Doxycycline Ruined My Life: Could this Prescription Antibiotic be a Silent Killer?

Medicines are supposed to heal the ailment, not exacerbate them. However, there are a few drugs that literally do so and make things worse for you.

Doxycycline is one of them that can ruin your life instead of heal ailments.

Since 1967, numerous medical case studies and literature have been published on the drugs’ adverse events and side effects. And in 61% of cases, Doxycycline had adverse side effects, including suicidal tendencies, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, mood swing, rashes, and so on.

Numerous patients around the globe have faced such jeopardizing side effects of Doxycycline. Before you start the dose, let me share their experience so that you can make the correct decision.

What is Doxycycline?

Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic that neutralizes bacteria by either destroying them directly or slowing down their growth long enough for the body’s immune system to deal with them.

The common indications for Doxycycline therapy are:

  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Intestinal infections
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Periodontal infections
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Tick fever

It is also prescribed for acne caused by rosacea. It has limited anti-inflammatory effects, secondary to its antimicrobial properties. This helps treat the inflammatory redness of the face seen in rosacea.

How Doxycycline Ruined My Life? Life stories and case studies

Yes, Doxycycline has ruined life for many. People often become suicidal with the increased dosages that make the drug dangerous for a few. Despite its use in treating diverse bacterial infections and inflammation, people are concerned about its side effects.

Life stories on how Doxycycline ruined lives

The worst case of Doxycycline side effects is Suicide or suicidal thoughts. Since 2013, several cases have come out either of committing or attempting suicide. According to her family member, Sylvia Harris from Boston, Massachusetts, had shown all the symptoms of withdrawal and mood swings before he took her life. She had no traumatic events or significant losses in life. Yes, she was taking doxycycline for treating acne.

Davies, a 42-year-old male, unwilling to disclose his further identity, started to feel a surge of suicidal thoughts a few weeks after starting Doxycycline to treat a ruptured cyst. The drug did limit the size of the cyst but initiated the unlimited imagination of committing suicide. Davies is still suffering from disturbing thoughts out of nowhere after stopping the drugs a few months ago.

Alen Sherwood from Rola, Missouri, had mid-chest pain right after he started his 2-weeks journey with Doxycycline. As days passed, things worsened, accompanied by an upset stomach, back pain, soar throat, and dizziness. Luckily his GP responded quickly and prescribed alternatives to save his life.

Dorothy Wesilogel from Erie, Pennsylvania, took Doxycycline for a sinus infection. Now, she woke up every morning with a stiff neck and severe back pain. Throughout the day, dizziness limits her movement with continuous pressure on the right side of the head. Issues like Tinnitus and panic attack is still common every day. She had a 2-month supply of Doxycycline, but she stopped taking it.

Cases of Suicidal Tendencies

According to a case report published by the NCBI and BMJ, three individual cases of suicidal ideation by the effect of Doxycycline have been confirmed.

Three young individuals with no prior history of psychological disturbances developed suicidal ideation. This resulted in suicide in two of the three cases. The individuals showed secondary symptoms like mood instability and anxiety in two of the three cases.

The MHRA, the chief regulatory body on drugs in the UK, has already begun investigating Doxycycline for developing suicidal ideation and mental disorders.

A study by Augusta University in the United States found that Doxycycline and 14 other antibiotics increase the risk of psychosis.

These findings have sparked the conversation of whether tetracyclines are safe and should their use be allowed.

Doxycycline and Mental Health

Recently, there has been a rise in concern about the effects of Tetracyclines and their impact on mental health. No psychiatric side effects of Doxycycline are listed anywhere in either the official or commercial documentation of the drug.

But more and more reports have surfaced detailing how patients with no history of lapse in mental health develop psychiatric problems over a few weeks by taking drugs like Doxycycline.

In many of these “Doxycycline ruined my life” posts, there are stories of people with happy, fulfilling lives suffering from severe depression and mental breakdowns after taking doxycycline. These drugs may have a hidden psychotic reaction that is not yet understood.

Studies are underway to determine if Doxycycline and other tetracycline drugs cause mental health and well-being deterioration.

Side effects of Doxycycline

The side effects of doxycycline are commonly mild. However, in some rare instances, the complications caused by the adverse effects may become deadly.

The severe reactions to doxycycline are infrequent. But there are some common effects that most people may encounter while taking Doxycycline. Patients often ask how long do doxycycline side effects last. Like its effectiveness, it also depends on the health conditions.

The most common side effects of Doxycycline are as follows:

Stomach upset

Nausea, vomiting, gas, and diarrhea are doxycycline’s most common long-term side effects. This is because doxycycline does not only affect the harmful bacteria causing infections but also damages the good beneficial bacteria inside your body.

The gut flora is essential for proper digestion and excretion of food. Taking potent antimicrobial drugs like doxycycline causes damage to these good bacteria. This, in turn, causes gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and indigestion.

doxycycline ruined my life

To prevent this, doctors recommend taking Doxycycline with food. This helps mitigate the effects on the normal microbiota of the gut.

If you are wondering what to eat with doxycycline to avoid stomach upset, I will get back to you with a new article soon. Stay put.

Sore Throat

Doxycycline also damages the normal flora of the throat. It irritates the esophagus, which is perceived as a burning sensation. Doxycycline might also cause disturbances within the mucosa of the throat, causing irritation and pain.

To prevent throat irritation, you should take your doxycyclin right before bed. Laying down immediately after taking doxycycline tends to reduce irritation of the esophagus.

Photosensitivity

Photosensitivity is a common side effect seen in tetracycline drugs. It means the skin becomes overly sensitive to the sun. This is because of the interactions of chemicals in the drug that reacts with the sun’s UV rays.

Photosensitivity can cause sunburns, redness, skin irritation, rash, or even blisters when exposed to sunlight. In this case, wearing sunscreen can help protect your skin from damage.

Fatigue and Malaise

Can doxycycline make you extremely tired? Yes, doxycycline can cause tiredness and fatigue. This can make you feel drowsy and make it difficult to concentrate and do day-to-day tasks.

If you find that taking doxycycline makes you too tired to work, you should ask your doctor to lower your dosage. You should also take your doxycycline before going to bed.

Dizziness

The exact mechanism of how tetracyclines affect the brain and the central nervous system is still unknown. But drugs like doxycycline are often reported to cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness, confusion, etc. 

If you’re facing symptoms like these, stop taking the drugs. Talk to your doctor and find out if they are caused by the medication or any other underlying condition. Otherwise, you will end up posting about ‘how doxycycline ruined my life’.

Except for these common side effects, doxycycline has many more adverse effects. These are less common but may appear due to certain factors. Most are rare, so you don’t have to worry about them while taking Doxycycline.

Systemic side effects of Doxycycline

  1. Gastrointestinal side effects:
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Toothache
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Acidity
  • Abdominal pain
  • Heartburn
  • Glossitis
  • Esophagitis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory lesions
  1. Respiratory side effects:
  • Inflammation of nasopharynx
  • Sore throat
  • Sinusitis
  • Dry cough
  • Nasal congestion
  • Bronchitis
  • Bronchospasm
  1. Dermatological side effects:
  • Red rash
  • Dermatitis
  • Photosensitivity
  • Blister formation
  • Skin discoloration
  • Nail discoloration
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  1. Genitourinary side effects:
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Vaginitis
  • Vaginal infection 
  • Candidiasis (in women)
  1. Cardiovascular side effects:
  • Hypertension
  • Phlebitis
  1. Hepatic side effects:
  • Increased AST
  • Hepatitis
  • Abnormal hepatic function
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Jaundice
  • Fatty liver degeneration
  1. Musculoskeletal side effects:
  • Joint pain
  • Backache
  • Muscle pain
  1. Psychiatric side effects:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Hallucination

Precautions while taking Doxycycline

Doxycycline is a powerful antibiotic. So it has to be taken carefully and following certain precautions.

Doxycycline is not prescribed to children under 8 years or pregnant mothers. Tetracyclines can cause enamel damage and discoloration of teeth in young children. In pregnancy, it can pass through the placental membrane and cause harm to the baby’s bones, and cause permanent discoloration of teeth later in life.

Doxycycline is also not prescribed to people who are allergic to tetracycline medication. You cannot take Doxycycline if you fall under any of the following criteria:

  • Have an allergic reaction to doxycycline or any other tetracycline medication
  • Suffering from Liver disease
  • Suffering from Kidney disease
  • Suffering from Oesophageal inflammation (oesophagitis)
  • Have asthma or sulfite allergy
  • Have an increased intracranial pressure
  • Suffering from any autoimmune condition

What to avoid while taking Doxycycline?

Do not use doxycycline within 2 hours of ingesting iron, multivitamins, calcium supplements, antacids, or laxatives.

Unless otherwise directed by your doctor, doxycycline should not be used with any other antibiotics.

Stay out of the sun and tanning booths. It’s possible that doxycycline could make you more susceptible to sunburn. Protect yourself from the sun by donning a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) whenever you venture outdoors.

Diarrhea caused by antibiotics is an indicator of a new infection. You should see a doctor if you have diarrhea that is either watery or bloody.

If your doctor has not prescribed an anti-diarrhea medication, you should not take one.

Tetracycline and its Side Effects

Since doxycycline is a type of tetracycline, it shares many of the same side effects. Along with these, new reports are beginning to show that doxycycline may have neurological and psychiatric side effects which are not yet understood.

Tetracyclines are powerful antibiotics and are known for causing severe side effects. Some of the side effects include:

  • Discoloration of teeth
  • Irritation of the stomach and intestines
  • Photosensitivity
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Red skin rash or peeling of the skin
  • Pale or yellow discoloration of the skin
  • Painful, red, or discolored tongue
  • Increased intracranial pressure
  • Muscle paralysis due to blocked nerve transmission
  • Anxiety, memory loss, hallucinations

Among the drugs in the tetracycline family, minocycline is reported to cause severe side effects, including neurological disorders. But there is still insufficient data to understand how these antibiotics may affect the psyche and behavior.

Doxycycline Dose

Doxycycline is most commonly available in capsules. But it is also available in tablet, suspension, and injectable forms.

The adult doses for doxycycline capsule form are as follows:

  • Monodox – 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg
  • Vibramycin – 100 mg
  • Adoxa – 150 mg

Available doses in tablet form:

  • Generic, Adoxa – 20 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg
  • Acticlate – 75 mg, 150 mg

Doses in Syrup and Oral suspension form:

  • Vibramycin (syrup) – 50 mg/5 mL
  • Vibramycin (oral suspension) – 25 mg/5 mL

What happens if you miss a dose?

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next planned dose, skip the missed one and go back to your regular routine. Don’t double up on your medication to try to catch up.

FAQs

Can doxycycline cause permanent damage?

Yes, doxycycline can cause permanent damage to teeth in infants and children. Most of the other side effects of doxycycline are reversible.

What are the long-term effects of doxycycline?

Long-term effects of doxycycline include discoloration of teeth and enamel hypoplasia in children during teeth development. There are no known long-term effects for adults.

How long do the effects of doxycycline last?

Doxycycline has a serum half-life of 16 – 22 hours. So it will last in your body for about five days.

Does doxycycline make you feel bad?

Yes, doxycycline has been reported to cause instability in the mood. It may also cause anxiety.

Can doxycycline hyclate make you depressed?

The exact mechanism and effects of doxycycline on behavior and mental health are still not understood. But there is evidence to show that doxycycline may cause depression. It leaves behind many people complaining, ‘doxycycline hyclate ruined my life.’

Conclusion

So Doxycycline could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is a simple, widely used antibiotic that might condemn you to death. In light of the recent revelations about doxycycline, the “Doxycycline ruined my life” posts seem all too relevant.

The key to solving the problem of dangerous drugs is awareness. Knowing about the dangers of any medicine and the warning signs may very well be the difference between life and death.

Hopefully, you have learned enough by reading this article to spread the word to your loved ones. The more people know, the safer they will be.

Muhtasim Munir

Muhtasim Munir

As a doctor in the making, I feel fascinated by the advancements and expansion of medical science. This fuels my passion for trying to follow a health-conscious lifestyle. I love writing and sharing thoughts and ideas with the people I care about. If my work can reach out and help people to enjoy a healthy, happy life it will be an honor for me. Muhtasim Munir MBBS (3rd year) Armed Forces Medical College

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