doxycycline for acneDoxycycline (aka Adoxa, Monodox and Oracea), a tetracycline antibiotic commonly used to treat a variety of bacterial infections, including, gum disease, UTI’s and some sexually transmitted diseases, may also be used to treat mild to moderate inflammatory adult acne, such as that caused by rosacea.


What is Inflammatory Acne?

A build-up of dead cells and oils beneath the surface of the skin are the usual culprits behind acne flare-ups. When this debris clogs the pores, it creates a plug, which can appear as a whitehead or blackhead pimple. Inflammatory acne, including pustules, cysts, nodules and papules, occur when the pimple erupts and swells. They are typically filled with pus. Unlike other forms of acne, the University of Maryland Medical Center explains that inflammatory acne often requires antibiotics to kill off the bacteria

Doxycycline- The Good and the Bad

Doxycycline is better tolerated than other tetracyclines and can be taken with food, making it potentially less harsh on the digestive system. The antibiotic does an excellent job of penetrating skin follicles, according to Dr. Betty Johnson in her “Use of Systemic Agents in the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris,” found in the American Academy of Family Physicians October 2000 issue. Doxycycline may also cause fewer serious adverse reactions than other antibiotic acne treatments.


The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine conducted a study to test the results of the use of doxycycline in combination with a topical retinol cream and found that the antibiotic worked better when used in combination with the acne cream. The results of that study were published in PubMed.

Rare, serious side effects include blurred vision, severe headaches, vertigo, decreased urine output, excessive bruising or bleeding, jaundice or flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches and chills, according to Contact your physician immediately if you develop any of these symptoms. Less serious side effects include upset stomach, diarrhea, sores in and around the mouth, and yeast infection.

Extra Precautions

Doxcycline may cause harm to a developing fetus, and therefore is typically not prescribed during pregnancy. Like most antibiotics, doxycycline can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills, so use a backup method. Patients with kidney or liver disease may receive an adjusted dosage. Inform your doctor about any other medications you are taking, including vitamin and herbal supplements.

Finding acne treatments that work can oftentimes be hit or miss because each of us different and there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to acne remedies. It may be that you have to try several different treatments until you find one that works best for you. Your best bet in finding an acne remedy that is suitable for you is to gather information on various treatment plans and sit down with your doctor and discuss each one with her. Once you choose a plan to follow, your doctor will be able to monitor your progress and know if the treatment is worth continuing or if you should consider a different plan. Ask your doctor if taking doxycycline for acne in combination with the use of an acne cream is a good plan for you.

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