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Doxycycline For Acne

Doxycycline is a powerful antibiotic that is used in the treatment of a variety of different clinical conditions. Amongst these, skin infections are a common indication, and particularly acne is often treated with doxycycline. In this article, we shall briefly review the clinical use of doxycycline in treating acne.

What is acne?

Acne is a skin condition characterised by the formation of small boils (called pustules) on the face and torso. It is caused by a bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes which enters the skin and causes an infection within the pores. The infection is accompanied by a great deal of inflammation that can cause pain and discomfort around the area affected by acne.

The use of doxycycline in treating acne

Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic that is effective in the treatment of acne. Many a times, it is not just prescribed by itself but is used in conjunction with topical treatments as well. Doxycycline works by inhibiting the growth of the acne causing bacterium, allowing for the reduced level of inflammation and ultimate healing of the acne. This inflammation is reduced through complex mechanisms that prevent the breakdown of collagen and the release of inflammatory mediators called cytokines.

The question that has been asked by many groups is whether doxycycline works in the treatment of acne. From the available studies, using sub-antimicrobial doses i.e. small doses of doxycycline seems to have benefit in the treatment of moderate facial acne.

Dosage of doxycycline in treating acne

Doxycycline is prescribed as a once-a-day or twice a day dose. The prescription will depend upon the severity of acne and whether or not doxycycline is the appropriate treatment for the condition. Side-effects that can occur with the doxycycline such as an upset stomach and diarrhoea must be borne in mind by taking the medication. Many a times, patients who are prescribed doxycycline for acne will have been given it for a long period of time as this is what is required to effectively treat the condition. Of course, the main aim is to keep the treatment cycles a short as possible.

In pregnant women who suffer from acne, doxycycline is avoided as it can affect the growing fetus. Women who are breast feeding their baby should also avoid using doxycycline as it can pass down through breast milk. The effect of doxycycline on the skin must also be remembered and any side-effects that the patient experiences must be reported to the health care practitioner immediately.

Doxycycline is an effective tetracycline antibiotic that can satisfactorily treat acne vulgaris. However, the side-effect profile must be borne in mind as must the duration of treatment. Patients have reported a significant improvement in their symptoms after commencing therapy though the duration of therapy can vary from one patient to another.

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