How to Avoid Doxycycline Side Effects

Doxycycline, an antibiotic commonly prescribed for acne and other conditions, can result in side effects similar to most other antibiotics, including nausea, upset stomach, and yeast infections 1. Other side effects, which are not common to most other antibiotics, include sensitivity to the sun -- which might make you more likely to get a sunburn -- and esophageal irritation or damage. Although it's never possible to avoid side effects completely, you can take certain measures to avoid doxycycline side effects 1.

Ensure that your physician is aware of all medications and over-the-counter vitamin supplements or herbal remedies that you are taking. Certain medications might combine with doxycycline to intensify the side effects of both 1. For example, ibuprofen can increase your skin's sensitivity to sunlight, just as doxycycline can -- if you take both, you might be at risk for a bad sunburn.

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Take doxycycline with food or following a meal. If you have taken doxycycline on an empty stomach before and gotten away with it, the next time may be different. Taking it with food helps minimize nausea and upset stomach.

Don't lie down for at least an hour after you take doxycycline, and always take it with plenty of water as directed by your doctor. This will help avoid an extremely unpleasant side effect: esophageal irritation and ulceration, which causes pain or difficulty in swallowing, and a feeling of heartburn. In some cases, the ulceration is so severe that doctors need to perform tests to rule out esophageal cancer.

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Avoid, if possible, taking doxycycline along with other medications that are known to irritate the stomach as a side effect 1. With your doctor's permission and advice, space out the medications accordingly.

Prevent sunburn by avoiding prolonged or unnecessary sun exposure, and by wearing protective clothing -- such as long sleeves and hats -- and sunscreen when outside.

Prevent yeast infections by eating foods, such as yogurt and certain cheeses with active cultures, that contain lactobacillus. Lactobacillus is also available as an over-the-counter supplement in capsule form. If you choose a supplement, follow the instructions on the package.


Caffeine, alcohol and certain foods may cause further stomach upset.

Consult a doctor if you have any questions about doxycycline or experience any unpleasant or persistent side effects.


If you experience symptoms of a possible allergic reaction to doxycycline, such as hives, itching, or difficult breathing, stop taking the drug and seek immediate medical attention.

Unless you suspect an allergic reaction, take your doxycycline as your doctor prescribes. Do not stop taking it without your doctor's approval.