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What are the Pros and Cons of Taking Doxycycline for Lyme Disease?

By Lee Johnson
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Taking doxycycline for Lyme disease is overall a highly beneficial treatment. If the drug is given to a patient within 72 hours of the initial tick bite that causes Lyme disease, it has been shown to prevent the development of the disease. The only time it is not suitable to use doxycycline for Lyme disease is when the patient exhibits nerve damage as a result of the disease. The common side effects associated with doxycycline include diarrhea, sore mouth and itching of the rectum or vagina.

Lyme disease is caused by a tick bite, and it causes symptoms affecting the skin, heart, joints and nervous system. Lyme disease is also known as borrelia, which is a name derived from the microorganism that causes the condition. It is usually transmitted by the wood tick, which normally lives on deer. The tick buries into the skin of a human, usually in warm places such as the crotch or armpits, and exposes the host to the risk of the infection.

Doxycycline is a drug used to treat many bacterial infections, and it comes as a capsule, syrup or a tablet. Research has shown that if patients take a 200-milligram dose of doxycycline for Lyme disease within 72 hours of the initial tick bite, the drug is effective almost 90 percent of the time. The drug is also prescribed in 30-day courses for treatment of the cardiac, nervous and joint symptoms associated with Lyme disease.

The side effects of the drug are the only drawbacks of taking doxycycline for Lyme disease. The most common side effects are a sore mouth, diarrhea and itching of the rectum or vagina. These symptoms are not viewed as serious unless they are particularly persistent or severe. The less common but more serious side effects associated with using doxycycline for Lyme disease include severe headache, blurred vision, hives, itching, dark urine, vomiting, stomach pain and loss of appetite.

Overall, using doxycycline for Lyme disease has many more pros than cons. The treatment is cheaper than the alternative intravenous antibiotics treatment for the disease, and it has been shown to be effective in clinical trials. The cons of using doxycycline for Lyme disease are simply the side effects of the drug, and side effects are a potential risk of virtually all treatments.

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Discussion Comments
By Mor — On Sep 22, 2014

@Ana1234 - I believe one of the reasons it is widely prescribed is because it isn't that strong compared with other antibiotics, so it's enough to take care of an infection that hasn't started yet, like Lyme disease or malaria before any symptoms set in.

By Ana1234 — On Sep 21, 2014

@irontoenail - Doxycycline is a very common drug and used for a lot of different conditions, but I don't think it should be taken lightly. I don't really like that they use it as a malaria preventative, to be honest, because it is an antibiotic and it can lead to bacteria becoming resistant if people misuse it (which they inevitably do if it is over-prescribed).

Also, it can disrupt the flora of the stomach, which is probably why it causes stomach upsets. Lyme disease is dangerous and I'm not saying that people shouldn't take whatever is prescribed to them if there is a real risk that they have it, but it's not something I would give to them without a real risk being present.

By irontoenail — On Sep 21, 2014

I've had to take doxycycline in the past as a malaria preventative and it can actually be really good for acne as well. The only downside that I remember was a bit of an upset stomach at first and that it makes your skin a little bit more photosensitive. So you have to be careful during the summer that you won't get a sunburn more easily than usual.

I actually didn't know it could prevent lyme disease, but I wouldn't hesitate to take it again if the doctor told me I should.

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