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What is Doxycycline?

Doxycycline is an antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections. It is also used to treat various chest infections, skin infections, dental infections, and sexually transmitted infections, among others. 

Doxycycline

In some cases, the antibiotic can treat mild cases 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 comes in tablet form. You need to get a prescription from your doctor to use it. Typically, the dose is about 100mg to 200mg once or twice a day.4 Only take Doxycycline as prescribed. Do not take it any more or any less than your doctor advises you.

Likewise, you should be sure to take any antibiotics for the full intended course. For example, if your doctor prescribes you a one-week period, take the antibiotics for the full week as directed. 

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

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

Side Effects & Risks of Doxycycline

As with anything, there are some side effects and risks of Doxycycline. If you have any of the following,4 consult your doctor before taking Doxycycline:  

  • You have had an allergic reaction to Doxycycline or another similar type of medicine in the past
  • You have had kidney problems before
  • You have had liver problems before
  • You have had an inflamed oesophagus (also known as your food pipe)
  • You have had lupus, an autoimmune disease
  • You have had myasthenia gravis, which causes severe muscle wasting

Any of these issues may make side effects from Doxycycline worse. To follow are some of the side effects you may experience. These side effects happen to about one in 10 people: 4

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Feeling sensitive to sunlight

Some more severe side effects can happen, too. These side effects only happen to less than one in 1,000 people: 4

  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • High temperature
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lasting diarrhoea with or without stomach cramps
  • Stomach pain
  • Blood in stool
  • Feeling sensitive to sunlight
  • Ringing or buzzing in your areas
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Severe headaches
  • Vision problems
  • Vomiting
  • Sore or swollen mouth, including your lips and/or tongue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Throat pain
  • Acid reflux
  • Chest pain

If you experience any severe side effects or notice that your symptoms or side effects are getting worse, consult medical help immediately.3 

Certain antibiotics have more negative effects on some people than others. Be mindful of how it affects your health so you can prevent a medical emergency.

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Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Doxycycline?

Avoid alcohol while taking drugs for an infection. It is never considered safe to drink alcohol while taking Doxycycline. Doxycycline and alcohol do not mix well and have a number of negative interactions.

Alcohol affects your immune system.6 Doxycycline also increases your sensitivity to alcohol’s motor-impairing effects, increasing your risk of injury with even one beer or glass of wine.5

Doctors do not advise drinking alcohol while taking any antibiotics. You should avoid drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics to treat an infection at all costs.

How Does Alcohol Impact The Immune System?

Alcohol impacts your immune system. The effects of alcohol vary from person to person. Depending on a number of factors, including your body weight, age, food intake, and more, even just one drink or two drinks can affect you. 

Alcohol moves through your gastrointestinal (GI) system and passes through your body as it becomes absorbed into your bloodstream.6 From there, the enzymes in your liver work to break it down.

Alcohol is linked to a number of illnesses and diseases because it weakens your immune system over time.6 These include pneumonia, respiratory tract infections, and pulmonary diseases, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), tuberculosis, and respiratory syncytial virus.6 

For this reason, mixing alcoholic drinks with Doxycycline is considered dangerous. It is best for patients to avoid mixing alcohol into their lives while taking antibiotics. Search for a substitute for alcohol instead.

Side Effects of Mixing Doxycycline and Alcohol

When you mix Doxycycline and alcohol, you raise your blood alcohol level. Alcohol use causes impairment. Taking antibiotics like Doxycycline can increase alcohol’s effects, especially if you are heavy drinking at the same time. 

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Dangers of Mixing Doxycycline and Alcohol

Whether you are drinking one glass of red wine or four glasses of vodka, it is never a good idea while you are taking medication. 

Drinking while on antibiotics is never advised because alcohol can decrease the effectiveness and worsen side effects.

What Else Should I Avoid While Taking Doxycycline?

There are some medicines that may interact with Doxycycline to hurt your health or lessen its effectiveness. Talk to your doctor if you are taking any of the following: 4

  • Other antibiotics
  • Antacids for indigestion
  • Supplements that contain aluminum, bismuth, calcium, magnesium, and/or zinc
  • Iron supplements
  • Stomach ulcer medications
  • Acne medicines that contain vitamin A
  • Epilepsy medicines, including carbamazepine and phenytoin
  • Ciclosporin for your immune system

How Long After Stopping Doxycycline Can I Drink Alcohol?

When you have finished your course of treatment, you can resume drinking alcohol. Doxycycline stays in your system after your last dose and the half-life is between 16 and 22 hours. 

Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse & Addiction

There are many treatment options available for alcohol abuse and addiction, including:

  • Inpatient ProgramsInpatient 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 (PHP) are sometimes referred to as intensive outpatient programs (IOP). Compared to inpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs provide similar services. These include medical services, behavioral therapy, and support groups, along with 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 as well as people who have completed an inpatient program and still need intensive treatment.
  • Outpatient Programs Outpatient treatment is less intensive than inpatient or partial hospitalization programs. 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. They are best for people who have a high motivation to recover and cannot leave their responsibilities at home, work, or school. Outpatient programs are often part of aftercare programs once you complete an inpatient or PHP program.
  • Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT) Sometimes, medications may be used in alcohol addiction treatment. Some 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), MAT can help prevent relapse and increase your chance of recovery.
  • Support Groups Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and SMART Recovery are open to anyone with a substance abuse problem. They are peer-led organizations dedicated to helping each other remain sober. They can be the first step towards recovery or part of a long-term aftercare plan.

Resources

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“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

“Doxycycline: MedlinePlus Drug Information.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682063.html.

“Doxycycline: Side Effects, Dosages, Treatment, Interactions, Warnings.” RxList, RxList, 14 Apr. 2017, www.rxlist.com/consumer_doxycycline/drugs-condition.htm.

NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/medicines/doxycycline/.

PG;, McIver SR;Muccigrosso MM;Haydon. “The Effect of Doxycycline on Alcohol Consumption and Sensitivity: Consideration for Inducible Transgenic Mouse Models.” Experimental Biology and Medicine (Maywood, N.J.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23019604/.

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/.

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