How Long Do My Meds Last? A Look at Doxycycline

(Amazingly long shelf life)

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Patented in 1957 and released for commercial use in in 1967, doxycycline is a semisynthetic tetracycline.

It is one of the most widely used antibiotics due to its ability to treat both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. With more than 11 million prescriptions filled yearly, doxycycline is one of the most widely prescribed antibiotics in the United States. Along with its known anti-inflammatory properties, doxycycline is an important antibiotic during a biological warfare attack, namely anthrax or tularemia.

How long does doxycycline remain potent?

When stored in a cool, dry, and dark area away from sunlight and capped, doxycycline can retain much of its potency well past expiration date.

Expiration dates reflect the time during which the product is expected to remain stable, or retain its identity, strength, quality, and purity, when it is properly stored according to its labeled storage conditions. According to the Shelf-Life Extension Program, a joint initiative of the FDA and Department of Defense that tested 122 drugs for potency after their expiration date revealed doxycycline maintained its potency well past 66 months- over 5.5 years. In fact, doxycycline potency has proven well beyond its testing.

A report dated January 2006 titled “Stability Profiles of Drug Products Extended” states as of the date of the report (testing initially started in 1986) that “Of the extended lots, 81 lots (of the tested medications in that group)are now dormant and 175 lots are currently active (primarily 159 lots of doxycycline hyclate tablets).” (See pg. 5 of the report)That represents a 20 year extension past expiration date of potency for doxycycline!

Doxycycline is listed in the World Health Organization Model List of Medications for the newly released 2023 edition:

FIRST CHOICE (From WHO 2023 list)

  • Cholera
  • Sexually transmitted infection due to
  • Chlamydia trachomatis

SECOND CHOICE (From WHO 2023 list)

  • Cholera
  • Community acquired pneumonia (mild to
  • moderate)
  • Exacerbations of COPD

In addition, doxycycline can be used to treat:

  • Anthrax
  • Animal and human bites
  • Plague
  • Tetanus
  • Tularemia
  • Prevent malaria when taken before exposure
  • Infections caused by mites, ticks or lice
  • Lyme disease

How to take

Best if taken on an empty stomach. If stomach upset is a concern, doxycycline can be taken with food although absorption will be affected. Be sure to take with plenty of water and remain hydrated throughout the course of taking doxycycline.

If taking as a prophylaxis for malaria,(Per CDC):

Adults: 100 mg daily. 1-2 days before traveling to an area where malaria transmission occurs.

Note- check with health authorities in Florida, Texas and Maryland as locally acquired cases of Malaria have been recently diagnosed.

Before taking doxycycline, consult with your care provider if you are taking any of the following:

(Below are major drug interactions, for a full list check out this doxycycline interaction checker)

  • Acitretin
  • Aminolevulinic acid
  • Bcg
  • Cholera vaccine, live
  • Etretinate
  • Isotretinoin
  • Ketoconazole
  • Lomitapide
  • Levoketoconazole
  • Methoxyflurane
  • Mipomersen
  • Pexidartinib
  • Tretinoin
  • Typhoid vaccine, live
  • Vitamin A

What To Avoid

  • Do not take supplements containing calcium or iron within 2 hours of taking doxycycline. Taking these could limit absorption.
  • Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Doxycycline can make your skin sun sensitive. There have been reports of severe sunburn while on this medication. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
  • Allergy to any tetracycline antibiotic.
  • Consult primary care provider if pregnant or nursing. Doxycycline is present in breast milk but in concentrations generally considered safe. It is classified by the FDA as a pregnancy risk category B drug “Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.”

Common side effects may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea (mild)
  • Skin rash or itching

Discontinue and seek immediate medical attention if you experience:

  • Severe stomach pain
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Trouble swallowing/itchy throat
  • Chest pain, and/or irregular heart rhythm
  • Short of breath
  • Unable to urinate or urinating very little
  • Dark urine (darker than normal)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the sclera or skin)
  • Fever, chills, swollen glands, body aches
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Severe headaches, ringing in your ears
  • Upper stomach pain (that may spread to your back)
  • Overwhelming fatigue

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

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How do Antibiotics Work? Part 4

The best way to take antibiotics is to never need them. But that isn’t always an option. However, there are some steps you can take to strengthen your immune system so that you and your loved ones can fight off illness. The recent outbreak of deaths from group A strep– which is usually treated with Amoxicillin, is currently in short supply. This highlights the fragility of our nations drug supply. Check this site for current drug shortages- if a medication you are taking is on the list contact your care provider to get your medications refilled, and if available ask for a years supply of your meds.

8 tips to strengthen your immune system

  1. Get good quality sleep

According to the Sleep foundation good quality sleep enhances both the innate and adaptive immune system responses. Non rapid eye movement, known as NREM is deep sleep slows the body’s processes allowing more energy to be directed at healing. Sleep is such an important topic that it really needs its own post.

  1. Cut back on sugar

Professor of immunobiology at Yale, Ruslan Medzhitov performed experiments on mice- after infecting the mice with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes he fed one group fat and proteins. They lived. The group he fed simple carbohydrates died.  Conversely, when the mice were infected with an influenzas virus and fed fats and proteins, they were more likely to die compared to the mice fed simple carbohydrates. In other words, balance is the key. If unsure if you have a viral or bacterial infection it is best to just cut out excess sugar.

  1. Increase fresh fruits and vegetables

Up to 80% of our immune system is housed in lymphoid tissue in your intestines, It is called gut associated lymph tissue (GALT) By eating fiber rich foods the beneficial bacteria help the immune system do its job. In addition, a study found that eating a diverse diet high in fiber rich foods can help combat antibiotic resistance. There needs to be more research in this area of study, however initial results are promising.

In addition, several varieties of mushrooms are known to improve immune system function and are being studied for their cancer fighting properties.

  1. Drink plenty of water

Water helps flush toxins out of the body, both through elimination and mucus membranes.

The bloodstream is comprised mostly of water. To help the body fight infection keeping hydrated helps the white blood cells do their job- fight infections.

  1. Avoid alcohol and smoking

Both can decrease immunity

  1. Keep your vitamin D levels up

Vitamin D is well known to help fight infections. Be sure that when you take vitamin D (which is really not a vitamin, it is a steroid hormone) be sure to add vitamin K2, also known as MK 7, This is important, because this helps avoid calcium buildup in your arteries.

  1. Reduce and manage stress

Stress raises our cortisol levels which in turn suppresses the immune response to pathogenic invaders.

  1. Exercise to boost immunity

Research shows that 20–40 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day is adequate to provide a positive boost to the immune system. Exercise helps circulate the infection fighting cells in the body.

If you still need an antibiotic Jase has you covered

The 5 antibiotics in the Jase case can cover a wide range of bacterial illnesses. If in doubt contact Jase provider for guidance, part of the outstanding service Jase offers is unlimited follow up for questions about antibiotic use.

 Let’s take a look at some of the infections Jase antibiotics cover:

  • Amoxicillin-clavulanate 875 mg tablets (28 tablets)

When amoxicillin is not available due to current shortages this antibiotic can be substituted. Other uses include group A strep, sinusitis, pneumonia, ear infections, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, and infections of the skin

  • Azithromycin 250 mg tablets (6 tablets)

Bacterial pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, skin infections, Travelers diarrhea, urinary tract infection

  • Ciprofloxacin 500 mg tablets (28 tablets)

Bioterrorism infections from anthrax, Tularemia or plague exposure

Travelers diarrhea

  • Doxycycline 100 mg capsules (120 capsules)

Bioterrorism infections from anthrax, Tularemia, or plague exposure

Skin infection, tetanus, bites (animal or human)

  • Metronidazole 500 mg tablets (30 tablets)

bacterial vaginosis, diarrhea (caused by giardia and clostridioides difficile), giardiasis, tetanus, and trichomoniasis

 

- Brooke Lounsbury

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

Join Our Newsletter

Our mission is to help you be more medically prepared. Join our newsletter and follow us on social media for health and safety tips each week!

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