How Long Can a Patient Stay on Doxycycline? I'm Interested in the Safety Factor.

Doctor Answers 7

How Safe is Doxycycline?

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Doxycycline has been around for a long, long time. With any medication you take, there is always the potential for adverse reactions, although with doxy these are really rare. As with any medicine program, your treatment routine should be monitored regularly by aphysician, and if you have acne and are on doxy you should be under the care of a board-certified dermatologist and you should have regular visits to go over your disease, new therapies, and to make sure your progress is going as it should.

Having said this, many patients require oral antibiotics for acne for many months, and some stay on doxy for several years. This is fine, as long as someone is monitoring you and making sure you are having no untoward effects from the medicine. But if you require doxy or any other oral medicine for a period of time that is substantial – like over six months – many of us would probably switch you to another medicine as the goal is not long-term antibiotic use but to get you clear as fast as possible. This sometimes requires tweaks in the routine given by the provider, and this should be done with visits to your dermatologist.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Doxycycline is a safe medication but doesn't need to be long-term.

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Hello there! Doxycycline is a great, safe medication for the initial treatment of acne. It is especially good for addressing the bacteria that causes inflammatory acne (red bumps, pus bumps). It can help prevent breakouts while your skin is getting accustomed to a topical retinoids because it works to decrease inflammation. 

I don't think that you need to depend on doxycycline long-term. Doxycycline doesn't necessarily get to the "root cause" of acne, whether it be hormones or the formation of blackheads and whiteheads. A topical retinoid works very well to prevent blackheads and whiteheads, which allow bacteria to grow in the first place. Topical retinoids should be the foundation of your skincare routine. I usually recommend antibiotics for 2-3 months until all the blackheads and whiteheads are gone, and then we try to stop antibiotics altogether.

I hope this helps! 

Andrea Hui, MD
San Francisco Dermatologic Surgeon

Long Term Use of Doxycycline

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This is a difficult question to answer.You can take this drug for years very safely. I do suggest you be under the care of a Board Certified Dermatologist.I monitor blook work yearly in my patients on long term antibiotics.

We do have other treatments you can use to diminish your neede for pills. We can use several different Lasers and light treatments.A variety of topical creams can be used  to control your acne as well as glycolic peels can help.Of course, you can also take Accutane to try to cure your acne.


Esta Kronberg, MD
Houston Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Not for long

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I work also as a hospitalist and I think the casual use of oral antibiotics can lead to bad outcomes.  I would not worry if it is for a month or two with doxycycline but take probiotic and make sure you are improving, not just taking it as part of a regimen.

Samer Muala, MD
Phoenix Family Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews


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We usually try to have our patients on the medication between 3 - 6 months. Some patients may stay on the medication for longer periods of time. This depends on the severity of the acne.

David J. Sire, MD
Fullerton Dermatologic Surgeon

How Long Can You Be on Doxycycline Safely?

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This is a difficult question to answer as there really is no clear cut answer. In general, we prefer not to keep patients on oral medications such as doxycycline (antibiotics) for longer than necessary to treat and control skin conditions like acne and rosacea. That being said, it often takes many months or even longer to achieve and maintain good results with oral antibiotics.  I have had many acne and rosacea patients on different doses for different lengths of times, usually ranging anywhere from months to years. Most importantly, you should be under the care of a board-certified dermatologist who will educate you about treatment options and side effects, all the while helping you to achieve the best possible results. 


Channing R. Barnett, MD
Boca Raton Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Doxycycline long term use safety

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There is no real answer to your question, we always like to limit the use of antibiotics to the least amount, but I have lots of patients with acne and rosacea that take doxycycline in various doses and frequencies for years safely.  There are some side effects to watch out for and you should discuss that with your doctor directly.  There are also other things to use to try to minimize the antibiotics like creams, chemical peels, lasers, lights, other medications like birth control pills and accutane. 

Rebecca Baxt, MD
Paramus Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.