Order Doxycycline online to stay safe from malaria

As malaria can rapidly develop, early protection with antimalarial tablets is highly recommended. Doxycycline is a more affordable option than Malarone and equally effective depending on your destination.

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Virginia Chachati

Reviewed by Virginia Chachati MPharm
(2013, University College London)
GPhC Registration number: 2087654

Information last reviewed 31/01/21


What is Doxycycline?

Doxycycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic used to treat a range of bacterial infections. It is commonly used as an antimalarial when travelling abroad to areas where malaria is prevalent.

How does Doxycycline work?

Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic, butt also has antimalarial properties. Malaria is not a bacterial infection, but a parasitic one. Doxycycline works by preventing the parasites from invading your red blood cells. Therefore, your immune system has more time to fight off the parasites in your bloodstream. Doxycycline does not prevent malarial infection, but it does prevent the development of the disease if you are infected with the malaria parasites.

How effective is Doxycycline?

Doxycycline is an effective treatment for a range of bacterial infections. However, overuse has led some strains of bacteria to develop resistance to Doxycycline. Your doctor may choose to take a tissue sample from the infected area to ensure the bacteria causing the infection are susceptible to Doxycycline. Doxycycline is an effective antimalarial in some parts of the world. Check with your doctor before you travel if you plan on using Doxycycline as an antimalarial.


How to take Doxycycline for malaria prevention?

When taking a Doxycycline course for malaria prevention, you should start two days before arriving in the malarial area. The recommended dose is one capsule per day at around the same time each day. You should take one capsule per day during your stay. Complete the course once you have left the malarial area by taking one capsule each day for four weeks.

Doxycycline dosage for an infection

For adults and children over the age of 12, the recommended dose is 200 mg on the first day of treatment, then 100 mg each day for the course duration. The course’s length will depend on the type of infection you have, so follow the directions given to you by your doctor.

When to start taking Doxycycline for malaria prevention?

You should start taking Doxycycline two days before travelling to a malarial area.

When to stop taking Doxycycline?

You should continue to take the recommended dose of Doxycycline for four weeks after leaving a malaria zone. If you find Doxycycline is giving you side effects, then please discuss stopping the medication with your doctor before continuing.

What if I forget to take a dose?

If you're taking Doxycycline for malaria prevention, you should try to take it at the same time each day. If you forget to take Doxycycline at the right time, you should take it as soon as possible and make sure you take the next dose at the correct time. If you miss a dose completely, you should not take a double dose. Instead, you should contact a medical professional for advice and take additional precautions against malaria such as staying indoors and using mosquito nets.

Should you take Doxycycline with food?

You can take Doxycycline with or without food. If you find that you feel nauseous, you may find it easier to take Doxycycline with or directly after a meal. If Doxycycline irritates your stomach, you can try having it with milk.

Side Effects

Doxycycline side effects

Like all medications, Doxycycline can cause side effects in some patients. If you experience any of the following, stop taking your medicine and seek medical attention immediately:

  • Symptoms of an allergic reaction, including sudden wheezing and difficulty breathing, chest pain, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat, hands or feet, fever, rash, pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart), worsening of autoimmune disease
  • Symptoms of DRESS (Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms), such as fever, swollen lymph nodes or skin rash

If you experience any of the following infrequent side effects, seek advice from your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Severe skin reactions involving irregular, circular patches, flushing, fever blisters, ulcers, reddening, peeling and swelling, which could indicate erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Increased pressure in the skull or severe headaches
  • Bulging fontanelles on infants
  • Swollen tongue
  • Severe and/or bloody diarrhoea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Aching joints or muscles
  • Unusual or rapid heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Blood disorders, characterised by tiredness, weakness and easy bruising
  • Porphyria, characterised by sensitivity to sunlight, inflammation of the nerves and stomach pains
  • Discolouration of thyroid tissue
  • Changes in liver function tests
  • Hepatitis
  • Liver failure
  • Increased urea in the blood
  • Jaundice, characterised by yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Loosening of the nail from the nail bed
  • Fever, chills, headache, muscle pain and skin rash, which could be symptomatic of the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction
  • Black hairy tongue
  • Heartburn
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Anxiety

Mild, infrequent side effects include:

  • Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Soreness and itching of the genital or rectal area
  • Yeast infection of the genital or anal area

If the above side effects are troubling you, consult your doctor for advice.


Do not take this medicine before alerting your doctor if:

  • You have suffered an allergic reaction to Doxycycline or any other antibiotic in the past.
  • You are allergic to any of the ingredients in Doxycycline.
  • You are pregnant or intend to become pregnant.
  • You are breastfeeding.

