Doxycycline Therapy Side Effects

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Doxycycline is a widely used antibiotic within the tetracycline family that is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. Commonly recommended for the treatment of acne, bacterial pneumonia, cholera and certain sexually transmitted diseases, Doxycycline emerged in the 1960s. While it is certainly useful in the treatment and prevention of an array of infections, Doxycycline therapy carries the risk of certain side effects. Among the most common of these side effects are nausea, diarrhea and increased sensitivity to sunlight.


Nausea is one of several gastrointestinal symptoms that may arise while taking Doxycycline. This symptom typically emerges within an hour of taking this medication and may lead to vomiting. Patients should remember to take Doxycycline as recommended with a full glass of water. They should notify their doctors if nausea persists or heightens in severity.


Doxycycline ingestion can also lead to diarrhea in people using the drug. In most cases, this antibiotic-associated diarrhea tends to occur within the first week of taking Doxycycline. While this type of diarrhea is typically short-lived and not severe, there are isolated instances in which diarrhea can be severe and resistant to treatment. In fact, anti-diarrheal medications may increase the severity of the diarrhea. Because of this possibility, health care professionals often warn people not to take anti-diarrheal medications if diarrhea does arise. Sometimes diet modification can be helpful in alleviating this symptom. Suggested changes include a recommended increase in the consumption of water and fiber and a decrease in fatty foods and caffeine.

<strong>Sensitivity to Sunlight</strong>

Exposure to sunlight while taking Doxycycline may result in the development of skin discoloration, itching and severe sunburn. Fortunately, there are simple measures that patients can take to decrease the likelihood of these side effects. In addition to avoiding direct sunlight and tanning beds, people taking Doxycycline should always remember to wear sunscreen. If exposure to sunlight is absolutely necessary, patients should try to schedule their outdoor activities for the earliest hours of the morning or late afternoon after 3:00. A hat and other protective clothing will also help to prevent skin redness and sunburn.

<strong>Preventing the Emergence of Side Effects</strong>

While severe side effects to Doxycycline are the exception and not the rule, patients taking Doxycycline should be aware of potential side effects and monitor their health for any sudden changes. In particular, people who take Doxycycline should notify their health care providers if they experience severe intestinal distress, a rash or severe sensitivity to the sun. Taking Doxycycline as prescribed with water and avoiding direct sunlight during the middle of the day are two easy steps that patients can take to help avoid the emergence of side effects.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "Doxycycline Therapy Side Effects," in, March 25, 2016, (accessed August 18, 2022).