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Doxycycline Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to doxycycline: oral capsule, oral capsule extended release, oral powder for suspension, oral syrup, oral tablet, oral tablet delayed release

Doxycycline side effects - call your doctor right away

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
  • Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed.
  • Fever, chills, or sore throat; any unexplained bruising or bleeding; or feeling very tired or weak.
  • Throat irritation.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Fast breathing.
  • Flushing.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Change in skin color.
  • Swollen gland.
  • Vaginal itching or discharge.
  • Diarrhea is common with antibiotics. Rarely, a severe form called C diff–associated diarrhea (CDAD) may happen. Sometimes, this has led to a deadly bowel problem (colitis). CDAD may happen during or a few months after taking antibiotics. Call your doctor right away if you have stomach pain, cramps, or very loose, watery, or bloody stools. Check with your doctor before treating diarrhea.
  • Raised pressure in the brain has happened with this medicine (doxycycline tablets and capsules). Most of the time, this will go back to normal after this medicine (doxycycline tablets and capsules) is stopped. Sometimes, loss of eyesight may happen and may not go away even after this medicine (doxycycline tablets and capsules) is stopped. Call your doctor right away if you have a headache or eyesight problems like blurred eyesight, seeing double, or loss of eyesight.

What are some other doxycycline side effects?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Not hungry.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Diarrhea.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

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

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (up to 26%)

Common (1% to 10%): Sinus headache

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Bulging fontanels (in infants), benign intracranial hypertension (pseudotumor cerebri [symptoms include blurred vision, scotomata, diplopia]), tinnitus

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

Postmarketing reports: Pseudotumor cerebri, headache, dizziness[Ref]

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]

Other

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]

Gastrointestinal

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

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Gum pain, heartburn/gastritis

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

Postmarketing reports: Bloody diarrhea, colitis, constipation, superficial tooth discoloration[Ref]

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]

Musculoskeletal

Common (1% to 10%): Joint pain/arthralgia, back pain/back ache

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Muscle pain/myalgia[Ref]

Respiratory

Common (1% to 10%): Nasopharyngitis, sore throat, sinus congestion, coughing, sinusitis, bronchitis, nasal congestion, pharyngolaryngeal pain

Frequency not reported: Bronchospasm

Dermatologic

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

Postmarketing reports: Pruritus, urticaria

Tetracyclines:

-Frequency not reported: Hyperpigmentation[Ref]

In a double-blinded study, this drug was found to be more phototoxic than minocycline and demeclocycline. Paresthesias of the body areas exposed to sunlight may be early signs of sunburn reactions.

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]

Genitourinary

Common (1% to 10%): Menstrual cramps, bacterial vaginitis, vulvovaginal mycotic infection

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vaginal infection

Frequency not reported: Vaginal itch, vaginitis

Postmarketing reports: Vaginal candidiasis/moniliasis, anogenital moniliasis[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Common (1% to 10%): Hypertension, increased blood pressure

Frequency not reported: Phlebitis (with IV administration)

Hepatic

Common (1% to 10%): Increased AST

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Abnormal hepatic function, hepatic failure, hepatitis, hepatotoxicity, jaundice

Frequency not reported: Acute hepatocellular injury, cholestatic reactions, cholestatic hepatitis, fatty liver degeneration, transient increases in liver function tests[Ref]

Metabolic

Hypoglycemia in a nondiabetic patient has been reported.[Ref]

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]

Psychiatric

Common (1% to 10%): Anxiety

Frequency not reported: Confusion, depression, hallucination

Hypersensitivity

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)

Postmarketing reports: Mild allergic reactions[Ref]

Hematologic

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, eosinophilia

Frequency not reported: Increased prothrombin time, leukopenia, thrombocytopenic purpura[Ref]

Renal

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Increased BUN/blood urea (dose-related)

Frequency not reported: Acute renal failure[Ref]

Endocrine

The long-term use of tetracyclines has been associated with microscopic brown-black discoloration of the thyroid gland; abnormal thyroid function has not been reported.[Ref]

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Microscopic brown-black discoloration of the thyroid gland[Ref]

Ocular

Frequency not reported: Diplopia, papilledema, loss of vision (associated with drug-induced benign intracranial hypertension), conjunctivitis, periorbital edema[Ref]

Immunologic

Tetracyclines:

-Frequency not reported: Autoimmune syndromes

References

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.

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