Doxycycline Side Effects
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on May 4, 2022.
For the Consumer
Applies to doxycycline: oral tablets, subgingival for liquid extended-release polymer
Other dosage forms:
Side effects include:
Subgingival: Headache; common cold; gum discomfort, pain or soreness, loss of attachment, or increased pocket depth; toothache or pressure sensitivity; periodontal abscess, exudate, infection, drainage, extreme mobility, or suppuration; thermal tooth sensitivity.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to doxycycline: injectable powder for injection, oral capsule, oral delayed release capsule, oral delayed release tablet, oral kit, oral powder for reconstitution, oral syrup, oral tablet, oral and topical kit
Very common (10% or more): Headache (up to 26%)
Common (1% to 10%): Sinus headache
Frequency not reported: Hypoesthesia, increased intracranial pressure, paresthesia, somnolence, stupor, taste loss, drowsiness, amnesia, paresthesias of body areas exposed to sunlight, phrenic nerve paralysis after sclerotherapy
Benign intracranial hypertension resulting in permanent loss of vision has been reported.
A 70-year-old female patient with no significant medical history suddenly developed a severe headache followed by vomiting about 15 minutes after the initial dose of this drug. The patient also experienced memory dysfunction; she could not remember the events of the afternoon prior to the dose of this drug and could not retain the information after she was reminded. The incident lasted about 30 minutes and she was transported to the hospital for further evaluation. No further cause, such as intoxication or trauma, could be elicited. Once at the hospital, the patient was able to remember the events of the afternoon and could retain new information, but amnesia regarding the events of the 30 minutes following the onset of the headache persisted. The patient's laboratory results, computerized tomography scan, MRI scan, cerebrospinal fluid, and electroencephalogram showed no pathology. When the patient was discharged 2 days later, the amnesia for the 30 minutes continued. After elimination of other symptomatic causes, the amnesia was concluded to be due to this drug because of the close relation of the dose and the onset of symptoms.[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Common cold (up to 22%), influenza symptoms (up to 11%)
Common (1% to 10%): Injury/accidental injury, pain, infection, fungal infection, influenza
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Candida infection/candidiasis, flushing, retrosternal pain
Frequency not reported: Malaise, overgrowth of nonsusceptible organisms (superinfection)
Postmarketing reports: Asthenia[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 13.4%)
Common (1% to 10%): Nausea/vomiting, toothache, tooth disorder, dyspepsia, diarrhea, periodontal abscess, acid indigestion, upper abdominal pain, abdominal distention, abdominal pain, stomach discomfort, dry mouth
Rare (less than 0.1%): Glossitis, dysphagia, enterocolitis, inflammatory lesions (with candidal/monilial overgrowth) in the anogenital region, esophagitis, esophageal ulcerations, pancreatitis, pseudomembranous colitis, Clostridium difficile colitis, stomatitis
Frequency not reported: Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, esophageal irritation, ulceration, epigastric burning, black hairy tongue, tooth discoloration/adult tooth staining, vomiting, enamel hypoplasia, staphylococcal enterocolitis
Numerous cases of esophageal ulceration have been reported. In most cases, the patients had taken their medication at bedtime, usually without enough liquid. Patients often presented with severe retrosternal pain and difficulty swallowing. Ulcerations generally resolved within a week after discontinuing the drug. In 1 case report, severe hiccups of 4-day duration associated with esophagitis followed the first dose of this drug.
Esophagitis and esophageal ulcerations have been reported in patients taking the capsule or tablet formulations of tetracycline-class antibiotics. Most of these patients took the drug immediately before going to bed.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Joint pain/arthralgia, back pain/back ache
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Muscle pain/myalgia[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Bronchospasm
Common (1% to 10%): Rash (including maculopapular rash, erythematous rash), photosensitivity reaction/dermatitis
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, exfoliative dermatitis, photoonycholysis, drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS)
Frequency not reported: Nail discoloration, phototoxicity, photoallergic reaction, morbilliform rash, onycholysis, pustular rash
-Frequency not reported: Hyperpigmentation[Ref]
A case report of a possible photoallergic reaction described scaly erythema and vesicles on the face and neck associated with administration of this drug. Upon rechallenge, a flare with erythema, itching, and burning occurred in the same area.
Another case report was documented in Australian troops treated with 100 mg daily for malaria prophylaxis while on deployment in East Timor, a group of islands within the Malaysian archipelago located close to the equator. Of the 135 troops, 22 exhibited phototoxic reactions to low doses of this drug that resembled severe sunburn with erythematous plaques on the sun-exposed areas. The troops used a sunscreen containing oxybenzone.
An 11-year-old boy treated with this drug for brucellosis was evaluated for painless brown nail discoloration. This drug was initiated for brucellosis but stopped when the boy developed photosensitivity, but 15 days after the initiation of therapy brown nail discoloration developed. Other than the brown discoloration, the boy's physical condition was normal and the discoloration disappeared within 1 month.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Menstrual cramps, bacterial vaginitis, vulvovaginal mycotic infection
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vaginal infection
Frequency not reported: Vaginal itch, vaginitis
Common (1% to 10%): Hypertension, increased blood pressure
Frequency not reported: Phlebitis (with IV administration)
Common (1% to 10%): Increased AST
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Abnormal hepatic function, hepatic failure, hepatitis, hepatotoxicity, jaundice
Common (1% to 10%): Increased blood LDH, increased blood glucose
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Decreased appetite, porphyria
Frequency not reported: Hypoglycemia, anorexia[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Anxiety
Frequency not reported: Confusion, depression, hallucination
Common (1% to 10%): Anaphylactic reaction (including angioedema, exacerbation of systemic lupus erythematosus, pericarditis, hypersensitivity, serum sickness, Henoch-Schonlein purpura, hypotension, dyspnea, tachycardia, peripheral edema, urticaria)
Frequency not reported: Hypersensitivity reactions (including urticaria, angioneurotic edema, anaphylactic shock, anaphylaxis, anaphylactoid reactions, anaphylactoid purpura, serum sickness, hypotension, pericarditis, exacerbation of systemic lupus erythematosus, dyspnea, peripheral edema, tachycardia)
Frequency not reported: Increased prothrombin time, leukopenia, thrombocytopenic purpura[Ref]
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Increased BUN/blood urea (dose-related)
Frequency not reported: Acute renal failure[Ref]
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Microscopic brown-black discoloration of the thyroid gland[Ref]
-Frequency not reported: Autoimmune syndromes
Frequently asked questions
- How long after stopping doxycycline can I drink alcohol?
- What is the best antibiotic to treat a sinus infection?
- What are the best antibiotics for pneumonia?
- What is doxycycline hyclate used for?
- How long does doxycycline stay in your body after you finish your prescribed amount?
- Can I take doxycycline hyclate for strep throat?
- Can I take doxycycline if I am allergic to penicillin?
- Can taking doxycycline for acne worsen my skin?
- Can you smoke cigarettes or marijuana while on doxycycline hyclate 100mg?
- Is doxycycline hydrochloride 100mg a sulfa based drug?
- Will it be harmful to take doxycycline with iron supplements?
- Does doxycycline cause kidney pain?
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Related treatment guides
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Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.