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How to use Doxycycline

Brand Name(s): Adoxa, Doryx, Doxy, Periostat, Vibra-Tabs, Vibramycin

Generic Name Doxycycline

What are doxycycline tablets or capsules?

DOXYCYCLINE (Doryx®, Doxy®, Periostat®, Vibramycin®) is a tetracycline-type antibiotic. Doxycycline kills certain bacteria that cause infection, or stops their growth. It treats many kinds of infections of the skin, bone, stomach, respiratory tract, sinuses, ear, and urinary tract. It also treats Lyme disease and certain sexually transmitted diseases. For travelers to certain areas doxycycline can be given to suppress malaria. Periostat® is a specific capsule and tablet form of doxycycline which helps to treat periodontitis. Generic regular doxycycline tablets and capsules are available. Generic Periostat® capsules and tablets are not available.

What should my health care professional know before I take doxycycline?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • liver disease
  • long exposure to sunlight (working outdoors)
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to doxycycline, or other tetracyclines
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take doxycycline tablets or capsules by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow tablets or capsules whole with a full glass of water; take tablets or capsules in an upright or sitting position. Taking a sip of water first, before taking the tablets or capsules, may help you swallow them. If possible take bedtime doses at least 10 minutes before lying down. It is best to take doxycycline without food, but if it upsets your stomach take it with food. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Finish the full course prescribed by your prescriber or health care professional even if you think your condition is better. Do not stop taking except on your prescriber's advice.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses. There should be an interval of at least 6 to 8 hours between doses.

What drug(s) may interact with doxycycline?

  • antacids
  • barbiturate medicines for inducing sleep or treating seizures (convulsions)
  • calcium salts
  • carbamazepine
  • cholestyramine
  • colestipol
  • digoxin
  • female hormones, including contraceptive or birth control pills
  • ferrous sulfate
  • magnesium salts
  • other antibiotics
  • phenytoin
  • sodium bicarbonate
  • warfarin

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking doxycycline?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • dark yellow or brown urine
  • difficulty breathing
  • increased sensitivity to the sun or ultraviolet light
  • headache
  • itching in the rectal or genital area
  • pain on swallowing
  • redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
  • stomach pain or cramps
  • skin rash or itching
  • tingling or numbness of the hands or feet
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • yellowing of eyes or skin.

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea
  • discolored tongue
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea, vomiting
  • sore mouth

What should I watch for while taking doxycycline?

Tell your prescriber or health care professional if your symptoms do not improve in 2 to 3 days.

Do not take doxycycline just before going to bed. It may not dissolve properly when you are lying down and can cause pain in your throat.

Keep out of the sun, or wear protective clothing outdoors and use a sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or sun tanning beds or booths.

Make sure your diet provides vitamin B. Ask your prescriber or health care professional for advice if you think you are short of this vitamin.

Birth control pills (contraceptive pills) may not work properly while you are taking this medicine. Use an extra method of birth control for at least one month.

If you are being treated for a sexually transmitted disease, avoid sexual contact until you have finished your treatment. Your sexual partner may also need treatment.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking doxycycline.

Antacids can stop doxycycline from working properly. If you get an upset stomach and want to take an antacid, make sure there is an interval of at least 2 hours since you last took doxycycline, or 4 hours before your next dose.

Never use doxycycline if it is past the expiration date; it can make you seriously ill.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature, approximately 25 °C (77 °F). Protect from light.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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