Doxycycline: Contraindications, Drug & Food Interactions

Instructor: Alexandra Unfried

Alexandra earned her master's degree in nursing education and is currently a hospital supervisor/administrator.

Doxycycline is an antibiotic that is taken for many different bacterial infections. With any medication, it is important to understand the reason for the medication as well as what to expect when taking it. This lesson will discuss the contraindications and drug and food interactions when taking doxycycline.

Mark has acne from rosacea and has been prescribed doxycycline to help his skin clear up. He is not comfortable taking unnecessary antibiotics so he wants to ask his doctor some questions about the safety of the medication and if there are any precautions he should take.

Example of rosacea

Uses for doxycycline

Doxycycline is a broad spectrum antibiotic that is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. These include respiratory infections, sexually transmitted diseases, eye infections, skin infections such as those caused by rosacea, gum disease, urinary tract infections, and intestinal infections. It is also used to prevent malaria and treat infections caused by mice, lice, and ticks.

Antibiotic capsule

Specifically for Mark, he will be taking doxycycline for the blemishes, bumps, and acne-like lesions on his face, in combination with a topical treatment for redness.

Contraindications for Doxycycline

There are two types of contraindications that relate to medications. Absolute contraindication means that a medication used with other medications or procedures could be life threatening and must be avoided. Relative contraindication means that a medication may be used with caution with other medications or procedures as long as the benefits are greater than the risk.

Examples of absolute contraindications for doxycycline include:

  • Allergy to tetracycline antibiotics (classification of antibiotics that doxycycline falls under)
  • Children under eight years of age (unless there is no other option)
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding (affects bone and tooth development in unborn baby and infant)

Examples of relative contraindications for doxycycline include:

  • Allergies to other medications, foods, or substances
  • Current diarrhea or a history of lupus (autoimmune disease) or porphyria (blood disease)
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • History of yeast infections
  • Recent colitis caused by antibiotic use

Mark is a relatively healthy individual so he does not have any contraindications to take doxycycline. However, he is now curious about any drug or food interactions that may occur during his treatment.

Drug and Food Interactions when using Doxycycline

There are over several hundred different drug interactions that are known to occur with doxycycline. That is why it is important to let your doctor know all of the medications, vitamins, and supplements that you are taking. The following list will discuss the more common medications and interactions.

Drug interactions:

Decrease in effectiveness of doxycycline

  • Antacids, barbiturates (central nervous system depressant), carbamazepine or hydantoins (anticonvulsant), iron, or alkanizers

Decrease of effectiveness of other medication while taking doxycycline

  • Hormonal birth control, live oral typhoid vaccine, or penicillin (antibiotic)

Increase in side effects of doxycycline

  • Anticoagulants (blood thinners), digoxin (heart medication), insulin (diabetes medication), methotrexate (immunosuppressant), acitretin (for psoriasis), or isotretinoin (for acne)

On the other hand, there are only two food/lifestyle interactions that are known to occur when taking doxycycline. These include

  • Alcohol (minor interaction: increased elimination of doxycycline)
  • Multivitamins with minerals (iron can affect the absorption of doxycycline)

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