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What does it do?

Doxycycline is used to treat and prevent infections, and sometimes for other conditions.

How should you take it?

Take doxycycline regularly as directed until the course is finished. Take it with food.
Doxycycline can damage the oesophagus (food pipe). To avoid this, take it with a large glass of water. Swallow the tablet whole, do not crush or chew it. Sit or stand upright for at least 30 minutes after taking a dose.

What if you forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as possible and continue as directed.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with doxycycline including:

  • antacids containing aluminium, calcium or magnesium (e.g. Mylanta®)
  • calcium supplements (e.g. Calci-Tab®)
  • iron supplements (e.g. Ferro-Tab®)
  • zinc supplements (e.g. Zincaps®)

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products (e.g. St John's wort) or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Symptoms of allergy including: skin rash, itching, swelling, trouble breathing

Symptoms of liver problems including: yellow skin or eyes, itching, dark urine, pale bowel motions, abdominal pain

Headache, changes in vision, pounding in one or both ears (may be intracranial hypertension)

Trouble swallowing, chest pain, indigestion or heartburn (new or getting worse)

Tell your doctor immediately

Severe or persistent diarrhoea

Tell your doctor

Stomach upset

Increased sensitivity to sunlight

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have liver problems, or an allergy to antibiotics.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Doxycycline is not usually recommended for children under 12 years of age because it may cause permanent teeth staining and affect bone growth.
  • Protect yourself from too much sunlight while being treated with doxycycline. Always cover up and apply a thick layer of broad spectrum sunscreen (at least SPF 30) when outside. Do not use sunbeds.
  • Do not take indigestion remedies, iron or calcium preparations within 2 hours of taking doxycycline.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. September 2017

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed