Doxycycline is a useful antibiotic that can treat a wide variety of conditions, including malaria, bacterial infections, or even acne from rosacea. This medication comes in both pill and liquid form. In both cases, follow the instructions from your doctor. Doxycycline can cause some side effects, but most of these can be treated effectively at home. Just make sure that your doctor knows your medical history and current medications to prevent any serious problems.

Method 1 of 4:
Taking the Pill Form

  1. 1
    Read the label of the medicine for dosage. Dosages of doxycycline can vary. The label on the side of your prescription should state how many pills you should take and how many times a day you can take them. In most cases, you will take 1 pill once or twice a day.[1]
    • If you have any questions about your medication, ask your doctor or a pharmacist.
    • If you are told to take half of a pill, use a pill cutter to slice the pill down the line in the middle. You can also break it with your thumb and index finger. Avoid splitting, chewing, or crushing delayed-release tablets.
    • If you are taking the brand Oracea, keep in mind that you cannot eat for 1-2 hours before taking the pill. With other brands, you may be able to eat.
    • If you are using doxycycline to prevent malaria, you may need to start taking it 1-2 days before you leave for the region where malaria is prevalent.
  2. 2
    Swallow the pill while standing or sitting upright. Take the medication while standing, sitting, or walking. Do not take it while lying down or reclining, or you may experience throat irritation.[2]
    • If you need help swallowing the pill, try taking a sip of water with it. You can also put the pill in soft food like applesauce or yogurt. Swallow it without chewing. This may reduce how much medicine your body absorbs, however.
  3. 3
    Drink a full glass of water with the pill. Fill an 8 oz (230 g) glass with water. You can use the water to help you swallow the pill. Afterwards, drink the rest of the water.[3]
    • Drinking the full glass of water can help the pill work properly and help you avoid throat irritation.[4]
  4. 4
    Continue taking the medication until it is gone. Do not stop taking your medication just because you think you feel better. Your infection could return. Take the full course of medication as specified by your doctor on the label of the medication.[5]
    • This is also true if you're trying to prevent malaria. Generally, you'll need to take the medication for 4 weeks after returning.
  5. 5
    Take a missed dose right away unless it is almost time for the next dose. Swallow the pill as soon as you remember that you missed it. If you are about to take your next dose, however, skip the missed dose. Do not double up on your medicine.[6]
    • The dose is determined by the strength of the medicine, the health issue in question, and body weight. Because of this, there's not a standard dose. The number of daily doses and the time between doses depends on the medical problem you're having. If you have questions about taking a missed dose, contact your prescribing doctor for instructions.[7]
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Method 2 of 4:
Using a Liquid Suspension

  1. 1
    Shake the bottle before opening. Do this every time you take the medication. This will help the medication mix, helping you get the right amount of medication in each dose.[8]
  2. 2
    Pour out the right dose as specified by your doctor. The label of your medication should state how much medicine you need in each dose. Measure the liquid with a dosing syringe, cup, or spoon, which will come with the prescription. Use the milliliter measurements on the side to help you get the right dose.[9]
    • Be sure to check the label for frequency of your doses.
    • If you don’t have a dosing cup or spoon, get one at a pharmacy.
    • If you have any questions about your dose or doxycycline, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  3. 3
    Swallow the medication while sitting or standing upright. This will prevent irritation to your throat and stomach. You may stand, sit, or even walk. Take the entire dose of medication at once.[10]
  4. 4
    Drink a whole glass of water afterwards. Aim for an 8 oz (230 g) glass. Drinking the full glass of water will help you wash the pill down and help it work more effectively. Continue to drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day while you are on doxycycline.[11]
  5. 5
    Take a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, however, skip the missed dose and just take the next dose. Do not take extra medicine in a single dose.[12]
  6. 6
    Take the full course of medication. Your doctor should tell you how many days you need to take doxycycline. Do not stop taking it early, even if you feel better. There may be a little extra medication left in the bottle when you finish your round.[13]
    • This is also true if you're trying to prevent infection rather than treat it.
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Method 3 of 4:
Dealing with Side Effects

