causes joint pain, skin rashes or fever), myasthenia gravis (a muscle weakness disease), sensitivity to light or alcohol dependence.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Does alcohol intake affect this drug?

  • You should not drink alcohol whilst taking doxycycline.

The elderly: doxycycline can be used in the elderly.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding - please ensure you read the detailed information below


Doxycycline should not be taken if you are, or are planning to become, pregnant.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during pregnancy whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Doxycycline should not be taken if you are breastfeeding.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during breastfeeding whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Before using this medicine, tell your prescriber of all the medicines you are taking including prescription medicines and medicines you have bought over the counter without a prescription. Tell your prescriber if you are taking vitamins or complementary remedies such as herbal products, as these can also interact with medicines.

If you are taking more than one medicine, these may interact with each other. Your prescriber may decide to use medicines which interact with each other if the benefit outweighs the risks. In these cases, the dose of your medicines may need to be adjusted or you may be monitored more closely.

The following may interact with doxycyxline:

  • Retinoids, used to treat acne, psoriasis and leukaemia (e.g. isotretinoin, tretinoin or acitretin)
  • Blood thinning medicines such as warfarin and phenindione
  • Oral contraceptives (the pill)
  • Ciclosporin (immunosuppressant usually used following organ transplants)
  • Penicillin
  • Rifampicin
  • Medicines used to treat epilepsy such as phenobarbital, carbamazepine, phenytoin or primidone
  • Methoxyflurane (an anaesthetic)
  • Methotrexate
  • Strontium ranelate (used in osteoporosis)
  • Sucralfate
  • Sulfonylureas (used in diabetes)
  • Supplements containing calcium, aluminium, magnesium, zinc or iron
  • Antacids, used in indigestion remedies
  • Quinapril, used to lower blood pressure

This information does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, tell your prescriber of all the products you are using before taking this medicine.

If you have a question or want to discuss anything about your medicine, speak to your local pharmacist.


If you think you, or someone you care for, might have accidentally taken more than the recommended dose of doxycycline or intentional overdose is suspected, contact your local hospital, GP or if in England call 111. In Scotland call NHS 24. In Wales, call NHS Direct Wales. In the case of medical emergencies, always dial 999.


If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

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Source: Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by Boots UK Limited. This copyrighted material is sourced from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorised by the applicable terms of use.
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse events, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any medicine, changing any diet, or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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