Doxycycline Side Effects

Doxycycline has many uses ranging from malaria prophylaxis to treatment for bacterial STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. In general it's a gentle yet effective treatment and is usually recommended to be used over the course of a couple of days. Although side effects with this treatment are rare, they can occur in some people, however luckily most of the common side effects associated with Doxycycline tend to be mild and pass quickly or could potentially be avoided.

Neurological

It is possible that you may experience headaches as a result of this medication. These should only be mild, but if they are severe you should stop taking Doxycycline and contact your doctor.

Gastric

Mild gastric side effects are fairly common and could include nausea, diarrhoea and an upset stomach.

Skin

You may notice a mild skin rash that may be itchy. If you experience a severe skin reaction, which is far more rare, you should seek medical advice immediately.

Liver

Liver problems as a result of this medication are extremely rare but should be taken very seriously if they occur. If you experience symptoms such as jaundice, you must contact a doctor immediately.

Doxycycline side effects

Click on the relevant area of the body to find out about how it may be affected by Doxycycline

Possible Doxycycline side effects

Like with any medication, Doxycycline side effects can range from being serious to more mild in nature. Luckily the most common side effects are quite mild and tend to gradually pass as your body adjusts to the medication and they include the following:

  • Mild nausea
  • Mild diarrhoea
  • Upset stomach
  • Mild skin rashes that can be itchy
  • Vaginal itching or discharge

The below Doxycycline side effects tend to be more serious, however they aren't common, but you should contact your doctor straight away if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Urinating less than usual
  • Watery or bloody diarrhoea
  • Fever, disorientation, a feeling of weakness, pale yellow skin and dark urine
  • Severe pain in the upper abdomen that spreads to the back and causes nausea and an increase in heart rate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Severe skin reactions
  • An allergic reaction which could cause swelling in the face, tongue, lips or throat, difficulty breathing and/or hives

Who are most at risk of developing Doxycycline side effects?

There are some groups of people who are more sensitive to the effects of Doxycycline and its best that they do not take this treatment. These groups include: people who are allergic to doxycycline, those taking medications that affect the liver, people with certain genetic blood disorders, those with myasthenia gravis, people who are sensitive to light and people with lupus erythematosus.

You should also mention to your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, asthma or a sulphite allergy.

What medications could increase the likelihood of Doxycycline side effects?

Some medications may make it more likely that you'll experience Doxycycline side effects, however it's also possible for Doxycycline to make these medications not work as they should, so mention to your doctor if you are taking:

  • Warfarin, which is a treatment to stop blood from clotting
  • Some medications to treat infections such as penicillin
  • Antacids
  • Treatments for epilepsy
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Some anaesthetics
  • Ciclosporin, which is usually used after an organ transplant

How to reduce your risks of Doxycycline side effects

When taking Doxycycline you can try and avoid most of the common side effects simply by ensuring that you drink enough water while using Doxycycline. Taking it with food can also help avoid any nausea or gastrointestinal discomfort. However, to avoid some of the more serious Doxycycline side effects, you should avoid direct and prolonged exposure to the sun while you are using it.

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