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What is doxycycline used for?Doxycycline is used to treat infections caused by susceptible bacteria and certain other micro organisms, including the following:
Infections of the lungs and airways (chest or lower respiratory tract infections), such as pneumonia or flare ups of chronic bronchitis. (Unlicensed use for this purpose dispersible doxycycline tablets are stirred into a small amount of water and rinsed around the mouth for two to three minutes four times daily, usually for three days; the solution should preferably not be swallowed). It clears up infections by interfering with the ability of bacteria to produce proteins that are essential to them. Without these proteins the bacteria cannot grow, multiply and increase in numbers. Doxycycline therefore stops the spread of the infection and the remaining bacteria are killed by the immune system or eventually die.
Doxycycline works in acne treatment because it attacks the bacteria associated with acne, Propionebacterium acnes. This is a common type of bacteria that feeds on sebum produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin. It produces waste products and fatty acids that irritate the sebaceous glands, making them inflamed and causing spots. By controlling bacterial numbers, doxycycline brings the inflammation of the sebaceous glands under control and allows the skin to heal.
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How do I take doxycycline?The dose of doxycycline that is prescribed, how often to take it and how long for depends on what you are taking it for. Always follow the instructions given by your doctor. These will be printed on the dispensing label that your pharmacist has put on the packet of medicine. In this case just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as usual. This is to prevent the medicine irritating the throat. You should continue taking it throughout your stay in the malarious region, and for a further four weeks after leaving.
What should I know before taking doxycycline?Doxycycline can make some people’s skin become more sensitive to sunlight and UV light, causing an exaggerated sunburn reaction. This may happen with yeasts such as Candida, resulting in thrush infections. For this reason, if you get diarrhoea that becomes severe or persistent or contains blood or mucus, either during or after taking this medicine, you should consult your doctor immediately.
It is sensible to avoid drinking alcohol if you are taking an antibiotic because you are unwell with an infection. Doxycycline can be less effective in people who drink large amounts of alcohol or who suffer from alcoholism.
Can I take doxycycline while pregnant or breastfeeding?Doxycycline should not be used during pregnancy, in particular the second and third trimesters, as it may be harmful to the unborn baby. In this situation, the entire course, including the four weeks of treatment after leaving the malarious area, must be completed before week 15 of pregnancy. It should not be taken by breastfeeding mothers. Get further medical advice from your doctor.
What are the possible side effects of doxycycline?Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with doxycycline. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect. This is rare. If you think you have experienced a side effect, did you know you can report this using the yellow card website?
Can I take doxycycline with other medicines?It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start taking doxycycline. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines with this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
The following medicines may reduce the absorption of doxycycline from the gut, which could make it less effective. If you are taking medicines containing any of the following ingredients they should be taken at least three hours before or after your doxycycline dose:antacids for heartburn and indigestion containing aluminium, bismuth, calcium or magnesiumcalcium supplements
Doxycycline may increase the anti blood clotting effects of coumarin anticoagulant medicines such as warfarin. If you are taking warfarin your doctor may want to monitor your blood clotting time (INR) after you start and finish treatment with this antibiotic.
Doxycycline may increase the blood level of the immunosuppressant medicine ciclosporin. Your doctor may need to perform extra monitoring, for example of blood levels or for possible side effects, if you are taking these two medicines together.