Tips for Taking Doxycycline

Doxycycline is the first line treatment for Lyme disease for adults and older children. The following tips may helpful to be aware of while you are taking it:

  • Stay upright after taking Doxycycline for at least an hour or longer as it can be very harsh on the upper gut.
  • Don’t take Doxycycline with calcium rich foods as calcium can impede the uptake of the drug. You can still eat calcium rich foods,  but not at the same time as taking the drug.
  • Doxycycline can make your skin very photosensitive even in mild sunlight so it’s very important to cover up and use high factor sun cream on any exposed skin.
  • A good probiotic (if tolerated) while on antibiotics can help protect your gut. Take probiotics at least 2 hours away from when you take your antibiotics or take at bedtime so they can work on an empty stomach.
  • Drink plenty of water while taking Doxycycline to help flush out toxins and to help you keep well hydrated. Some people find squeezing a fresh lemon into the water helps too.
  • Be aware of the possibility of a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. This is a systemic reaction thought to be caused by the release of cytokines when antibiotics kill large numbers of bacteria. Symptoms may include a worsening of fever, chills, muscle pains and headache. The reaction may start soon after starting antibiotics but can also occur slightly later and may last for a few hours or several days.

Disclaimer: These tips have been written by patients, for patients and reflect advice from the following sources: NICE Lyme Disease Guideline, NHS website and the RCGP Lyme Disease Toolkit. For further information, please visit the links provided. If you have any concerns about taking your medication, contact your prescribing doctor without delay.