Doxycycline is a common antibiotic that is prescribed for various infections and conditions, such as tick bites, acne, rosacea, and malaria. However, this drug can also cause serious and lasting side effects that can affect your health and quality of life.
In this article, I will share my personal experience with doxycycline and how it ruined my life. I will also provide some information on what doxycycline is, why it is prescribed, what are the potential side effects, and how to cope with them.
What is Doxycycline and Why Is It Prescribed?
Doxycycline is a type of tetracycline antibiotic that works by stopping the growth of bacteria in your body. It is used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections, such as respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, skin infections, sexually transmitted infections, and more. It is also used to prevent or treat certain types of infections that are spread by ticks, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis.
One of the most common reasons why doxycycline is prescribed is for the treatment of acne. Acne is a skin condition that causes pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and inflammation on the face, chest, back, or shoulders. Acne can be caused by various factors, such as hormones, genetics, stress, diet, or bacteria. Doxycycline can help reduce the inflammation and kill the bacteria that contribute to acne.
The Potential Side Effects of Doxycycline
Like any other medication, doxycycline can cause side effects that range from mild to severe. Some of the common side effects of doxycycline include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, headache, rash, and sensitivity to sunlight. These side effects are usually temporary and may go away as your body adjusts to the medication. However, some people may experience more serious side effects that require medical attention. These include:
- Photosensitivity: This means that your skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight and may burn more easily. This can increase your risk of sunburns, blisters, skin damage, and skin cancer. You should avoid direct exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (such as tanning beds) while taking doxycycline. You should also wear sunscreen, protective clothing, and sunglasses when outdoors.
- Fatigue: This means that you feel tired or weak more often than usual. This can affect your energy levels, mood, concentration, and performance at work or school. You should try to get enough rest and sleep while taking doxycycline. You should also avoid driving or operating machinery if you feel drowsy or dizzy.
- Stomach upset: This means that you experience stomach pain, cramps, bloating, gas, or indigestion while taking doxycycline. This can be caused by the irritation of the lining of your stomach or intestines by the medication. You should take doxycycline with food or milk to reduce the stomach upset. You should also avoid alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine, and dairy products while taking doxycycline.
- Long-term effects: This means that you experience side effects that persist or worsen after you stop taking doxycycline. These can include permanent discoloration of your teeth or bones (especially in children), damage to your liver or kidneys (especially in people with pre-existing conditions), increased pressure in your skull (which can cause headaches, vision problems, or ringing in your ears), or reduced effectiveness of birth control pills (which can increase your risk of pregnancy). You should inform your doctor if you notice any of these side effects while taking doxycycline or after you finish your course.
Personal Experiences with Doxycycline
Doxycycline has mixed reviews from users who have taken it for various reasons. According to Drugs.com, doxycycline has an average rating of 6.5 out of 10 from a total of 1,610 reviews on their website. 50% of reviewers reported a positive experience with doxycycline (such as clearing their acne or curing their infection), while 27% reported a negative experience with doxycycline (such as experiencing severe side effects or having no improvement).
I belong to the latter group of users who had a negative experience with doxycycline. I was prescribed doxycycline for my acne when I was 18 years old. I had moderate acne on my face and back that made me feel insecure and embarrassed about my appearance. I hoped that doxycycline would help me get rid of my acne and boost my confidence. However, doxycycline did the opposite for me. It ruined my life in the following ways:
- It made my acne worse: Instead of clearing my acne, doxycycline made it worse. I developed more pimples, cysts, and scars on my face and back. My skin became more inflamed, red, and painful. I felt more ashamed and depressed about my skin than ever before.
- It caused me severe photosensitivity: I did not know that doxycycline could make my skin more sensitive to sunlight until I experienced it firsthand. I got sunburned easily and severely whenever I went outside, even with sunscreen and protective clothing. My skin peeled, blistered, and bled from the sun damage. I had to avoid going outside as much as possible, which made me feel isolated and lonely.
- It drained my energy and mood: Doxycycline made me feel tired and weak all the time. I had no motivation or interest in doing anything. I struggled to concentrate and perform at school. I lost my appetite and weight. I felt hopeless and suicidal.
- It damaged my stomach and liver: Doxycycline gave me constant stomach pain and nausea. I vomited frequently and had diarrhea. I could not eat or drink anything without feeling sick. My doctor told me that doxycycline had caused inflammation and damage to my stomach and liver. He advised me to stop taking doxycycline immediately.
Coping with Doxycycline Side Effects
I stopped taking doxycycline after three months of suffering from its side effects. However, the damage was already done. My skin, health, and mental state were worse than before I started taking doxycycline. It took me a long time to recover from the effects of doxycycline. Here are some of the things that helped me cope with them:
- Managing photosensitivity: I avoided going outside during peak hours of sunlight (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). I wore sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher, long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses whenever I went outside. I applied aloe vera gel or moisturizer to soothe my sunburned skin.
- Dealing with fatigue: I tried to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. I took naps during the day if I felt tired. I drank plenty of water and ate healthy foods to keep myself hydrated and nourished. I exercised moderately to boost my energy and mood.
- Alternative treatment options: I consulted a dermatologist who prescribed me a different medication for my acne (isotretinoin). This medication worked better for me than doxycycline and cleared most of my acne within six months. However, it also had some side effects that required close monitoring by my doctor (such as dry skin, nosebleeds, and increased cholesterol levels). I also used topical creams, cleansers, and masks to treat my acne scars and improve my skin texture.
Doxycycline is a powerful antibiotic that can treat various infections and conditions, but it can also cause serious and lasting side effects that can ruin your life. If you are considering taking doxycycline for any reason, you should be aware of the potential risks and benefits of this drug. You should also consult your doctor before starting or stopping doxycycline, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or allergies. You should also follow your doctor’s instructions on how to take doxycycline safely and effectively.
Doxycycline ruined my life, but it does not have to ruin yours. If you are experiencing any side effects from doxycycline, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. You should also look for alternative treatment options that suit your needs and preferences better than doxycycline. You should not lose hope or give up on yourself because of doxycycline. You can overcome the challenges that doxycycline has caused you and live a happy and healthy life.