Consult your doctor before taking Doxycycline if:

  • You are going to be exposed to strong sunlight or ultraviolet
  • Have liver problems
  • Have severe kidney problems
  • Have myasthenia gravis
  • Have porphyria
  • Have systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Have diarrhoea or usually experience diarrhoea when taking antibiotics.

Drug interactions

You should inform your doctor if you are taking, have recently taken, or are about to start taking any other medicines, including those purchased over the counter at a pharmacy. In particular, tell your doctor if you are taking:

  • Penicillin
  • Rifampicin
  • Anticoagulants
  • Quinapril
  • Kaolin
  • Sucralfate
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Barbiturates
  • Ergotamine or methysergide
  • Typhoid vaccine
  • Carbamazepine
  • Ciclosporin
  • Methoxyflurane
  • Antacids and other medicines containing aluminium, calcium, magnesium, iron, bismuth or zinc salts
  • Retinoids

How to cope with Doxycycline side effects?

Some common side effects of Doxycycline include headaches, nausea or vomiting and sensitivity to sunlight. Some measures you can take to manage these side effects include:

  • Drink plenty of water and rest.
  • Take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease headaches.
  • Take your dose of Doxycycline with or after a meal to reduce nausea.
  • If you are vomiting, try eating simple meals and stay well hydrated. Speak to your doctor if vomiting is preventing you from taking your medication altogether.
  • Doxycycline can increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Make sure to wear plenty of sun cream when going out in the sun, wear sunglasses and clothes that cover your skin.

Doxycycline and pregnancy

Speak to your doctor for advice if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, as this medication could harm the infant.

Doxycycline and alcohol

You should not drink alcohol while taking Doxycycline, as this may reduce the effectiveness of your medication.

Is photosensitivity a side effect of Doxycycline?

Doxycycline can make you more sensitive to sunlight and UV rays. You should alert your doctor if you expect to be exposed to high UV levels, for example, when using a sunbed while taking this medication. Take care to wear sun cream in the sun, as well as sunglasses and long-sleeved clothing where possible to cover your skin.

Will Doxycycline affect my fertility?

There is no evidence to suggest that Doxycycline has an effect on male or female fertility.

Will Doxycycline affect my contraception?

Doxycycline can reduce the effectiveness of some oral contraceptives. It is recommended to use an alternative form of contraception, such as condoms, while using this medication.


What is malaria?

Malaria is a serious disease, spread by malaria-carrying mosquitoes, which can be fatal in some cases depending on how quickly and effectively it is treated. Within approximately two to four weeks of becoming infected with malaria, symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting begin to emerge. Doxycycline can be used to treat malaria after an infection has occurred.

What are the uses of Doxycycline?

Like other tetracyclines, Doxycycline can be used to treat a broad range of bacterial infections, including acne, rosacea, chest infections, skin infections and STIs. Doxycycline can be used by travellers for malaria prevention.

Do I need to buy Doxycycline before I travel?

When using Doxycycline as an antimalarial, you will need to start the course before travelling to a malarial area, during your trip and after you return. You, therefore, need to purchase Doxycycline in advance of travelling to a malaria zone.

Is Doxycycline suitable for me if I’m going to a hot country?

One of the possible side effects of Doxycycline is increased sensitivity to sunlight. However, since Doxycycline is an effective and cheaper treatment for malaria prevention, it can still be used in hot countries as long as you take the appropriate precautions. Make sure to wear sun cream with a high SPF, wear sunglasses and cover up as much of your skin with long-sleeved clothing as possible.

Will Doxycycline stain my teeth?

You should avoid using Doxycycline during periods of tooth development, such as during pregnancy or in children under the age of 12. This can lead to permanent discolouration of the teeth. However, in severe or life-threatening circumstances, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks and prescribe Doxycycline in children under the age of 12.

Will Doxycycline give me thrush?

Doxycycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, meaning it suppresses some bacteria that reside naturally in the body. This can lead to an overgrowth of other bacteria, or of fungal and yeast infections. For this reason, using Doxycycline can lead to an outbreak of thrush in some patients.

Is Doxycycline an antibiotic?

Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic which is used to treat a broad range of bacterial infections.


Active ingredients

The active ingredient in Doxycycline is doxycycline hyclate, an antibiotic used to treat a range of infections.

Inactive ingredients

The inactive ingredients in Doxycycline are sucrose, maise starch, crospovidone, basic butylated methacrylate copolymer (Eudragit E100) and purified talc.

Please note: Inactive ingredients can vary between different brands of generic doxycycline. Check the Patient Information Leaflet provided for more information

Which ingredients can cause an allergic reaction?

While some people might experience a mild allergic reaction after taking Doxycycline,a severe allergic reaction is rare. A severe allergic reaction presents as facial/lip swelling, wheezing, dizziness and trouble breathing. You should seek medical attention or call 999 right away if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above as this is a medical emergency.

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