Doxy and Acne
Doxycycline is an oral antibiotic drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating severe acne, and some doctors prescribe it for moderate acne as well. Users often shorten the technical name to "doxy," especially when discussing their experiences on Internet forums. Derived from tetracycline, doxycycline is sold as a generic drug and comes under several brand names.
Acne typically occurs because of a combination of excessive skin oil, blocked pores and bacteria. Severe acne, including nodular or cystic acne, has symptoms of deep cysts, nodules or both, along with inflammation, extensive skin damage and scarring. The best relief of symptoms usually involves working with a dermatologist and following an aggressive treatment regimen, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Antibiotics for Acne
Doctors typically prescribe oral antibiotics when topical treatment does not work for moderate acne, and as initial therapy for severe forms of the condition, according to the AAD. These drugs decrease the population of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria, an activity that also reduces inflammation. Physicians commonly prescribe tetracycline antibiotics for acne, including tetracycline itself, as well as minocycline and doxycycline, which are derived from tetracycline.
Doxycycline does not directly kill bacteria, but it prevents the growth and spread of these microorganisms. Aside from acne, doctors prescribe doxy for treating respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, Lyme disease and other bacterial infections. Doxycycline is particularly effective at treating inflammatory acne, according to the AAD. It is available in standard versions as well as low-dose forms that are mainly for treating inflammation rather than decreasing bacteria. Additionally, doxycycline as the brand Doryx has an enteric coating that prevents the medication from dissolving until it reaches the intestines. This is beneficial for people who experience stomach upset when taking doxy.
Acne treatment with doxy usually begins with a higher dosage, then a dermatologist gradually reduces the dosage as the condition improves, according to the Mayo Clinic. This can take up to four months. Most patients use topical medications, typically containing benzoyl peroxide, along with the oral antibiotics. Benzoyl peroxide appears to reduce antibiotic resistance that can occur over time with the oral drugs.
Antibiotics can cause loss of appetite, upset stomach, heartburn, nausea and diarrhea, according to eMedTV. Tetracycline antibiotics, including doxy, cause extra skin sensitivity to ultraviolet light, which increases the risk of severe sunburn. Because antibiotics kill friendly bacteria in the digestive system, taking doxycycline can lead to colitis. Pregnant women or women likely to become pregnant should not take this medication because it can cause severe birth defects.
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