Doxycycline | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

doxycycline, Oral capsule

Generic Name:
Monodox,Vibramycin,Adoxa,Mondoxyne NL,Morgidox 1x,Morgidox 1x Kit,Morgidox 2x,Morgidox 2x Kit,NutriDox,Ocudox

doxycycline, Oral capsule

All Brands

  • Monodox
  • Vibramycin
  • Adoxa
  • Mondoxyne NL
  • Morgidox 1x
  • Morgidox 1x Kit
  • Morgidox 2x
  • Morgidox 2x Kit
  • NutriDox
  • Ocudox
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for doxycycline

Oral capsule
1

Doxycycline is used to treat infections and severe acne. It’s also used to prevent malaria.

2

This drug comes as an tablet and delayed-release tablet you take by mouth. It’s also available as an delayed-release oral capsule, oral suspension, and a solution for injection, which is only given by a healthcare provider.

3

Doxycycline oral tablets are available as the brand-name drugs Acticlate and Vibra-Tabs. The delayed-release tablets are available as the brand-name drug Doryx. Both forms are available as generic drugs.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Permanent change of tooth color

This drug may cause permanent changes in tooth color in children if it’s used during tooth development. This time includes the last half of pregnancy through 8 years of age. Children’s teeth may change to yellow, gray, or brown.

Antibiotic-associated diarrhea

This drug may cause antibiotic-associated diarrhea. This can range from mild diarrhea to severe infection of the colon. In rare cases, this effect can be fatal (cause death). If you have severe or persistent diarrhea, tell your doctor. They may stop your treatment with this drug.

Intracranial hypertension

This drug may cause intracranial hypertension, or high blood pressure inside your skull. Symptoms may include headache, blurry vision, double vision, and vision loss. Tell your doctor right away if you have these symptoms. You may also have swelling inside of your eyes. Women of childbearing age who are overweight have higher risk of this condition. If you’ve had intracranial hypertension before, your risk is also higher.

What is doxycycline?

Doxycycline is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet and delayed-release oral tablet you take by mouth. It’s also available as an delayed-release oral capsule, oral solution, and a solution for injection that is only given by a healthcare provider.

Doxycycline immediate-release tablets are available as the brand-name drugs Acticlate and Vibra-Tabs. The delayed-release tablets are available as the brand-name drug Doryx. Both forms are also available as generic drugs.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Doxycycline is used to treat bacterial infections. These can include some sexually transmitted diseases, skin infections, eye infections, respiratory infections, and more.

This drug is also used as an add-on treatment for severe acne and to prevent malaria in people who plan to travel to areas with certain strains of malaria.

How it works

Doxycycline belongs to a class of drugs called tetracyclines. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

This drug works by blocking a bacterial protein from being made. It does this by binding to certain units of the protein. This stops the protein from growing and treats your infection.

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SECTION 2 of 4

doxycycline Side Effects

Oral capsule

More common side effects

The more common side effects of doxycycline can include:

  • loss of appetite

  • nausea and vomiting

  • diarrhea

  • rash

  • sensitivity to the sun

  • hives

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

This drug does not cause drowsiness.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Symptoms can include:

    • severe diarrhea
    • bloody diarrhea
    • stomach cramping and pain
    • fever
    • dehydration
    • loss of appetite
    • weight loss
  • High blood pressure inside your skull. Symptoms can include:

    • headache
    • blurry vision
    • double vision
    • vision loss
  • Irritation of your esophagus or ulcers in your esophagus (may be more likely if you take your dose at bedtime). Symptoms can include:

    • burning or pain in your chest
  • Anemia

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

doxycycline May Interact with Other Medications

Oral capsule

Doxycycline can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Food interactions

Foods that contain calcium may block the amount of this drug that’s absorbed by your body. This means it may not work as well to treat your condition. Some foods that are high in calcium include milk and cheese. If you eat or drink these items, do so at least one hour before taking this drug or one hour after taking this drug.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs that you should not use with doxycycline

Do not use these drugs with doxycycline. Doing so can cause dangerous effects in your body. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Penicillin
    • Doxycycline may interfere with how penicillin kills bacteria.
  • Isotretinoin
    • Taking these drugs together can increase your risk of intracranial hypertension.

