Doxycycline is an antibiotic, meaning that it acts against bacteria, and should only be used when prescribed by a medical doctor. In South Africa, doxycycline is available under several trade names, and is available as a tablet or capsule. It is often used in cases of acne and other skin infections and may also be prescribed for UTI’s (urinary tract infections), chlamydia, gonorrhea and oral infections.
Side Effects of Doxycycline
Diarrhoea is one of the most common side effects reported when using doxycycline but this will not affect every person. The diarrhoea is often caused by the antibiotic affecting the normal intestinal flora (‘good bowel bacteria’) and this can be corrected with a probiotic. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you have persistent diarrhoea during or after using doxycycline. Other side effects may include headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, skin rash, aches and pains, changes in urine and urination, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, swelling of the tongue, and irritation of the genitals and/or rectum
It is important to notify your doctor of all the other drugs, and even nutritional or herbal supplements, that you are using before any drug is prescribed. This does not only apply to doxycycline. The following drugs may cause a drug interaction and affect the action of doxycycline :
- acne drugs like isotretinoin (brand : Roaccutane)
- blood thinning drugs
- antacids and other ulcer medication
- blood cholesterol lowering drugs
- other antibiotics
Doxycycline should not be used by pregnant women. Breastfeeding women should also discuss the use of doxycycline with their doctor as it can pass through with the breast milk. If you are using oral contraceptives (‘the pill’), doxycycline can affect it and other forms of contraception should be considered while you are using doxycycline. It is important to discuss your medical history with the doctor who is prescribing the drug, especially if he/she is not your family doctor. Doxycycline has to be used cautiously in certain liver and kidney diseases and your doctor will have to adjust the dose accordingly.
Missing Your Antibiotic
Like any antibiotic, the course of doxycycline that was prescribed must be completed in full. Stopping an antibiotic when you are feeling better or when your symptoms appear to have resolved is dangerous. this leads to drug-resistant bacteria and the antibiotic may not be as effective as the first time you used it. It is also important to consult with your doctor when you need another prescription. He/she will decide if another course is warranted and you could cause more harm by buying and using doxycycline without your doctor’s supervision.