Doxycycline is a class of medications called tetracycline antibiotics and is used to treat bacterial infections such as respiratory infections like pneumonia, malaria, Lyme disease, acne, bacterial skin infections, genital and urinary infections and inhaled anthrax disease.
Doxycycline is designed to treat bacterial infections so if you are suffering from a viral infection such as colds or the flu, this medication will not work for you. Doxycycline prevents the further growth of bacteria so that it can no longer spread through the body, and gives your own immune system a helping hand in fighting the bacteria.
Doxycycline and Alcohol
The smartest thing to do while taking doxycycline would be to avoid drinking any alcohol at all just as you would avoid sunlight with badly sunburned skin. Doxycycline does not come with an "alcohol prohibited" label on the bottle so many people continue to drink alcohol thinking that it is OK. However, it is wise for anyone taking doxycycline to remember that even if something isn't expressly prohibited on the label it does not mean that it is recommended.
Consuming alcohol while you are taking a doxycycline prescription will flush the antibiotic out of your system too quickly and reduce the efficiency of the medication. Excessive alcohol in your system will cause your liver to metabolize the compounds in doxycycline, making them ineffective. These effects are caused when a person drinks heavily or excessively, but tolerance levels differ from everyone so it is impossible to predict "acceptable" levels of alcohol - this is why abstaining from alcohol is recommended. Heavy drinking for someone could mean just a couple of drinks. The only way to fix this problem would be to up the dosage of doxycycline per day to counteract the effects that alcohol have on doxycycline, but only a certified doctor or physician would be able to legitimately make that call, otherwise it can lead to serious side effects. Increasing the prescription on your own is never a wise idea and should not be done.
Doxycycline disrupts the probiotic flow in your intestines, so when you consume alcohol with your prescription, you worsen your overall health. Probiotics help regulate your digestive system, which is at the root of your health. When they are disrupted you can experience any number of issues like vomiting, nausea and an upset stomach. You may also experience bowel irregularity and stomach pains. Women who are pregnant or nursing should especially stay away from alcohol not only for the health of their baby but also to keep from experience serious side effects if they are on a doxycycline prescription.
Some infections require that no alcohol be consumed in order to treat and cure the condition. If you are taking doxycycline to treat a bacterial infection that can only heal in an alcohol free system, consuming alcohol can prove to be a potentially fatal combination. Always consult your doctor about side effects, risks and whether or not you can consume any alcohol before you make the decision to do so.
More Precautions to Follow When Taking Doxycycline
Doxycycline is a powerful medication. Heed any warnings or precautions advised by your doctor before you start taking doxycycline. In addition to the effects you can experience by combining it with alcohol, there are other precautions you should take and things to look out for if you have been put on a doxycycline prescription by your doctor.
- Tell your doctor if you are allergic to doxycycline, tetracycline, sulfites or other bacterial treatment medications. If you do not know, be sure to tell your doctor.
- If you are currently taking any prescription or nonprescription medications regularly, tell you doctor what they as some may not mix well with doxycycline.
- Any calcium supplements, antacids, laxatives that contain magnesium and iron products will make doxycycline ineffective. Doxycycline needs to be taken one hour before or two hours after taking any antacids, calcium supplements or laxatives that have magnesium in them. If you are taking iron or iron supplements, then take doxycycline two hours before or three hours after the iron.
- Tell the doctor whether you have or have ever had medical conditions like kidney disease, liver disease or diabetes.
- Doxycycline can harm a fetus so tell the doctor if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. If you have become pregnant when on doxycycline, alert your doctor immediately as they may want to you to discontinue use.
- If you are on doxycycline and need to have any kind of surgery, even if it is a dental surgery, let your surgeon know.
- Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight as doxycycline can make your skin sensitive to the sun's rays. Wear protective clothes, sun glasses, hats and sunscreen if you think that you will be outdoors for long periods of time.
- When doxycycline is being used as a treatment for malaria, be sure that you continue to protect yourself from insects with mosquito nets, mosquito repellent, and wear clothing that covers your skin. Stay in areas that are covered or well-screened whenever you can. Doxycycline doesn't give full protection from malaria so talk to your doctor about available options.
- Taking doxycycline during pregnancy or using doxycycline on babies and children 8 and under will cause their teeth to be permanently stained. This medicine should never be used for children under 8 unless it is to treat inhaled anthrax or has been specifically prescribed by a certified physician.
- Nausea, vomiting, skin rashes, blurry vision or hives can be signs of allergic reaction. Talk to your doctor about all side effects and be sure to educate yourself on the precautions listed here. If an overdose occurs contact your local poison control immediately and seek emergency medical help.