Interactions that can make your drugs less effective

When doxycycline is less effective: When you take doxycycline with certain drugs, doxycycline may not work as well to treat your condition. This is because the amount of doxycycline in your body may be decreased. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Antacids that contain aluminum, calcium, magnesium, bismuth subsalicylate, and iron-containing preparations
  • Seizure drugs such as barbiturates, carbamazepine, and phenytoin

Increased side effects from other drugs:

Taking doxycycline with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from these drugs. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Warfarin
    • Your doctor may decrease the dosage of your warfarin if you need to take it with doxycycline.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Doxycycline warnings
weight warning
Women of childbearing age who are overweight

This drug may cause tooth discoloration at the time teeth are developing. Children who are younger than 8 years should not use this drug unless the potential benefit outweighs the risk.

intracranial hypertension warning
People with history of intracranial hypertension

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

pregnancy warning
Pregnant women

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

breast feeding warning
Women who are breast-feeding

Doxycycline passes into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

senior warning
For seniors

Doxycycline is a category D pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in humans has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. This drug should only be used during pregnancy in serious cases where it's needed to treat a dangerous condition in the mother.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Ask your doctor to tell you about the specific risk to the pregnancy. This drug should only be used if the potential risk to the pregnancy is acceptable given the drug’s potential benefit.

childrens warning
For children

You have a higher risk of high blood pressure inside of your skull from this drug. Ask your doctor if this drug is right for you.

call the doctor
When to call the doctor

You have a higher risk of high blood pressure inside of your skull from this drug. Ask your doctor if this drug is right for you.

allergy warning
Allergies

Doxycycline can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it or other tetracyclines. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take doxycycline (Dosage)

Oral capsule

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

The dosage information below is for the conditions that this drug is most often prescribed to treat. This list may not contain all conditions that your doctor can prescribe this drug for. If you have questions about your prescription, talk with your doctor.

What are you taking this medication for?

Infection

Generic: doxycycline

Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg
Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg

Brand: Acticlate

Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg

Brand: Doryx

Form: delayed-release oral tablet
Strengths: 60 mg, 120 mg

Brand: Vibra-Tabs

Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 100mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

Oral tablet:

  • On the first day of treatment, you take 100 mg every 12 hours. You take 50 mg every 12 hours from the second day forward. Your doctor will decide how long you need treatment with this drug.
  • For more serious infections, especially in long-term urinary tract infections, you take 100 mg every 12 hours. Your doctor may use a slightly different dosage based on the type of infection you have.

Delayed-release oral tablet:

  • On the first day of treatment, you take 100 mg every 12 hours. Then you take 100 mg once per day from the second day forward.
Child dosage (ages 0–7 years)

It has not been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people who are younger than 8 years.

Child dosage (ages 8–17 years)

Oral tablet:

  • For children who weigh 45 kg or less: Give 4.4 mg/kg of body weight divided into two doses on the first day of treatment. Then give 2.2 mg/kg as a single dose or divided into two doses on the following days. More serious infections may require up to 4.4 mg/kg.
  • For children who weigh more than 45 kg: On the first day of treatment, give 100 mg every 12 hours. Then give 50 mg every 12 hours on the second day. For more serious infections, especially in long-term urinary tract infections, give 100 mg every 12 hours. Your doctor may use a slightly different dosage based on the type of infection your child has.

