Doxycycline is an antibiotic. It’s used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections and can also be used to prevent malaria. When ingested alongside doxycycline, dairy products can impact the effectiveness of this medication.
This article will take a closer look at how dairy products, as well as some other substances, can reduce the effectiveness of doxycycline.
Doxycycline belongs to a class of antibiotics known as tetracyclines. These antibiotics work by preventing protein synthesis in bacteria. As a result, bacteria can’t grow or flourish.
Doxycycline comes in tablet, capsule, and liquid form. Delayed-release tablets and capsules are also available.
This medication may be prescribed for the following conditions:
- adult acne caused by rosacea
- arthritis caused by Lyme disease
- dental infections
- eye infections
- flea and tick bites
- intestinal infections
- lung infections
- sexually transmitted infections
- sinus infections
- skin infections
- throat infections
- urinary tract infections
It can also be used as a preventive medication for malaria.
Also, after exposure to anthrax bacteria, doxycycline may be prescribed to prevent further complications.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb doxycycline, especially if you consume dairy products around the same time that you take this medication.
This is due to the presence of calcium in dairy products. In a process called chelation, calcium ions react with doxycycline, forming a new chemical compound known as a chelate. When this happens, less doxycycline is absorbed in your gastrointestinal tract.
It’s not clear how much calcium chelation impacts doxycycline’s overall effectiveness. The effect may be small, but it’s still a good idea to avoid consuming dairy products within the same time frame that you take doxycycline.
It’s usually safe to consume dairy products 2 hours before or after you take doxycycline.
Some common dairy products that you’ll want to avoid within a 2-hour window of taking doxycycline include:
- ice cream
- cottage cheese
- cream cheese
- sour cream
- condensed milk
- yogurt and frozen yogurt
- whey and whey protein
- desserts made with dairy products
Besides dairy products, a number of other substances can interact with doxycycline. These may include:
- anticoagulants (blood thinners)
- iron supplements
- proton pump inhibitors
- vitamin A supplements
Tell your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medications, supplements, or vitamins you’re taking. This will help your doctor determine the best way for you to take doxycycline safely.
Alcohol can also interact with doxycycline. While drinking in moderation is usually fine, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about how much alcohol you typically consume.
Finally, doxycycline can make some forms of birth control, including the pill, the patch, vaginal ring, injections, and implants less effective. Talk to your doctor about other methods of birth control if you need to take doxycycline.
Doxycycline is safe for most adults, as well as children over the age of 12. It’s not recommended during pregnancy or while nursing.
You should inform your doctor if you’ve ever experienced any of the following:
- Follow the directions on the label of your prescription carefully. Don’t crush, chew, split, or open delayed-release tablets or capsules.
- Swallow pill forms of doxycycline with a glass of water. If you can’t swallow the pill, ask your doctor or pharmacist for alternative options.
- After taking doxycycline, drink plenty of fluids. Avoid lying down, as the pill can get stuck in your esophagus, leading to irritation.
- If you miss a dose, take it when you remember, unless it’s almost time for your next dose. Don’t take two doses at once to make up for a missed dose. Contact poison control at 800-222-1222 if you accidentally take too much.
- Finish the full course of medication. It’s important to take all the medication prescribed to you, even if your symptoms go away after a few days. If you end a course of doxycycline too early, your symptoms may return. Antibiotic resistance can also develop. Similarly, you should avoid taking doxycycline for longer than indicated.
- Use sunscreen, wear a hat, and cover your skin when possible. Doxycycline can make your skin more sensitive than usual to sunlight.
How to take doxycycline for malaria
When taking doxycycline to prevent malaria, you need to start taking it 1 or 2 days before your arrival in an area where malaria is common. You need to keep taking it while you’re there and for 4 weeks after you leave. Don’t take doxycycline for malaria for longer than 4 months in total.
In addition, when taking doxycycline for malaria prevention, remember that it’s not 100 percent effective. It’s important to take other precautions to avoid mosquitoes. This includes using bug repellent, wearing protective clothing, and staying inside, especially between dusk and dawn.
Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic used to treat infections in your lungs, eyes, mouth, skin, and many other areas of your body. It’s also used to prevent malaria.
Dairy products contain calcium, which can interact with doxycycline. When these two substances come into contact, it triggers a chemical reaction that can reduce the amount of doxycycline that’s absorbed by your body. This may make doxycycline less effective.
To ensure doxycycline is effective, avoid consuming dairy products within a 2-hour window before and after you take a dose. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information about how to take doxycycline safely.