Brand Name:Apo-Doxy, Apo-Doxy-Tabs, Novo-Doxylin, Nu-Doxycycline, ratio-Doxycycline, Vibra-Tabs

Prescription needed: Yes

What is this drug used for?

Doxycycline is an antibiotic that is primarily used to treat infections caused by bacteria, including pneumonia, bronchitis, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and infections of the bladder, kidney, prostate, stomach, ears, nose, skin, and throat.

It can be used in the long-term treatment of acne or to prevent malaria when traveling to other countries where malaria is prevalent.

Is there any reason not to take this drug?

You should not take this drug if you are allergic to doxycycline, minocycline, or tetracycline. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:

  • porphyria (blood disorder)
  • problems with your liver
  • heartburn or a condition called esophagitis

What about possible side effects?

The most common side effects are:

  • increased sensitivity of the skin to the sun
  • not feeling hungry and nausea
  • heartburn or esophagitis (can be minimized if the medication is taken properly)

Other less common side effects include:

  • rash, itching
  • liver problems (rare) - reports of hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) and jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes) have been reported; call your doctor if you experience unexplained nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine, yellowing of the skin and/or eyes
  • problems with the blood (e.g. thrombocytopenia, leukpenia) - rare; call your doctor immediately if you experience unusual bleeding, bruising, unexplained sore throat, fever, chills, or other signs of infection

This is not a complete list of side effects. If you are concerned about these or other unusual symptoms while taking this medication, ask your doctor and/or pharmacist for more information and advice.

What if I am taking other drugs?

Always provide your doctor with a list of all other drugs you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and herbal/natural products) as they may interact with and/or may change the safety or effectiveness of either drug. Tell your doctor specifically if you are taking any of these drugs as these are the most common interactions and he/she may need to make changes or monitor you more closely:
  • antacids, calcium supplements, cholestyramine, iron, kaolin/pectin laxatives, bismuth subsalicylate - these drugs will decrease the amount of doxycycline that can get into the body; try to avoid use of these drugs together. If not possible, MUST take doxycycline at least two to three hours before or after one of these medications. Talk to your pharmacist.
  • carbamazepine, phenytoin, rifampin - may see decrease amount of doxycycline in the blood
  • birth control pills - although it is controversial, doxycycline may decrease how well the birth control pill can work; talk to your doctor or pharmacist
  • methotrexate
  • warfarin
  • digoxin
  • lithium

This is not a complete list of drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your list of medications.

Other information:

Sun-Protection: Your skin will burn more easily while taking this medication. It is therefore advised that you limit your exposure to sun, use sunblock and wear protective clothing to decrease the chances of this happening.

Special Instructions: Take this medication with a full glass of water and avoid lying down for at least 30-60 minutes afterward. This will decrease the chances for some side effects.

Children: Not typically recommended unless over eight years of age. If used, there is a good chance for side effects that affect tooth colour and development. Talk to your doctor.

Seniors: May be more sensitive to side effects but dose is usually the same.

Pregnancy: Not generally recommended. Safer drugs are available Talk to your doctor.

Women who are nursing: Not recommended as this drug passes into breast milk. Talk to your doctor.

People who drive or operate machinery: Should not do so until they know how this drug affects them personally, although there are no known problems.

Alcohol: Should always be consumed in moderation as excessive amounts will reduce the drug’s effectiveness.

Overdose: A large overdose of this medicine could increase the side effects. If you experience any unusual reactions or if you seriously exceed the recommended dosage, call your doctor or 911.

Stopping the drug: Do not do so without talking to your doctor, even if you are feeling better. It is important to take all the medication you have been prescribed to ensure all the bacteria causing the infection has been removed from your body. Stopping the medication too early may make the infection come back and this antibiotic may no longer work.

If you miss a dose: Take it as soon as you remember. However, if your next dose is within six hours, take the missed dose and skip the next scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose.

Storage conditions: Closed container; cool, dry location away from excess moisture (not in the bathroom) and light; always out of reach of children.

Dietary precautions: Do not take doxycycline within two hours of calcium rich drinks or food (e.g. milk, cheese, yogurt) as it may decrease the amount that gets into the body.