Overview Of Doxycycline

Doxycycline is a prescription antibiotic and belongs to the tetracycline group. It was first used in the 1950s. Patients may take doxycycline orally, though it is also available as an injection. Children and adults can take this medication. However, it should be used only for severe conditions in patients younger than eight years old. This is due to the side effects, including permanent yellowing or graying of these children's teeth.

This medication is a significant bacterial infection treatment. Many patients choose to take it as a treatment for bronchitis or pneumonia. Some doctors may even decide to prescribe it as an acne treatment for patients who have not had success with over-the-counter ointments and creams for acne. Of course, when choosing this medication among oral antibiotics for infection, patients need to understand how it works.

How It Works 

Dreamstime

As a broad-spectrum antibiotic, doxycycline stops the growth of bacteria. It does this by binding to a ribosomal subunit called 30S, which is found only in bacteria. When this medication binds to it, transfer RNA and messenger RNA cannot bind together at that location. This stops the formation of new proteins and prevents the growth of new bacteria. Then, the patient's immune system has time to destroy and remove existing bacteria. 

Doxycycline reaches its highest blood concentrations within one to two hours of patients taking it. This medication is absorbed by most of the body's tissues and fluids. It is found in especially high levels in the liver, gallbladder, lungs, and kidneys. This medication's half-life is estimated to be between eighteen to twenty-two hours for healthy patients. 

Get the details on the uses and benefits of this medication next.

Uses And Benefits 

Dreamstime

Doxycycline is a major antibiotic for treating bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or other respiratory tract infections. It is often used as a treatment for eye infections, urinary tract infections, and gum disease as well. Doxycycline is also considered when treating certain sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis and chlamydia. 

This medication can also help control acne. It reduces blemishes and bumps associated with rosacea as well. Specific forms of doxycycline may be recommended to prevent malaria in patients who are traveling to high-risk areas. The drug is also beneficial in the treatment of infections caused by ticks, mites, or lice. 

Continue reading to discover the potential side effects of this medication next.

Potential Side Effects 

Dreamstime

Doxycycline also comes with several potential side effects. Some of the most frequently reported are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, indigestion, and stomach aches. Other common side effects include headaches, dry mouth, toothaches, and upper abdominal pain. Patients may also develop flu-like symptoms. Gum pain, gastritis, flushing, and candida infections are a few of the less common side effects. Rarely, patients taking doxycycline have experienced bloody diarrhea, constipation, or colitis. While tooth discoloration is much more common in pediatric patients who use doxycycline, it has been observed in adult users too. 

This medication may also cause esophageal ulceration. Patients with this side effect tend to have swallowing difficulties and retrosternal pain. After the drug is discontinued, esophageal ulceration tends to resolve within one week. Patients should let their doctor know immediately if they experience flushing, muscle or joint pain, dizziness, fainting, or chest pain while taking this drug. They should also notify their doctor right away if they have jaundice, severe back or stomach pain, dark urine, or light-colored stool. These could indicate liver or pancreas problems. This medication may also result in an allergic reaction. Signs of this include breathing difficulties, hives, facial swelling, and swelling of the tongue or lips. Patients should seek emergency medical care for these symptoms. 

Uncover some precautions to remember with this medication next.

Precautions To Remember 

Dreamstime

Doxycycline is not safe for patients who are allergic to any tetracycline antibiotics, including minocycline and tigecycline. Pregnant or breastfeeding patients should not take it either. It may not be appropriate for individuals with liver disease, kidney disease, asthma, or allergies to sulfites. Doctors may need to choose a different antibiotic for patients with a history of increased pressure inside the skull. Patients should consume their medication with a full glass of water. If this antibiotic causes stomach upset, the patient should check with their doctor if they can take it with food or milk. Some brands need to be taken on an empty stomach. Individuals who use these brands can take their dose one hour before a meal. They may also opt to take it two hours after a meal. 

Delayed-release tablets and capsules must be swallowed whole, and they cannot be crushed or chewed. However, it is safe to open regular capsules. Individuals can mix the contents with one spoonful of applesauce. This may help individuals with swallowing difficulties. Patients should throw away any doxycycline that has expired. Consuming this medication after its expiration date could cause kidney damage. This antibiotic may increase sun sensitivity. Thus, patients should wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor of thirty or higher on all exposed skin.

Discover potential medication interactions next.

Potential Medication Interactions 

Dreamstime

Doxycycline is known to interact with over 180 medicines. Severe interactions occur if it is used with lomitapide, acitretin, or flibanserin. Patients must not take this medication with allogeneic cultured keratinocytes or fibroblasts from bovine collagen either. Patients should inform their doctor about all of the medications they use, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, vitamins, and minerals. This may help them avoid medication interactions. 

Patients should tell their physician if they take blood thinners, anti-seizure medicines, or isotretinoin. These patients will need an alternate antibiotic due to the interactions these medications cause with doxycycline. Doctors also need to know if their patient is taking other antibiotics. The patient's pharmacist should check for potential interactions before dispensing doxycycline.