Doxycycline (By mouth)


Doxycycline (dox-i-SYE-kleen)

Treats bacterial infections and prevents malaria. Also treats pimples or bumps on the face caused by a condition called rosacea. Also used to treat anthrax infection after possible exposure. This medicine is a tetracycline antibiotic.

Brand Name(s)

Adoxa Pak 1/150, Adoxa Pak 1/75, Adoxa, Periostat, Monodox, NutriDox Convenience, Oracea, Vibramycin Monohydrate, Avidoxy, Avidoxy DK, Vibramycin Calcium, Ocudox Convenience Kit, Vibramycin Hyclate, Oraxyl, Alodox

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to doxycycline or to any similar medicines, such as minocycline, tetracycline, or Sumycin®. Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. Do not give this medicine to children younger than 8 years of age because it can permanently change the color of the tooth.

How to Use This Medicine

Capsule, Long Acting Capsule, Liquid, Tablet, Delayed Release Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • If you are using Doryx® delayed-release tablets:
    • It may be taken with food or milk to avoid stomach irritation.
    • You may take this medicine by breaking the tablets. Hold the tablet between your thumb and index fingers close to the appropriate score (separation) line. Then, apply enough pressure to snap the tablet segments apart. Do not use the tablet if it does not break on the scored lines.
    • You may also take this medicine by sprinkling the equally broken tablets onto cold, soft food such as an applesauce. This mixture must be swallowed immediately without chewing and followed with a glass of cool water to ensure complete swallowing of the pellets. Do not store the mixture for later use.
    • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid throat irritation.
  • If you are using Oracea? delayed release capsules:
    • This medicine must be taken on an empty stomach, preferably at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.
    • Swallow the capsules with a full glass (8 ounces) of water while sitting or standing.
    • Do not lay down right after taking this medicine. This may help prevent throat problems.
  • Swallow the capsule whole. Do not break, crush, chew, or open it.
  • Shake the oral liquid well just before each use. Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if you feel better after the first few doses. Your infection may not clear up if you stop using the medicine too soon.
  • If you are using this medicine to prevent malaria while traveling, start taking the medicine 1 or 2 days before you travel. Take the medicine every day during your trip and continue taking it for 4 weeks after you return. However, do not use the medicine for longer than 4 months.
  • This medicine is not for long-term use. Do not use this medicine for more than 9 months if you are using it for rosacea.
  • Use only the brand of this medicine that your doctor prescribed. Different brands may not work the same way.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not freeze the oral liquid.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using antacids containing aluminum, calcium, or bismuth subsalicylate (such as Maalox®, Mylanta®, Pepto-Bismol®, Rolaids®, or Tums®), penicillin antibiotics (such as amoxicillin, amoxicillin/clavulanate, Amoxil®, or Augmentin®), certain stomach medicines (such as esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole, Nexium®, Prevacid®, or Prilosec®), medicine for seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, Dilantin®, or Tegretol®), birth control pills, or a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are also using methoxyflurane (Penthrane®), a medicine to treat pimples or acne (such as isotretinoin, Accutane®, Amnesteem®), medicine to treat psoriasis (a skin problem) (such as acitretin, Soriatane®), or multivitamins or supplements that contain aluminum, calcium, magnesium, or iron.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. The medicine may also cause birth defects if the father is using it when his sexual partner becomes pregnant. If a pregnancy occurs while you are using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have kidney disease, liver disease, asthma, lupus, or if you have had an allergy to sulfites. Tell your doctor if you have had surgery on your stomach, or if you have or had a yeast or fungus infection in your mouth or vagina.
  • This medicine may darken the color of your skin, nails, eyes, teeth, gums, or scars. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns.
  • If you have severe diarrhea, ask your doctor before taking any medicine to stop the diarrhea.
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.
  • This medicine may cause problems with your immune system. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor right away if you notice the following symptoms: a fever, a rash, joint pain, and feeling ill. Do not restart taking this medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
  • If you are using this medicine to prevent malaria, take extra care not to get bitten by mosquitoes. Use protective clothing, mosquito netting or screens, and an insect repellent.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
  • Birth control pills may not work while you are using doxycycline. To keep from getting pregnant, use another form of birth control such as condoms, diaphragms, or contraceptive foams or jellies.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • Use this medicine to treat only the infection your doctor has prescribed it for. Do not use this medicine for any infection that has not been checked by a doctor.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash.
  • Burning, pain, or irritation in your upper stomach, middle chest, or throat.
  • Diarrhea that may contain blood.
  • Fever, chills, cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Increased hunger or thirst.
  • Joint pain or back pain.
  • Severe headache, dizziness, or changes in vision.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Anxiety.
  • Darkening of your skin, scars, teeth, or gums.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Mild skin rash or itching.
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, or upset stomach.
  • Sores or swelling around your rectum.
  • Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat.
  • Swelling of your tongue.
  • Vaginal itching or discharge.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

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