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Doxycycline for Treating Acne Cysts

author image Leigh Ann Morgan
Leigh Ann Morgan began working as a writer in 2004. She has extensive experience in the business field having served as the manager of a $34 million rental property portfolio. Morgan also appeared as a guest on an episode of National Public Radio's "Marketplace Money" in 2005.
Doxycycline for Treating Acne Cysts
Doctor writing a prescription for a young woman Photo Credit: undrey/iStock/Getty Images

Acne occurs when dead skin cells and oil block the pores. This allows bacteria to flourish, resulting in blemishes. Cystic acne, also known as nodular acne, causes cysts to form on the skin. Doctors prescribe the doxycycline antibiotic to kill the bacteria responsible for the formation of these cysts. Use of this medication requires an understanding of the side effects and possible risks.

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Scientists classify doxycycline as a tetracycline antibiotic. This type of drug kills bacteria by binding to part of the DNA in the bacterial cell, according to the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. This action prevents bacterial protein from replicating, resulting in fewer bacteria to cause acne cysts. The use of doxycycline and other oral antibiotics also reduces inflammation and changes the composition of the oil produced by the sebaceous glands of the skin.


Doxycycline has several forms, all designed for oral use. These forms include syrup, liquid suspension, tablets, regular capsules and coated capsules. Because this drug may cause an upset stomach, you may take it with a meal or a glass of milk. Follow all of the administration instructions provided by your doctor to ensure the best results from using this drug.

Side Effects

This drug causes side effects that include nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, sores inside the mouth, swelling of the genitals, white patches inside the mouth, vaginal itching, diarrhea, vaginal discharge and sores on the lips. Doxycycline can also cause serious side effects. Seek medical advice if you experience chills, flu symptoms, severe headache, red skin rash, dark urine, confusion, yellowing of the skin, easy bruising or bleeding and pale skin. If you experience the signs of an allergic reaction, seek emergency assistance. These signs include trouble breathing, swelling of the throat and face, and hives.

Drug Interactions

Doxycycline may interact with Accutane, antacids, mineral supplements, penicillin drugs, blood thinners and medications used to treat high cholesterol. If you take any of these medications, tell your doctor before starting a course of doxycycline.

Warnings reports that doxycycline may cause birth defects if used during pregnancy. If a pregnant woman uses doxycycline, it could cause discoloration of the child’s teeth later in life. This drug also affects the efficacy of oral contraceptives. While using doxycycline, you should use a backup method of birth control. Doxycycline increases sun sensitivity, so use sunscreen and wear protective clothing if you have to spend time outdoors while taking this prescription.

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