Doxycycline is widely prescribed, but it has a number of side effects you should know about

Doxycycline is an antibiotic prescribed for a variety of infections and it is also commonly used as a malaria prophylactic. Your doctor may instruct you to take it for any of the following: sinusitis, syphilis, prostatitis, chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory disease, and acne. Since it is such a widely used antibiotic, it is important to know the potential side effects. 

Common Side Effects 

The most common side effects are increased photosensitivity and heartburn. When you are taking doxycycline, make sure to frequently apply sunscreen, especially if you are someone who is already sensitive to the sun. Long-term doxycycline use (as in the case of malaria prophylactics) can possibly cause skin to become permanently sensitive and thin. 

Heartburn is another common side effect. It is recommended that you do not lie down within thirty minutes of taking the medication, as it can cause stomach acid to enter the esophagus. In addition, it is advised that you take doxycycline with a small non-dairy meal in order to help you avoid possible irritation to the stomach and esophagus. 

Some other relatively common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, and decreased appetite. While these side effects may be temporarily tolerable, you should consult your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of them. 

Less Common Side Effects

There are a number of severe, but less common, side effects associated with doxycycline use. These include watery diarrhea, headache, bloody stool, skin rash, joint pain, blurred vision, and fever. In very rare cases, doxycycline can cause vision changes, liver damage, hypertension, hemolytic anemia, ulcers of the esophagus, thrombocytopenia, yeast infection, and enterocolitis. If any of these occurr, it is imperative that you immediately speak with your doctor. 

Other Considerations 

Long-term doxycycline use is common among people using it as a malaria prophylactic and among those who are using it as a long-term treatment for acne. Realize that doxycycline is an antibiotic, and long-term use will have negative consqequences for beneficial bacteria in your body. Also, as is the case with long-term consumption of medication in general, it is taxing on your liver. 

Doxycycline was once thought to reduce the effectiveness of many different kinds of hormonal contraception, but new studies are showing this may not be the case. Still, many doctors recommend the use of barrier contraception to ensure that there are no complications caused by taking doxycycline. 

Finally, expired doxycyline should not be taken in any circumstances. Taking expired doxycycline has been to known to cause kidney damage in some patients. Make sure to carefully check expiration dates before taking a dose.