Doxycycline comes in capsule form and can help prevent malaria during your travel to a risk area. Doxycycline side effects include headaches and feeling or being sick, but not everyone gets them. Doxycycline capsules are not the only option when you need protection against malaria – there are other malaria tablets available on the market, such as malarone.

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01. What is doxycycline used for?

Doxycycline is an antibiotic that is used to treat several infections such as chest infections, skin infections and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Apart from treating various infections, doxycycline capsules are also used to prevent malaria if you are travelling to a risk area.

02. How to take doxycycline

Doxycycline capsules can be taken by adults and children over 12 years old. The capsules are not recommended for children under 12 years old, as it can affect growing teeth.

The dose of doxycycline depends on the reason why it has been prescribed for you. For malaria prevention, you have to take 100 mg of doxycycline every day and you need to start one or two days before travelling.

You should take the malaria tablets every day throughout your trip, otherwise there is a risk that you may not be protected against malaria anymore.

You should continue taking doxycycline capsules until four weeks after you have left the risk area.

You can take the capsules both with and without food, but taking doxycycline with food can decrease the risk of developing nausea.

If you forget to take a capsule, you should take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for the next one. In that case, you should skip the missed capsule and take the next one as normal.

You should never take two doxycycline capsules at the same time or take an extra to make up for a missed one.

03. Side effects of doxycycline

Like all medicines, doxycycline capsules can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them.

Common side effects of doxycycline include:

  • headaches

  • feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting)

  • light sensitivity

Serious side effects of doxycycline are rare and happen in less than 1 in 1,000 people. If you experience serious side effects, you should contact a doctor immediately.

Serious side effects include:

  • unexplainable bruises or bleeding (such as nosebleeds)

  • a sore throat

  • a high temperature 

  • feeling tired and generally unwell

  • diarrhoea containing blood or mucus

  • buzzing or ringing ears

  • pale stools with dark urine, yellow skin or yellowing of the whites in your eyes

  • joint or muscle pain

  • severe headaches, vomiting and problems with your eyesight

  • sore or swollen mouth, lips or tongue

  • severe stomach pains

  • difficulties or pain when swallowing

Note that the above-mentioned are some of the side effects of doxycycline capsules. For a full list, please read the leaflet inside the medicines packet.

04. Doxycycline during pregnancy or breastfeeding

Normally, doxycycline capsules are not recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. This is because the use of doxycycline can cause permanent stains and discolouration on baby’s teeth when they come through.

When deciding whether or not you should take doxycycline capsules during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, it is important that you weigh the risks to your health up against potential risks to your baby. If you are unsure, you can speak with one of our prescribing nurses, who can help you.

05. Doxycycline and alcohol

It is recommended that you avoid drinking alcohol while taking doxycycline capsules. This is because alcohol can stop doxycycline from working. For more information, you can speak with one of our prescribing nurses. Book a phone call now or call 0330 808 1211.

06. Price of doxycycline

If there is a risk of malaria at your destination, it is recommended that you check whether you need malaria tablets, as the disease can be fatal. For the price of doxycycline, see below.

Per tablet
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Content reviewed by

Anne Marie Major, Independent Nurse Prescriber
21 February 2020