Does Doxycycline Make You Gain Weight?

Antibiotics can be used to effectively treat a range of health problems. Like all medications, antibiotics are also linked to a range of side effects. Patients should be aware of these side effects when they take antibiotics, as they need to be involved in any medical decisions. 

One such example of this is doxycycline, which has been linked to weight gain in patients. This guide will cover everything you need to know about doxycycline, including its potential side effects. 

Table of Contents

What Is Doxycycline?

Doxycycline is a type of antibiotic that is widely prescribed for treating bacterial infections. For example, it can be used as a preventative measure for anthrax and malaria. It is also used to treat:

  • Syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Acne
  • Dental infections
  • Typhus
  • Lyme disease
  • Chest infections

Typically, doxycycline is taken orally in the form of capsules or tablets. Alternatively, it may be injected into the bloodstream of the patient. After taking doxycycline, you should begin to feel its benefits within a few days. 

Does Doxycycline Make You Gain Weight?

Yes, there is a potential for doxycycline to cause patients to gain weight. However, the exact impact of doxycycline is unclear.

Research has shown a connection between doxycycline and weight gain. For instance, a study conducted in 2014 found that abnormal weight gain was a side effect of longer-term doxycycline use. In this study, 23% of the patients demonstrated this abnormal weight gain, hinting that this side effect could impact almost a quarter of patients. 

Moreover, the research found that only certain subgroups were at risk of experiencing this side effect. 

In addition, some patients have experienced weight loss following the use of doxycycline. The 2014 study found that 6% of the patients tested had significant weight loss. Though this is significantly less than the 23% of patients who gained weight, it is nonetheless worth pointing out that weight loss is also a potential effect of using doxycycline.

It is worth noting the limitations of this research. The 2014 study only tested 82 individuals, with 48 patients and 34 controls. Though this is a significant number of individuals to test, one cannot draw concrete conclusions from this study. A larger number of patients would need to be tested to identify whether doxycycline causes weight loss.

Despite this, the 2014 study has informed other studies, highlighting that many academics have agreed with its findings. 

Unfortunately, there is a lack of research on the long-term side effects of extended doxycycline usage. As a result, it is difficult to make any firm conclusions about the risks of this antibiotic and its connection with weight gain. 

What Are The Side Effects of Doxycycline?

As with most medicines, doxycycline may cause you to suffer numerous side effects. It’s worth noting that these side effects will differ from person to person. Additionally, they can vary in severity. Among the potential common side effects of doxycycline are:

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Headaches
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sore throats
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Hives

If you suffer from severe side effects to your treatment, you should seek medical advice. Moreover, if these side effects continue for a long time after you have started taking doxycycline, it is worth booking a doctor’s appointment.

Who Can Take Doxycycline?

Generally, most adults can consume doxycycline. Additionally, it may be prescribed to children over the age of 12 years. However, you may be unable to take this antibiotic if you suffer from certain health conditions, including liver problems. Moreover, if you are allergic to doxycycline or similar medicines, you should not take this antibiotic. 

Often, it is recommended that you take between 100mg and 200mg of doxycycline as a dosage. Of course, dosages will vary depending on the individual.

How Can You Lose Weight?

If you are concerned about excessive weight gain from taking doxycycline, you may want to use some of the most effective weight loss strategies. This will enable you to maintain a healthy weight. These strategies include:

1. Eat Fruit And Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are not only bursting with nutrients, but they are also low in fat and calories. As a result, this food group is ideal for weight loss. 

It is advised that you consume at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day. This will allow you to experience the benefits associated with the consumption of fruits and vegetables, including reducing blood pressure.

An additional benefit of eating fruits and vegetables is that you will be less likely to crave unhealthy snacks that are high in calories, fat, and sugar. 

2. Drink Lots Of Water

When people plan a healthy diet, they often overlook drinks. The truth is that you can end up consuming extra calories by choosing certain drinks. For instance, energy drinks tend to contain caffeine and copious amounts of sugar. A typical energy drink will contain approximately 40 grams of sugar.

To help you to lose weight, you can easily replace these drinks with water. This will also ensure that you are adequately hydrated. You should also attempt to reduce your consumption of alcohol when trying to lose weight. 

3. Exercise Frequently 

High levels of physical activity will allow you to shed pounds. Exercise will burn calories, as well as provide a whole host of other health benefits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends participating in 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.

Any form of exercise will be beneficial for weight loss. Ideally, you should find a sport or form of exercise that you enjoy to encourage you to exercise more regularly. For instance, if you have a passion for basketball, you should get involved with this sport.

Exercising for long periods will help you to lose more weight. A study by Carla E. Cox found that greater durations of exercise will lead to increased weight loss. 

4. Set Realistic Goals

You shouldn’t expect to lose loads of weight immediately. This will be especially true if you have experienced sudden weight gain from meditation that you are continuing to consume.

Instead, you should understand that weight loss is a journey. As a conscience, you should set realistic weight loss goals that you can attain within a given period. 

5. Keep A Food Diary

A food diary is simply a log of the food and drinks that you consume every day. It will help you to identify patterns within your diet that could aid with weight loss. For instance, you could identify unhealthy foods that you regularly eat that could be causing you to gain weight.

6. Avoid Junk Food

You do not need to cut junk food out of your diet entirely. This junk food can include potato chips, chocolate, cakes, cookies, and candy. Instead, you can have these as occasional treats. To take away from the irresistible quality of these junk foods, you should refrain from buying them at the supermarket.

Final Thoughts

The usage of doxycycline is linked to an assortment of side effects, one of which is weight gain. Though the exact link between doxycycline and weight gain is not currently understood, it is nonetheless worth bearing in mind that you could experience this side effect after taking this antibiotic. 


  • Tan KR, Magill AJ, Parise ME, Arguin PM; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doxycycline for malaria chemoprophylaxis and treatment: report from the CDC expert meeting on malaria chemoprophylaxis. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2011 Apr;84(4):517-31. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2011.10-0285. PMID: 21460003; PMCID: PMC3062442.
  • Angelakis E, Million M, Kankoe S, Lagier JC, Armougom F, Giorgi R, Raoult D. Abnormal weight gain and gut microbiota modifications are side effects of long-term doxycycline and hydroxychloroquine treatment. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2014 Jun;58(6):3342-7. doi: 10.1128/AAC.02437-14. Epub 2014 Mar 31. PMID: 24687497; PMCID: PMC4068504.
  • Conforti C, Giuffrida R, Zalaudek I, Di Meo N. Doxycycline, a widely used antibiotic in dermatology with a possible anti-inflammatory action against IL-6 in COVID-19 outbreak. Dermatol Ther. 2020 Jul;33(4):e13437. doi: 10.1111/dth.13437. Epub 2020 May 15. PMID: 32314492; PMCID: PMC7235480.
  • How many fruits and vegetables do we really need? Harvard Health Publishing. Available from: 
  • Energy Drinks. Harvard T.H. Chan. Available from: 
  • How much physical activity do adults need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: 
  • Cox CE. Role of Physical Activity for Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance. Diabetes Spectr. 2017 Aug;30(3):157-160. doi: 10.2337/ds17-0013. PMID: 28848307; PMCID: PMC5556592.

Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information read our medical disclaimer.

Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.

If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.



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