Doxycycline is an antibiotic, but it is also an antimalarial to prevent malaria when travelling abroad.
Malaria is a parasitic infection. Doxycycline prevents the parasites from invading your red blood cells giving your immune system more time to fight off the parasites. Doxycycline does not prevent the initial infection, but it does prevent the development of the disease if you are infected.
It can take two days for doxycycline to protect you against malaria. For this reason, you should start taking doxycycline two days before you are due to arrive in the malaria zone.
2 capsules the first day, then 1 capsule once per day after
|Type of medicine||
Antimalarial and tetracycline antibiotic
Inhibits protein synthesis; prevents bacteria from reproducing
37, 44, 51, 58, 65, 72, 86, 114, 212 or 400 capsules
From 25p per capsule
Can include sensitivity to sunlight, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, rash and hives
The active ingredient in doxycycline capsules is doxycycline hyclate.
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.
Always start taking doxycycline two days before you arrive in the malarial area. Take one capsule per day at around the same time each day. When you leave the affected area, continue to take one capsule per day for four weeks.
You should start taking doxycycline two days before you travel to an area with malaria.
Continue to take one capsule of doxycycline per day for four weeks after leaving a malaria zone. Discuss with a doctor if you wish to stop taking doxycycline sooner due to side effects.
If you forget a dose of doxycycline, take it as soon as you remember. Take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose. If you miss a dose completely, seek medical advice and take additional precautions such as mosquito nets.
Like all medications, doxycycline can cause side effects in some patients. Common side effects include light-headedness, headaches, loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting, sensitivity to light, rash, shortness of breath and an increased heart rate. Please see the patient information leaflet for a full list of side effects.
You should also be aware that in rare cases, doxycycline can cause more serious side effects. Seek emergency medical attention if you experience a severe headache, changes to your vision, ringing in your ears, severe skin reactions, a severe allergic reaction affecting your breathing or fever with a rash and swollen lymph nodes.
You may experience side effects whilst taking doxycycline. Most side effects should resolve within a few days of stopping the medication. You should avoid exposure to strong sunlight or UV light for approximately 2 weeks after taking doxycycline.
If you experience headaches, you could take ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve the pain. Taking doxycycline with a meal can help to prevent nausea and vomiting.
Doxycycline can increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Therefore, you should avoid strong sunlight, keep your skin covered and apply sunscreen.
Do not take doxycycline if you have previously experienced an allergic reaction to doxycycline or any of its ingredients. You should avoid doxycycline if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or intending to become pregnant. Your doctor should be able to recommend a suitable alternative.
Always inform the prescribing doctor of any pre-existing medical conditions. Doxycycline may not be suitable for you if you have certain liver or kidney problems, myasthenia gravis, porphyria or systemic lupus erythematosus.
If you usually experience diarrhoea in response to antibiotics, an alternative antimalarial may be more suitable. Lastly, doxycycline can increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Therefore, it could be less suitable if you are going to be exposed to strong sunlight during your travels.
Some medications can interact with doxycycline. Always inform the prescribing doctor of all medications you are currently taking, including over the counter treatments and herbal remedies. Medications with a known interaction include some antacids, antibiotics, anticoagulants (warfarin), and anti-epileptic drugs amongst others.
Please see the patient information leaflet for a full list of doxycycline drug interactions.
Alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of doxycycline, therefore you should not drink alcohol while taking doxycycline.
Do not take doxycycline if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. Doxycycline can affect your baby’s development, but your doctor will be able to recommend more suitable treatments.
You will need to start taking doxycycline two days before you travel to a malaria zone. Therefore, you should buy your doxycycline before travelling. If you need to buy more doxycycline whilst you are away, ensure you buy from a reputable and reliable source.
Sensitivity to sunlight and UV light typically resolves within 10-14 days of stopping doxycycline. During this time you should avoid exposure to strong sunlight, wear sunscreen and cover your skin when possible.
Doxycycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic and may suppress some helpful bacteria that naturally reside in the body. This can lead to an overgrowth of yeast that can cause thrush. For this reason, doxycycline can lead to an outbreak of thrush in some patients.
Doxycycline can stain the teeth, but this is most likely to happen during periods of tooth development. For this reason, it is usually not recommended for children under 8 years old. If discolouration does occur, it may be possible to remove the stains with dental treatments.
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