Jessica is a medical writer with an unquenched thirst to discover something new. She believes that medical content should be accessible to everyone and strives to write content that every single person can understand. When Jessica isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading a book with a dog cuddled in her lap. Jessica has a Masters of Engineering degree in Biomedical Engineering.
Medically reviewed by
Amy is a Board Certified Family Health Nurse Practitioner (FNP) with over 15 years of experience working in Hospital Medicine, Urgent Care and Primary Care practices. Amy graduated Thomas Jefferson University with high distinction earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2008, a Master of Science in Nursing in 2010 and a Post Master's Certificate in Adult Gerontology Acute Care (AGAC) in 2014. She was recognized by the Elite American Nurses Association in 2013 for her dedication, achievements and leadership in the field Nursing. She served as a clinical preceptor for a number of Nurse Practitioner students and enjoys teaching the bright minds of future NPs.
Some medications may require you to avoid certain things to prevent harm to yourself and ensure the medicine works effectively. Because of this, knowing how long a medication remains in your system is helpful since it lingers even after the final dose is taken.
When it comes to doxycycline, it can remain in your system for five or more days, with certain factors increasing the time it takes the body to metabolize it.
Table of Contents
- What Is Doxycycline?
- How Long Does Doxycycline Stay in Your System?
- What Affects the Time Doxycycline Stays in Your System?
- Doxycycline Interactions and Risks
- How Long Do the Side Effects of Doxycycline Last After Stopping?
- When To See a Doctor?
- Key Takeaways
What Is Doxycycline?
Doxycycline (Monodox) is a tetracycline antibiotic used to treat a range of bacterial infections. It accomplishes this by preventing bacteria from producing the proteins they need to survive and grow, which then causes them to die.
Some of the bacterial infections that doxycycline may be prescribed to treat include:
- respiratory tract infections (from influenza, Hemophilus, streptococcus, or mycoplasma pneumonia)
- non-gonococcal urethritis
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Lyme disease
- urinary tract infections
- periodontal disease
Doxycycline may also be used in those with rosacea to reduce inflammation or in those traveling to high-risk areas of malaria as a preventative.
Doxycycline side effects
Some of the side effects of doxycycline include:
- stomach pain
- back pain
- sore throat
- dry mouth
- loss of appetite
- swollen tongue
Doxycycline is also associated with some severe, although less common, side effects, including:
- chest pain
- blurred vision
- skin redness
- skin peeling
- joint pain
- skin blistering
- rash with fever
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Anyone experiencing these severe side effects should seek immediate medical attention.
One potentially serious side effect of doxycycline is increased sensitivity to the sun. Because of this, it is essential to avoid prolonged sun exposure while on doxycycline, and if you do go outside, wear sunglasses, sunscreen, and protective clothing.
How Long Does Doxycycline Stay in Your System?
Doxycycline has a half-life with an average time of 12-25 hours. It’s estimated that, after taking your final dose of a medication, it takes 4-5 half-lives for it to be out of your system. Based on this, it can take more than five days for doxycycline to be entirely out of your system.
What Affects the Time Doxycycline Stays in Your System?
Many elements can affect how long it takes the body to clear doxycycline, or any antibiotic, from your system.
Your health can affect how well your body is able to absorb and metabolize drugs.
One health condition that can affect metabolism is diabetes, and that is because it is a metabolic disorder and may affect how to body absorbs, metabolizes, and excretes medication.
Doxycycline may also take longer to leave your system if your kidneys filter more slowly or if you have liver disease. In addition, some people may have genetic variants that affect the cytochrome P450 cycle and how it metabolizes drugs.
As you get older, your body cannot metabolize as quickly and efficiently. One reason for this is that the muscle-to-fat ratio tends to increase towards fat, which can increase the medication half-life. Additionally, those who are older may not be able to absorb doxycycline as well, which can influence how long it remains in the body.
Your prescribed dosage can affect how long it remains in your system. For example, a higher dose will take longer to be removed.
Doxycycline Interactions and Risks
One of the potential interactions with doxycycline is alcohol, but this is typically only in those with liver problems or a history of chronic drinking or heavy alcohol use. In these individuals, alcohol and doxycycline interact, making doxycycline less effective. This may be because alcohol shortens the half-life of doxycycline, making it so that it does not remain in the body (fighting the infection) for as long.
Other medications and supplements that can interact with doxycycline include:
- calcium supplements
- laxatives with magnesium
These medications and supplements can make doxycycline less effective, so it is recommended not to take these products within 1-2 hours before or after taking doxycycline.
Iron preparations and vitamins containing iron can also interact with doxycycline, so avoid taking them within 2-3 hours before and after taking doxycycline.
Some other things to check with your doctor before taking while on doxycycline include:
- proton pump inhibitors
- bismuth subsalicylate
- vitamin A supplements
Additionally, it is not safe for pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding to take doxycycline unless their doctor determines the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
How Long Do the Side Effects of Doxycycline Last After Stopping?
Most of the side effects of doxycycline, including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, will improve within a few days of discontinuing. However, sun sensitivity can last for 10-14 days after you finish your prescription, so it is important to remain careful when in the sun during these two weeks.
When To See a Doctor?
It is always recommended to see a doctor whenever you suspect you have an infection since antibiotics are the most effective, and sometimes the only, treatment.
Online doctors provide a quick and convenient resource for those who think they have an infection. With DrHouse, you can meet with a doctor in just 15 minutes to discuss your symptoms and receive a prescription, if needed.
If at any time of taking doxycycline you experience severe side effects, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention.
Doxycycline is an antibiotic prescribed to treat a range of bacterial infections. The most common side effects of doxycycline revolve around stomach upset, but they often go away within a few days of finishing your prescription.
With a half-life of 12-25 hours, doxycycline may remain in your system for more than five days after finishing your prescription. Some factors affecting how long it takes the body to remove doxycycline include age, health, and dosage.
For those experiencing unpleasant side effects of doxycycline, discussing this with a doctor is always recommended since there are risks that can occur with stopping your prescription too soon.
- Randhawa, A., Ngu, I., & Bilsland, D. (2018). Doxycycline photosensitivity. QJM: An International Journal Of Medicine, 111(4), 259-260. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1093/qjmed/hcy001.
- Doxycycline: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (2022). https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682063.html.
- Del Rosso, J., Brantman, S., & Baldwin, H. (2021). Long‐term inflammatory rosacea management with subantibiotic dose oral doxycycline 40 mg modified‐release capsules once daily. Dermatologic Therapy, 35(1). doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1111/dth.15180.
- Cunha, B., Domenico, P., & Cunha, C. (2000). Pharmacodynamics of doxycycline. Clinical Microbiology And Infection, 6(5), 270-273. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1046/j.1469-0691.2000.00058-2.x.
- Neuvonen, P. J., Penttilä, O., Roos, M., & Tirkkonen, J. (1976). Effect of long-term alcohol consumption on the half-life of tetracycline and doxycycline in man. International journal of clinical pharmacology and biopharmacy, 14(4), 303–307. PMID: 1002368.
- Yates, P. A., Newman, S. A., Oshry, L. J., Glassman, R. H., Leone, A. M., & Reichel, E. (2020). Doxycycline treatment of high-risk COVID-19-positive patients with comorbid pulmonary disease. Therapeutic advances in respiratory disease, 14, 1753466620951053. https://doi.org/10.1177/1753466620951053.
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.
DrHouse provides 24/7 virtual urgent care, men’s health, women’s health and online prescriptions.
On-demand virtual visits
24/7 care support
Prescriptions as needed