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Doxycycline hyclate is a broad-spectrum tetracycline-class antibiotic used in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria and certain parasites. It is used to treat bacterial pneumonia, acne, chlamydia infections, Lyme disease, cholera, typhus, and syphilis. It is also used to prevent malaria and in combination with quinine, to treat malaria. Doxycycline may be taken by mouth or by injection into a vein.
Common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and an increased risk of sunburn. Use after the first trimester of pregnancy or in young children may result in permanent discoloration of the teeth. Its use during breastfeeding is probably safe. Doxycycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, of the tetracycline class. Like other agents of this class, it either slows or kills bacteria by inhibiting protein production. It kills malaria by targeting a plastid organelle, the apicoplast.
Doxycycline hyclate was patented in 1957 and came into commercial use in 1967. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. Doxycycline is available as a generic medicine. In 2017, it was the 113th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with more than six million prescriptions.
Medical use of Doxycycline hyclate
In addition to the general indications for all members of the tetracycline antibiotics group, doxycycline is frequently used to treat Lyme disease, chronic prostatitis, sinusitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, acne, rosacea, and rickettsial infections.
In Canada, in 2004, doxycycline was considered a first-line treatment for chlamydia and non-gonococcal urethritis and with cefixime for uncomplicated gonorrhea.
Moraxella catarrhalis, Brucella melitensis, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae are generally susceptible to doxycycline, while some Haemophilus spp., Mycoplasma hominis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa have developed resistance to varying degrees. It is used in the treatment and prophylaxis of anthrax and Leptospirosis. It is also effective against Yersinia pestis (the infectious agent of bubonic plague), and is prescribed for the treatment of Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Doxycycline hyclate is indicated for treatment of:
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever, typhus fever and the typhus group, Q fever, rickettsialpox, and tick fevers caused by Rickettsia
- Respiratory tract infections caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae
- Lymphogranuloma venereum, trachoma, inclusion conjunctivitis, and uncomplicated urethral, endocervical, or rectal infections in adults caused by Chlamydia trachomatis
- Nongonococcal urethritis caused by Ureaplasma urealyticum
- Relapsing fever due to Borrelia recurrentis
- Chancroid caused by Haemophilus ducreyi
- Plague due to Yersinia pestis
- Campylobacter fetus infections
- Brucellosis caused by Brucella species (in conjunction with streptomycin)
- Granuloma inguinale (Klebsiella species)
- Lyme disease
When bacteriologic testing indicates appropriate susceptibility to the drug, doxycycline may be used to treat these infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria:
- Escherichia coli infections
- Enterobacter aerogenes (formerly Aerobacter aerogenes) infections
- Shigella species infections
- Acinetobacter species (formerly Mima species and Herellea species) infections
- Respiratory tract infections caused by Haemophilus influenzae
- Respiratory tract and urinary tract infections caused by Klebsiella species
Some Gram-positive bacteria have developed resistance to doxycycline. Up to 44% of Streptococcus pyogenes and up to 74% of S. faecalis specimens have developed resistance to the tetracycline group of antibiotics. Up to 57% of P.acnes strains developed resistance to doxycycline. When bacteriologic testing indicates appropriate susceptibility to the drug, doxycycline may be used to treat these infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria:
- Upper respiratory infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (formerly Diplococcus pneumoniae)
- Skin and soft tissue infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections
- Anthrax caused by Bacillus anthracis infection
When penicillin is contraindicated, doxycycline can be used to treat:
- Syphilis caused by Treponema pallidum
- Yaws caused by Treponema pertenue
- Listeriosis due to Listeria monocytogenes
- Vincent’s infection caused by Fusobacterium fusiforme
- Actinomycosis caused by Actinomyces israelii
- Infections caused by Clostridium species
Doxycycline may also be used as adjunctive therapy for severe acne.
The first-line treatment for brucellosis is a combination of doxycycline and streptomycin and the second-line is a combination of doxycycline and rifampicin (rifampin).
Doxycycline is active against the erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum but not against the gametocytes of Plasmodium falciparum. It is used to prevent malaria. It is not recommended alone for initial treatment of malaria, even when the parasite is doxycycline-sensitive, because the antimalarial effect of doxycycline is delayed.
The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines state that the combination of doxycycline with either artesunate or quinine may be used for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria due to Plasmodium falciparum or following intravenous treatment of severe malaria. (Source: Wikipedia)