Tetracycline antibiotics

Tetracyclines to treat acne and rosacea

What is doxycycline?

Doxycycline is a derivative, or “cousin,” of Tetracycline that’s useful in the treatment of acne and rosacea. Doxycycline has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it works effectively against inflammatory conditions such as acne and rosacea. Doxycycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic at higher doses (over 50mg) and is effective against Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), the bacteria implicated in acne.

How to take doxycycline?

Doxycycline should be taken with a full glass of water. We usually recommend taking it with food to avoid a possible upset stomach. To prevent getting the medication stuck in the esophagus, it’s important to wait 30 minutes after taking doxycycline before lying down. If the capsule dissolves in the esophagus, it can cause irritation and chest pain. When swallowing, if it feels as if the capsule may not have gone all the way down, eat some solid food to help push the capsule down into the stomach.

Possible side effects of doxycycline

Tetracyclines can cause stomach ache, so be sure to take them with food. It’s important, however, to avoid calcium, dairy, and antacids for an hour before and after taking these medications because they can bind to elements such as calcium, preventing proper absorption.

Doxycycline and other tetracyclines can also cause photosensitivity. This means that people who take these medications are more sensitive to sunburn and should take sun precautions, such as wearing sun-protective clothing, avoiding direct sunlight from 10 am to 2 pm, and wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. (We recommend Elta MD®).

Who should not take doxycycline?

Women who are pregnant, who intend to become pregnant, or who are breastfeeding should NOT take these antibiotics. It’s important for females who take these medications to be on birth control since these antibiotics can cause birth defects.

This medication should not be taken at the same time as Accutane (isotretinoin). Patients should  discontinue doxycycline 7 days prior to initiating treatment with Accutane.

Patients who have had an allergic reaction to tetracycline or who have serious liver or kidney disease should avoid these antibiotics. If a different provider prescribes another antibiotic, discontinue the doxycycline until you have completed the new antibiotic.