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Doxycycline is an antibiotic used to treat a variety of infections. It can be used to treat sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and syphilis, as well as urinary tract infections, infections of the eyes, nose, throat and chest. It works by stopping bacteria growing that are causing an infection.
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What is Doxycycline?

Doxycycline is an antibiotic medication used to prevent and treat malaria. Malaria is a disease spread through bites from mosquitoes. After you are bitten, the mosquito releases the malaria parasite into your bloodstream. While malaria is very treatable with appropriate medical help, it can be fatal in some cases. Taking Doxycycline can help prevent malaria.

Additionally, Doxycycline can be used to treat a variety of different conditions, from sexual health problems to acne. It is sometimes known as Vibramycin-D.

Doxycycline is a prescription only medication. You must have a prescription from a GP in order to buy it. However, we can prescribe Doxycycline to you following a brief online assessment. Contact us to find out more.

For more information about Doxycycline, consult the patient information leaflet.

How it works

Malaria is spread through bites from infected mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites you, the plasmodium parasite is released into your bloodstream, travelling to the liver where it matures. It then begins to affect and destroy red blood cells.

Doxycycline is an antibiotic, and will kill the parasite before it can affect red blood cells.

Before you take it

You must not take Doxycycline if you are allergic to doxycycline monohydrate or any of the inactive ingredients in this medication. You can find a full list of ingredients in the patient information leaflet. Speak with your doctor, who will be able to recommend an alternative antimalarial medication.

Doxycycline should not be taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding. You should consult your doctor to discuss a suitable antimalarial for you to take while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Doxycycline should not affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. However, you should not drive or operate machinery, or do anything else that may put yourself and others at risk until you are fully aware of how this medication affects you.

Doxycycline must not be taken by anyone who is undergoing a period of tooth development. This is because it has been known to cause permanent discolouration of the teeth. This is particularly applicable for children over the age of 8. We do not prescribe any medication to anyone under the age of 18.

Doxycycline should not be taken by anyone with a history of kidney or liver problems, anyone with myasthenia gravis or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE.) Consult your doctor for a more suitable antimalarial if any of this information applies to you.

Doxycycline may reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptive pills. If you are relying on oral contraceptive pills as a means to prevent pregnancy, you should use additional barrier methods of contraception while taking Doxycycline.

It is important to note that no antimalarial is 100% guaranteed to protect you from infection after exposure to malaria. It is important that you take appropriate precautions to minimise your risk of contracting malaria, such as sleeping in a screened room, using insect repellent and covering up exposed skin.

Doxycycline may interact with the following medications. It is important that you speak to your doctor before taking Doxycycline if you are taking any of the following:

  • Antacids to treat indigestion, such as bismuth or oral zinc
  • Carbamazepine or phenytoin used to treat epilepsy
  • Barbiturates used to control epilepsy or used as a sedative
  • Penicillin antibiotics
  • Ciclosporin, used to affect the body’s immune response

This is not an exhaustive list of warnings and interactions. For a full list, consult the patient information leaflet.

Dosage Instructions

You must take Doxycycline exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has prescribed. Do not exceed the stated dose. If you are in any way unsure of how to take Doxycycline, consult the patient information leaflet or visit your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

For malaria prophylaxis, Doxycycline should be started two days before travelling to a malaria-risk area. You must take it every day while you are in a malarious area. Doxycycline treatment must be continued for 4 weeks after leaving a malaria risk area. You should take one 100mg capsule per day.

It is very important you finish your prescribed course of Doxycycline, even if you are no longer in a malaria-risk area and you feel perfectly healthy, to ensure that the medicine is given appropriate time to remove the parasite from your bloodstream if you have been infected.

Doxycycline should be taken with water. Do not suck, crush or chew this medicine.

These dosage instructions are for malaria prophylaxis only. If you have been prescribed Doxycycline for another reason, you must consult your doctor as to the correct dosage instructions to treat your condition.

Store Doxycycline in a cool, dry place, away from heat and moisture. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.

Common Side Effects of Doxycycline

Doxycycline may cause unwanted side effects. These are usually mild to moderate in nature, and should go away on their own as your body becomes used to the medication. However, if these side effects persist, or they concern you, you may wish to discuss them with your doctor. Side effects may include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pericarditis (inflammation affecting the heart)
  • Heartburn
  • Vaginal infection

Doxycycline may also cause more serious side effects. These are rare, but if you experience them you must go to your doctor. They can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tinnitus
  • Increased pressure in the skull, which can manifest as as a severe headache or changes in vision
  • Yellowing skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Upset stomach or diarrhoea
  • Widespread or severe blistering

Doxycycline can also cause an allergic reaction. This is extremely rare. However, any allergic reaction is an emergency and you must immediately seek medical help if you believe you are having an allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, mouth and throat
  • Hives or nettle rash
  • Tightness in the chest or throat

This is not an exhaustive list of side effects. For a complete list, read the patient information leaflet or contact your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Doxycycline suitable for children?

Doxycycline is suitable for children providing they are not undergoing a period of tooth development, as it can cause permanent discolouration of the teeth. We do not prescribe any medication to anyone under the age of 18.

I’m pregnant. Can I take Doxycycline?

If you are pregnant, you must not take Doxycycline. Contact your doctor to discuss an alternative antimalarial medication.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of Doxycycline, you must take it as soon as you remember, unless it is nearly time for your next dose. In this case, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the correct time. Do not take more than one dose to make up for a missed dose.

What happens if I take too much?

An overdose of Doxycycline may be associated with an increased risk of side effects, including nausea or vomiting. You should seek medical advice immediately if you believe you have taken too many capsules.

More Information
Dosage 100 mg
Dosage Instructions ONE to be taken DAILY, starting ONE-TWO days before entering endemic area and continue taking for FOUR weeks after leaving.