  1. 1
    See your doctor if you have diarrhea, headache, or other side effects. An upset stomach, blurred vision, sore throat, muscle or joint pain, and dizziness are other symptoms you might experience. As soon as possible, see your doctor to discuss what treatment options are right for you.[14]
    • Diarrhea can occur up to 2 months after you stop taking doxycycline. See your doctor as soon as possible. Don’t take any diarrhea medications, as some can interact with doxycycline and make your diarrhea worse.
    • Headache, dizziness, and blurred vision may be signs of intracranial hypertension, which is high pressure around your brain and spine. Women who are of childbearing age or overweight are at increased risk of this.
  2. 2
    Take the medication with food or milk if you have an upset stomach. If the medication gives you a stomachache, nausea, or cramps, try taking your medication after eating a full meal. Alternatively, you can try to drink a glass of milk instead of water after taking the pill.[15]
    • If you take the pill in this way, you may not get as much of the medication as you need. Always talk to your doctor first to make sure that this is the right option for you.
  3. 3
    Use a second form of birth control if you use estrogen pills. Doxycycline can reduce the effectiveness of hormonal birth control. If you have sex while taking this medication, make sure you that you use other forms of birth control as well, such as condoms. You do not have to stop taking your birth control.[16]
  4. 4
    Protect yourself from the sun. Doxycycline may cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun. While you are taking this medication, avoid sun exposure between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. Wear a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30, and cover up as much of your skin with clothing as possible.[17]
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Method 4 of 4:
Undergoing Medical Supervision

  1. 1
    Tell your doctor about any health problems before taking doxycycline. Share whether you currently have or have had a history of kidney problems, lupus, asthma, or intracranial hypertension. You should also inform your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your doctor will decide if it is safe for you to take doxycycline.[18]
    • Even if your health problem isn't included in this list, it's still a good idea to make your doctor aware of it.
  2. 2
    Tell your doctor about other medications or supplements you are taking. Some medications may interact with doxycycline, which can cause serious side effects. If you are taking any other medications, make sure your doctor knows. They will decide if it is safe to take doxycycline. Some medications known to interact with it include:[19]
    • Warfarin
    • Antacids
    • Medications containing bismuth like Pepto-Bismol
    • Epilepsy medications
    • Iron, calcium, zinc, or magnesium supplements
  3. 3
    Store the medication in a cool, dry place away from pets and children. A shelf or medicine cabinet is ideal. Make sure that the cap is screwed on tightly. Keep the bottle out of sunlight and away from direct sources of heat, such as a radiator or stove.[20]
    • Be sure to store liquid medication at room temperature.
    • If children or pets swallow the medication, call Poison Control or your vet right away.
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      Warnings

      • Always follow your doctor’s instructions when taking doxycycline or any other medication.
      • Only give doxycycline to a child if you have your doctor’s permission.
      • Call your doctor immediately if you accidentally take an extra dose.
      • If you're taking this medication to prevent malaria, you still need to take other precautions like using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and using mosquito netting.
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      About This Article

      wikiHow Staff
      Co-authored by:
      This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been viewed 7,980 times.
      10 votes - 100%
      Co-authors: 2
      Updated: May 18, 2019
      Views: 7,980
      Article SummaryX

      To take doxycycline in pill form, take 1 or half a pill once or twice a day, depending on your doctor’s instructions. Take the medication with a glass of water while you’re standing or sitting upright to help reduce throat irritation. If you’re taking doxycycline in liquid form, shake the bottle before opening it to ensure you get the right amount of medicine in each dose. Then, pour out the dose specified by your doctor and take it while standing or sitting upright. Regardless of which form you take, make sure to drink a glass of water afterwards to wash down the medication and help it work more effectively. For more advice from our Medical co-author, including what to do if you miss a dose, keep reading!

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