Delayed-release oral tablet:

  • For children who weigh 45 kg or less: Give 4.4 mg/kg of body weight divided into two doses on the first day of treatment. Give 2.2 mg/kg as a single dose or divided into two doses on the following days. For more serious infections, you may need to give up to 4.4 mg/kg.
  • For children over 45 kg: On the first day of treatment, give 100 mg every 12 hours. After that, give 100 mg once per day.
Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Severe acne

Generic: doxycycline

Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg
Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg

Brand: Acticlate

Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg

Brand: Doryx

Form: delayed-release oral tablet
Strengths: 60 mg, 120 mg

Brand: Vibra-Tabs

Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 100mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

Oral tablet:

  • On the first day of treatment, you take 100 mg every 12 hours. After that, you take 100 mg once per day. Your doctor will decide how long you need treatment with this drug.

Delayed-release oral tablet:

  • On the first day of treatment, you take 120 mg every 12 hours. After that, you take 60 mg every 12 hours or 120 mg once per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–7 years)

It has not been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people who are younger than 8 years.

Child dosage (ages 8–17 years)

Immediate-release tablet:

  • On the first day: 2.2 mg/kg of body weight every 12 hours
  • On the following days: 2.2 mg/kg once per day

Delayed-release oral tablet:

  • On the first day: 2.65 mg/kg of body weight every 12 hours
  • On the following days: 1.3 mg/kg every 12 hours or 2.6 mg/kg once per day
Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Malaria prevention

Generic: doxycycline

Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg
Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg

Brand: Acticlate

Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg

Brand: Doryx

Form: delayed-release oral tablet
Strengths: 60 mg, 120 mg

Brand: Vibra-Tabs

Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 100mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

Oral tablet:

  • The typical dosage is 100 mg per day. You start taking your dose one or two days before your travel. You also take a dose each day you’re in the area with malaria. Keep taking this drug every day for four weeks after you leave the area.

Delayed-release oral tablet:

  • The typical dosage is 120 mg per day. You’ll start taking your dose one or two days before your travel. You also take a dose each day you’re in the area with malaria. Keep taking this drug every day for four weeks after you leave the area.
Child dosage (ages 0–7 years)

It has not been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people who are younger than 8 years.

Child dosage (ages 8–17 years)

Oral tablet:

  • For children who weigh 45 kg or less: Give 2 mg/kg once daily. Give this drug one or two days before you travel and each day you’re in the area with malaria. Your child should keep taking this drug every day for four weeks after you leave the area.
  • For children who weigh more than 45 kg: Give 100 mg per day. Give them this drug one or two days before you travel and each day while you’re in the area with malaria. Your child should keep taking this drug every day for four weeks after you leave the area.

Delayed-release oral tablet:

  • For children who weigh 45 kg or less: Give 2.4 mg/kg once daily one or two days before you travel. Also give this drug each day while you’re in the area with malaria. Your child should keep taking this drug every day for four weeks after you leave the area.
  • For children over 45 kg: Give 120 mg once daily, starting one or two days before you travel. Give this drug each day while you’re in the area with malaria. You child should keep taking this drug every day for four weeks after you leave the area.
Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Doxycycline comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

Your infection will likely not go away. If you’re taking it for malaria prevention, you won’t be protected against certain infections. This may be fatal.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. You may feel better before you finish your course of treatment, but you should keep taking your medication as directed. Skipping doses or failing to complete the full course of treatment may reduce how well your treatment works. It may also cause antibiotic resistance. This means that your infection won’t respond to doxycycline or other antibiotics in the future.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body and experience more side effects. If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. If you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. Doing so could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your symptoms may start to improve and you may feel better.

Doxycycline is used for short-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking this drug

You can cut the oral tablet, but do not crush it

If you can’t swallow the delayed-release tablet whole, you can break it up and sprinkle it onto applesauce. Take the mixture right away and swallow without chewing it.

Store doxycycline carefully

  • Store this drug at room temperature between 69°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Sun sensitivity

This drug can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and increase your risk of sunburn. Avoid the sun if you can. If you can’t, be sure to apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor may need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.


Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on February 26, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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