How long do doxycycline side effects last?

Medically reviewed by Lindsay Cook, Pharm.D.

Doxycycline is an antibiotic (called a tetracycline) used to treat certain bacterial infections. Its brand names include Doryx, Vibramycin and Doxy.

Like many antibiotics, doxycycline can cause certain side effects. These side effects sometimes include stomach upset, skin rash, or light sensitivity. Typically, side effects of doxycycline can last from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the length and dose of treatment.

This article explains what you should know about taking doxycycline and how long you can expect side effects to last.



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What is doxycycline?

Doxycycline is a common tetracycline antibiotic used to treat a range of bacterial infections, such as:

Unlike other antibiotics, tetracyclines such as doxycycline do not kill bacteria. Instead, they prevent bacteria from replicating in the body by preventing the formation of certain proteins.

When taking doxycycline, it is important to take the medication for the number of days prescribed by your healthcare provider. Some infections may require more days of treatment than others.

The dose you take depends on your age and the reason for taking it. Typically, adults take 200 milligrams (mg) on ​​the first day of treatment, followed by 100 milligrams (mg) once or twice daily, depending on the severity of the infection. Children weighing less than 100 pounds will receive a dose based on body weight, while children over 100 pounds will receive an adult dose.

Doxycycline is only suitable for bacterial infections. It does not treat viral infections.

Doxycycline side effects

The more common doxycycline side effects include:

More serious side effects may include:

side effects in children

When doxycycline is used in children, it is important to discuss the risks to your child’s teeth with your healthcare provider. In children under 8 years of age, whose teeth are still developing, use of doxycycline may cause staining of the teeth. This may turn their teeth into a yellowish-grey-brown color. However, this is more likely to occur with long-term use (more than 21 days) or repeated short-term courses.

In addition, taking doxycycline during pregnancy can affect the fetus and cause changes in tooth color after birth.

long term side effects

You should not take doxycycline for longer than prescribed by your healthcare provider. Depending on your infection, you may be given doxycycline for a longer period of time.

Studies show that long-term (eight weeks) use of doxycycline is generally safe in adults, but there are some mild side effects.

However, long-term use of doxycycline for more than 21 days in children under 8 years of age may cause discoloration of permanent teeth. Therefore, use doxycycline only if no other alternative treatments are available.

If you are breastfeeding, you should limit your doxycycline course to 21 days and avoid repeat treatments. Long-term breastfeeding with doxycycline may cause staining of the baby’s teeth. Other side effects in babies include rash and diarrhea.

If you plan to take doxycycline long-term (for example, to treat acne), you may need routine blood tests. Certain side effects, such as kidney damage and changes in blood levels, have been reported.

How long do side effects last?

Usually, side effects from doxycycline (such as stomach upset or diarrhea) disappear within a few days after you stop taking the medicine. More severe symptoms (such as photosensitivity) may take longer to go away, sometimes up to a week after you stop taking the medication.

Tell your healthcare provider if you develop diarrhea or bloody stools several months after stopping doxycycline and your diet remains the same.This can be a more serious complication called Clostridium difficile.

How to deal with side effects

In some cases, you can control the mild side effects of doxycycline on your own:

  • Stomach upset or nausea: Taking doxycycline with food or milk may help reduce stomach irritation. Do not take doxycycline with calcium-containing foods or antacid tablets as this will cause doxycycline to not work in the body.

  • light sensitivity: Try to avoid staying in direct sunlight for too long. Wearing sunscreen when wearing long-sleeved clothing and a hat can prevent further irritation to the skin. If you begin to develop a rash, tell your healthcare provider. They may want you to stop taking your medicine. If your nails start to lift up from the nail plate, it could also be a reaction to the sun and doxycycline, making your nails sensitive to light, causing the nails to lift up. Typically, when you stop taking doxycycline, your body will no longer be sensitive to sunlight, and you should see new nails grow back.

  • Throat irritation: Making sure to drink a full glass of water after taking this medication may help reduce throat irritation and burning. You can also break the capsules and sprinkle them on soft foods like applesauce to make them easier to swallow. However, do not crush the particles in the capsule when pouring it over food. Doing so will make the medicine less effective.

When to see a health care provider

In many cases, your side effects will be mild, or there may be no side effects at all. However, it is important to know when to seek advice from your healthcare provider about drug-related side effects.

Please consult your healthcare provider:

  • If you have stopped taking doxycycline but still have diarrhea.This can be a rare but serious infection called Clostridium difficile, This may cause painful cramps and severe diarrhea that may require additional antibiotics to treat.

  • If you develop a rash that doesn’t get better after you stop taking doxycycline.

  • If you have completed the recommended treatment with doxycycline and are still not feeling well. Treatment with different antibiotics may be needed.

generalize

If taken properly, doxycycline can help treat bacterial infections.

Some side effects, such as stomach upset or nausea, disappear soon after you complete treatment. You can also take steps to reduce them, such as taking them with food. Other side effects, such as sun sensitivity, should disappear about a week after treatment.

If certain side effects persist after stopping treatment, you may need to see a health care provider.Persistent diarrhea after doxycycline treatment should be addressed as this may be Clostridium difficilea potentially serious bacterial infection caused by antibiotics.

If you start feeling worse after completing antibiotic treatment or if your infection remains unresolved, be sure to contact your healthcare provider.

Read the original article about Verywell Health.

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