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A guide to doxycycline hyclate

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UsesHow it worksSide effectsSummary
Doxycycline hyclate is an antibiotic that doctors prescribe to help treat a variety of infections. This medication can also help manage skin conditions like acne.
Medically reviewed by Philip Ngo, PharmD
Written by D. M. Pollock
Updated on

Doxycycline hyclate is a type of antibiotic that belongs to a category of medications called tetracyclines. These antibiotics can help treat infections caused by a wide variety of bacteria.

Doctors can prescribe a course of doxycycline hyclate for conditions ranging from chest infections to dental issues, and they can also be used for malaria prevention. The dosage of this medication that you will take depends on the reason you receive a prescription.

Doxycycline hyclate (and other forms of doxycycline) is not always the best treatment for everyone, though. This is because it can interact with other medications, which can lead to serious side effects.

Knowing more about doxycycline hyclate can help you determine whether it’s right for you. You can speak with a healthcare professional for advice and a potential prescription.

What is it used for?

A person on a video call with a doctor, asking questions about doxycycline hyclate and what it's used for.
Photography by Damircudic/Getty Images

Doctors prescribe doxycycline hyclate (Doryx) for various medical reasons, including bacterial infections and other conditions that can be triggered by bacteria on your skin. It is available as a liquid solution, tablets, or capsules.

The dosage a doctor recommends to help treat bacterial infections will vary depending on the severity of the infection and the treatment goals.

Doxycycline hyclate is also a medication that you can take to prevent malaria while traveling in areas that may place you at a higher risk of contracting this infection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if a doctor prescribes this medication for malaria prevention, your dosage will differ from the dosage prescribed to someone receiving treatment for another type of infection.

If you are over the age of 8 years and not pregnant, doxycycline is safe to take as a preventive measure. The daily single dose for an adult is 100 milligrams (mg) per day. You will need to take one dose per day, starting a couple of days before you travel until 28 days after you return.

A doctor will calculate your child’s dosage based on their weight, but it will not exceed 100 mg.

Treatment for the following bacterial infections often includes doxycycline hyclate:

The dosage for treating mild to moderate bacterial infections starts at 100 mg every 12 hours on day 1, then 100 mg per day from the second day onward. If the infection is in your pelvis, your dosage will be 100 mg twice per day for 1 week.

Doxycycline hyclate is also useful for treating rare infections, such as:

This medication can also help reduce inflammation in people who experience excessive inflammation that causes health conditions like osteoarthritis.

If a doctor prescribes doxycycline hyclate for inflammation, it will start at 40 mg per day. This low dosage keeps the healthy bacteria in your gut alive, which is important for preventing side effects. But while this is usually a starting dosage, a doctor can increase it if they feel it’s appropriate. Always follow their instructions.

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How does it work?

Doxycycline hyclate belongs to the group of antibiotics called tetracycline antibiotics. These medications work by stopping bacteria from making certain proteins they need to survive, which then kills them.

They also prevent the rapid increase of white blood cells in the immune systems of people who have high levels of inflammation. This is what helps reduce excess inflammation.

If you are receiving treatment for an infection, you should start to feel better within a few days. But it’s important to finish a course of antibiotics completely, even if you feel better, no matter which type of antibiotic you are taking.

Side effects and interactions

Doxycycline hyclate may not be the right medication for everyone. While they do not affect everybody, the side effects of doxycycline hyclate can be serious and unpleasant.

If you have previously had an adverse experience with doxycycline hyclate, tell your doctor. They may advise that you avoid it in the future.

In children under the age of 8 years and in a fetus in the second half of pregnancy, doxycycline can cause permanent tooth discoloration. For this reason, a doctor will weigh the pros and cons of prescribing this medication to children or pregnant people before deciding whether they should take it.

Common side effects include:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headaches
  • skin rashes
  • sensitivity to light

While doxycycline is one of the more easily tolerable tetracycline antibiotics, serious side effects can occur despite being rare. These include:

  • migraine
  • chest pain
  • anemia
  • high blood pressure
  • fast heart rate
  • shortness of breath
  • fever
  • respiratory problems

If you are taking penicillin or isotretinoin (Absorica), you cannot also take doxycycline. If you take anticoagulant medications like warfarin to prevent blood clots, a doctor may recommend reducing its dosage while you’re taking doxycycline hyclate.

Doctors also usually recommend that you avoid taking doxycycline hyclate soon after consuming dairy because calcium can affect how the medication is absorbed in your body.

Other factors that may prevent a doctor from prescribing this medication can include:

Finally, you should not lie down for at least 1 hour after taking the medication to avoid throat irritation, due to its potential to get stuck in your esophagus.


A doctor may prescribe doxycycline hyclate for a variety of health concerns, from skin conditions like acne to bacterial infections or preventing a malaria infection.

Your dosage of the medication will depend on the treatment goals but typically will not exceed 100 mg every 12 hours.

Children under the age of 8 years are unlikely to receive doxycycline hyclate due to the risks of tooth discoloration. This is also the case for people in the second half of pregnancy because it may cause tooth discoloration in a fetus.

This antibiotic is not for everyone, so if you experience any severe side effects, speak with a doctor as soon as possible. They may be able to recommend an effective alternative.

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