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Doxycycline and Alcohol Interactions

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What is Doxycycline?

Doxycycline is an antibiotic that is used to treat respiratory, skin, and dental bacterial infections, and some sexually transmitted diseases.

Doxycycline

Sometimes, the antibiotic can be used for the prevention of malaria while traveling overseas.2

US brand names for doxycycline include the following:1

  • Adoxa, Adoxa CK, and Adoxa Pak, Adoxa TT
  • Doryx
  • Monodox
  • Oracea
  • Periostat
  • Vibramycin Calcium
  • Vibramycin Hyclate
  • Vibra-Tabs

Doxycycline is available in capsule and tablet form. You need to get a prescription from your doctor to use it. 

Typically, the dose is 200 mg taken daily in divided doses.4 Only take doxycycline as prescribed. Do not take it more or less often than your doctor advises.

It is important to complete the entire course of antibiotics prescribed. For example, if your doctor prescribes doxycycline for one week, take it for the full week as directed. 

Do not stop the antibiotic before the course of treatment is over. If you have concerns about the medication, talk to your doctor.

If you experience severe side effects from taking the medication, contact your doctor immediately. It is also essential to tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking that may interact with doxycycline.

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Side Effects & Risks of Doxycycline

There are some side effects and risks associated with doxycycline.

Consult your doctor before taking doxycycline if you have a history of any of the following:

  • An allergic reaction to doxycycline or a similar type of medicine in the past
  • Kidney problems 
  • Liver problems 
  • An inflamed esophagus 
  • Lupus (an autoimmune disease)
  • Myasthenia gravis, which causes muscle weakness or fatigue

For most people, the side effects of doxycycline are mild and include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Increased skin sensitivity to the sun

Some people are sensitive to doxycycline and can have more severe side effects. 

It is important to report any of the following signs or symptoms to a doctor or healthcare professional as soon as possible: 

  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • High temperature
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lasting diarrhea with or without stomach cramps
  • Stomach pain
  • Blood in stool
  • Skin sensitivity to sunlight
  • Ringing or buzzing in your ears 
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Severe headaches
  • Vision problems
  • Vomiting
  • Acid reflux
  • Chest pain

Rarely, people can develop symptoms of a severe allergic reaction to doxycycline. 

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat

If this occurs, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately.

Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Doxycycline?

Doxycycline carries the risk of side effects including nausea, vomiting, headaches, and dizziness. These side effects have the potential of being worsened by drinking alcohol. 

Alcohol needs to be strictly avoided with certain antibiotics, including metronidazole and tinidazole, due to the possibility of severe reactions. 

While alcohol may not interfere with doxycycline’s efficacy, it is generally advised to limit alcohol while taking antibiotics to avoid increasing the incidence of unwanted adverse effects.

How Does Alcohol Impact The Immune System?

The immune system is complex. Alcohol disrupts normal immunological pathways. This results in a decrease in the body’s ability to protect itself from infection and a slower healing process.

Excessive alcohol use is linked to a number of illnesses and diseases because it weakens your immune system over time.6 These include increased susceptibility to pneumonia and respiratory tract infections, greater likelihood of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), liver disease, and poor wound healing.6 

It is best to avoid consuming alcohol while taking antibiotics. Search for a substitute for alcohol instead.

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What Else Should I Avoid While Taking Doxycycline?

Some medicines may interact with doxycycline, increasing the chance of adverse effects or decreasing the antibiotic’s effectiveness. 

Talk to your doctor if you are taking any of the following:4

  • Other antibiotics
  • Anticoagulants like warfarin
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Antacids for indigestion
  • Supplements that contain aluminum, bismuth, calcium, magnesium, and/or zinc
  • Iron supplements
  • Epilepsy medicines, including carbamazepine and phenytoin

How Long After Stopping Doxycycline Can I Drink Alcohol?

When you have finished your course of treatment, you can resume drinking alcohol.

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Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse & Addiction

There are many treatment options available for alcohol use disorder (AUD) and addiction, including:

Inpatient Programs

Inpatient treatment takes place at a licensed residential treatment center.

These programs provide 24/7 comprehensive, structured care. You'll live in safe, substance-free housing and have access to professional medical monitoring. 

The first step of an inpatient program is detoxification. Then behavioral therapy and other services are introduced. These programs typically last 30, 60, or 90 days, sometimes longer.

Most programs help set up your aftercare once you complete the inpatient portion of your treatment.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) provide similar services to inpatient programs.

Services include:

  • Medical care
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Support groups
  • Other customized therapies

However, in a PHP program, you return home to sleep. Some services provide food and transportation, but services vary by program.

PHPs accept new patients and people who have completed an inpatient program and require additional intensive treatment.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient treatment is less intensive than inpatient treatment or partial hospitalization programs. They are best for people who have a high motivation to recover but cannot leave their responsibilities at home, work, or school.

These programs organize your treatment session based on your schedule. The goal of outpatient treatment is to provide therapy, education, and support in a flexible environment.

Outpatient programs are often part of aftercare programs once you complete an inpatient or PHP program. It is important for people undergoing treatment to have a stable and supportive home environment without access to drugs and alcohol.

Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)

Sometimes medications may be used in alcohol addiction treatment. These medicines can help reduce the negative side effects of detoxification and withdrawal. Others can help you reduce cravings and normalize body functions.

Disulfiram (Antabuse), acamprosate (Campral), and naltrexone are the most common medications used to treat AUD. 

When combined with other evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), MAT can help prevent relapse and increase your chance of recovery.

Support Groups

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Self-Management And Recovery Training (SMART) are open to anyone with a substance use disorder.

They are peer-led organizations dedicated to helping each other remain sober. Support groups can be the first step towards recovery or part of a long-term aftercare plan.

Begin your journey towards lasting recovery
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Updated on March 25, 2022
8 sources cited
  1. “Doxycycline (Oral Route) Description and Brand Names.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1 Feb. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/doxycycline-oral-route/description/drg-20068229
  2. “Doxycycline: MedlinePlus Drug Information.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682063.html.
  3. “Doxycycline: Side Effects, Dosages, Treatment, Interactions, Warnings.” RxList, RxList, 14 Apr. 2017, www.rxlist.com/consumer_doxycycline/drugs-condition.htm.
  4. NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/medicines/doxycycline/.
  5. Sarkar, Dipak, et al. “Alcohol and the Immune System.” Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590612/.
  6. Can you drink alcohol with antibiotics? Drugs.com. https://www.drugs.com/article/antibiotics-and-alcohol.html
  7. Doxycycline. Doxycycline Entire Monograph - Epocrates Web. https://online.epocrates.com/drugs/20310/doxycycline/Monograph
  8. Antibiotics and alcohol - Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/antibiotics-and-alcohol/faq-20057946

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