Doxycycline Side Effects

The tetracyclines have been on the market for many years and, for the most part, they have all performed exceptionally well. If you have a liver disease, you must tell your doctor. The risks of side effects are greater. With that exception, the vast majority of people taking Doxycycline can expect good results without adverse side effects. For those who are unlucky, the most common effects are mild and pass quickly. Only in a very few cases are there serious problems. You need only seek medical advice if your symptoms are serious and persist for an unreasonable period of time. Your doctor will then decide how best to proceed. It may be necessary for you to stop taking the drug altogether, or to reduce the dose.

As one of the tetracyclines, Doxycycline can adversely affect the performance of oral contraceptives that contain estrogen. If you have unprotected sex during and immediately after the time of treatment, there is a risk of pregnancy. Your doctor will be able to advise on the best contraceptive measures to take if you intend to continue sexual activity during treatment.

It is a fairly common to find that your skin becomes more sensitive to the ultraviolet (UV) in sunlight. Even though you may only go out in the sun for a short time, you may still find that a rash or some other discolouration results. If you stay out for any length of time, you may experience severe sunburn. Thus, unless you are wearing a good quality barrier cream offering a skin protection factor of at least 15 (higher if you are fair), you should stay out of direct sunlight. If you must go out, you should wear clothes that give complete coverage and something on your head. It is also essential to protect your eyes with sunglasses. Finally on this point, do not forget that sunlamps and tanning beds also emit UV. You should not use any equipment of this type for at least two weeks after the end of your course of treatment. Some people remain sensitive to UV for several months.

As with all antibiotics, it is relatively common for people to experience bouts of diarrhea. In almost all cases, this will only last for a short period of time. However, exceptionally, there may be more serious diarrhea either during the use of Doxycycline or during a period of some months after the course has finished. If you experience this more serious form, usually accompanied with stomach pain or cramp, contact your doctor. You should not self-diagnose a treatment for this condition.

In some infants and children under the age of eight years, Doxycycline can cause the teeth to discolor, changing from white to yellow, gray or brown. This is not an immediate reaction but, if it is going to occur, is a gradual effect. Because the antibiotic passes through breast milk, you should not breast-feed during the course of treatment. There is also a risk of harming the tooth development in the fetus if you take Doxycycline during pregnancy. It is important that you discuss the treatment options with your doctor if you think you are pregnant. Do not take the risk without first getting proper advice.

The most common mild side effects are:

  • loss of appetite;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • a rash or itchiness around the rectum or genitals; and headaches.

More serious side effects are:

  • an allergic response which will usually come with symptoms of itchiness and swelling around the face, throat and neck with difficulty in swallowing, chest pain, etc.;
  • a bulging or soft spot on the forehead in infants; or dizziness, severe headache and a blurring of vision.