PRECAUTIONS General As with other antibacterial preparations, use of this drug may result in overgrowth of non-susceptible organisms, including fungi. If superinfection occurs, doxycycline capsules should be discontinued and appropriate therapy instituted. Incision and drainage or other surgical procedures should be performed in conjunction with antibacterial therapy when indicated. Prescribing doxycycline capsules in the absence of proven or strongly suspected bacterial infection or a prophylactic indication is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of the development of drug-resistant bacteria. Information for Patients All patients taking doxycycline should be advised: - to avoid excessive sunlight or artificial ultraviolet light while receiving doxycycline and to discontinue therapy if phototoxicity (e.g., skin eruptions, etc.) occurs. Sunscreen or sunblock should be considered. (See WARNINGS.) - to drink fluids liberally along with doxycycline to reduce the risk of esophageal irritation and ulceration. (See ADVERSE REACTIONS.) - that the absorption of tetracyclines is reduced when taken with foods, especially those which contain calcium. However, the absorption of doxycycline is not markedly influenced by simultaneous ingestion of food or milk. (See Drug Interactions.) - that the absorption of tetracyclines is reduced when taking bismuth subsalicylate. (See Drug Interactions.) - not to use outdated or poorly stored doxycycline. - that the use of doxycycline might increase the incidence of vaginal candidiasis. Diarrhea is a common problem caused by antibiotics which usually ends when the antibiotic is discontinued. Sometimes after starting treatment with antibiotics, patients can develop watery and bloody stools (with or without stomach cramps and fever) even as late as two or more months after having taken the last dose of the antibiotic. If this occurs, patients should contact their physician as soon as possible. Patients should be counseled that antibacterial drugs including doxycycline capsules should only be used to treat bacterial infections. They do not treat viral infections (e.g., the common cold). When doxycycline capsules are prescribed to treat a bacterial infection, patients should be told that although it is common to feel better early in the course of therapy, the medication should be taken exactly as directed. Skipping doses or not completing the full course of therapy may (1) decrease the effectiveness of the immediate treatment and (2) increase the likelihood that bacteria will develop resistance and will not be treatable by doxycycline capsules or other antibacterial drugs in the future. Laboratory Tests: In venereal disease when coexistent syphilis is suspected, a dark-field examination should be done before treatment is started and the blood serology repeated monthly for at least four months. In long-term therapy, periodic laboratory evaluations of organ systems, including hematopoietic, renal, and hepatic studies should be performed. Drug Interactions: Because tetracyclines have been shown to depress plasma prothrombin activity, patients who are on anticoagulant therapy may require downward adjustment of their anticoagulant dosage. Since bacteriostatic drugs may interfere with the bactericidal action of penicillin, it is advisable to avoid giving tetracyclines in conjunction with penicillin. Absorption of tetracyclines is impaired by antacids containing aluminum, calcium, or magnesium, and iron-containing preparations. Barbiturates, carbamazepine, and phenytoin decrease the half-life of doxycycline. The concurrent use of tetracycline and methoxyflurane has been reported to result in fatal renal toxicity. Concurrent use of tetracycline may render oral contraceptives less effective. Drug/Laboratory Test Interactions: False elevations of urinary catecholamine levels may occur due to interference with the fluorescence test. Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility: Long-term studies in animals to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of doxycycline have not been conducted. However, there has been evidence of oncogenic activity in rats in studies with related antibacterial, oxytetracycline (adrenal and pituitary tumors) and minocycline (thyroid tumors). Likewise, although mutagenicity studies of doxycycline have not been conducted, positive results in in vitro mammalian cell assays have been reported for related antibacterial (tetracycline, oxytetracycline). Doxycycline administered orally at dosage levels as high as 250 mg/kg/day had no apparent effect on the fertility of female rats. Effect on male fertility has not been studied. Pregnancy Teratogenic Effects Pregnancy Category D There are no adequate and well-controlled studies on the use of doxycycline in pregnant short-term, first trimester exposure. There are no human data available to assess the effects of long-term therapy of doxycycline in pregnant women such as that proposed for treatment of anthrax exposure. An expert review of published data on experiences with doxycycline use during pregnancy by TERIS - the Teratogen Information System - concluded that therapeutic doses during pregnancy are unlikely to pose a substantial teratogenic risk (the quantity and quality of data were assessed as limited to fair), but the data are insufficient to state that there is no risk.8 A case-control study (18,515 mothers of infants with congenital anomalies and 32,804 mothers of infants with no congenital anomalies) shows a weak but marginally statistically significant association with total malformations and use of doxycycline anytime during pregnancy. (Sixty-three [0.19%] of the controls and 56 [0.30%] of the cases were treated with doxycycline.) This association was not seen when the analysis was confined to maternal treatment during the period of organogenesis (i.e., in the second and third months of gestation) with the exception of a marginal relationship with neural tube defect based on only two exposed cases.9 A small prospective study of 81 pregnancies describes 43 pregnant women treated for 10 days with doxycycline during early first trimester. All mothers reported their exposed infants were normal at 1 year of age.10 Labor and Delivery The effect of tetracyclines on labor and delivery is unknown. Nursing Mothers Tetracyclines are excreted in human milk, however, the extent of absorption of tetracyclines, including doxycycline, by the breastfed infant is not known. Short-term use by lactating women is not necessarily contraindicated; however, the effects of prolonged exposure to doxycycline in breast milk are unknown.11 Because of the potential for adverse reactions in nursing infants from doxycycline, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother. (See WARNINGS.) Pediatric Use Because of the effects of drugs of the tetracycline –class, on tooth development and growth, use doxycycline in pediatric patients 8 years of age or less only when the potential benefits are expected to outweigh the risks in severe or life-threatening conditions (e.g., anthrax, Rocky Mountain spotted fever), particularly when there are no alternative therapies (see WARNINGS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).