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Doxycycline vs. Amoxicillin

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  • 0:03 Antibiotics
  • 0:34 Doxycycline
  • 2:19 Amoxicillin
  • 3:22 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson compares and contrasts two very well-known antibiotics called doxycycline and amoxicillin. Among other things, you'll find out if they work the same way and target the same bacteria.

Antibiotics

There's a good chance that you can thank antibiotics for being alive. Antibiotics are drugs that target bacteria and either kill them outright or prohibit them from multiplying. If you've ever had a bacterial infection, you've probably relied on them to feel better, or even survive.

There are many different antibiotics, and two very well-known ones are called doxycycline and amoxicillin. In this lesson, we'll go over some brief but important points about each medication and then help you compare the two.

Doxycycline

Doxycycline is the generic name for a lot of different medications that contain it, including Monodox and Vibramycin. It works by disabling a bacterium's ability to synthesize proteins. If it can't make proteins, the bacteria can't grow. This means that doxycycline is a bacteriostatic antibiotic, which translates roughly as something that inhibits (-static) bacteria (bacterio-).

Uses

Doxycycline is used to target a broad variety of bacteria and the conditions they may cause. As a result, it's sometimes called a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It can treat many different forms of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Gram-positive bacteria are those with thick cell walls, while Gram-negative bacteria have thinner cell walls.

Examples of Gram-positive bacteria whose growth doxycycline can inhibit include:

  • Bacillus anthracis, which causes the deadly disease anthrax
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae, which can lead to pneumonia

Examples of Gram-negative bacteria whose growth doxycycline can inhibit include:

  • Escherichia coli, which causes diarrhea
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae, responsible for the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea

This doesn't mean doxycycline is the only antibiotic that can deal with these bacteria or that it's the first line of defense for these issues. That's because factors like the availability of more effective or safer alternatives, as well as bacterial resistance and a person's other medical conditions, can all play a role in deciding if doxycycline, or another antibiotic, should be used.

With that in mind, conditions that doxycycline is sometimes used to treat include:

  • Eye infections
  • Gonorrhea
  • Intestinal infections
  • Malaria
  • Rosacea
  • Urinary tract infections

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