What is Doxycycline and what is it used for?
Doxycycline is from the tetracycline antibiotics series; broad spectrum antibiotics which can be used to treat a wide range of bacteria-caused infections including malaria.
How does it work?
When a mosquito infected with malaria bites a person it passes the malaria parasite into the human bloodstream. Doxycycline targets this malaria parasite and kills it. It is used to prevent a malarial infection from developing, which is why it is important to start taking it before entering an area that has malaria-infected mosquitoes and why it is also important to continue taking it for up to 4 weeks after your return.
How should I take Doxycycline?
You should avoid alcohol while you are taking Doxycycline tablets. Take them with water or food if the tablets irritate your throat. Also, you should take them standing up or sitting up and not lie down for at least half an hour after taking a Doxycycline tablet. Take a daily dose of 100mg starting 1-2 days before exposure to a malaria endemic region, throughout your stay and continuing the treatment for 28 days after leaving the malaria prone area.
Which is better: Malarone or Doxycycline?
Doxycycline is only used for areas that are resistant to Chloroquine or with P. falciparum strains resistant to multiple drugs. Also, Doxycycline is cheaper, but has more side effects than Malarone.
You should start taking the medication 1-2 days before entering the malaria area, throughout the entire duration of your stay, then continue for another 4 weeks after leaving the malaria-affected area.
What are the side effects of Doxycycline?
Some common side effects include:
- sensitivity to light
Nausea can be minimised by taking the Doxycycline with food.
Can I take Doxycycline if I am pregnant?
You should not take Doxycycline if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, unless your doctor recommends it.
Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment.