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The Pros and Cons of Treating Acne With Doryx

dr jaggi rao Reviewed by Dr. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC, Double board-certified dermatologist

Doryx, or doxycycline, is an antibiotic pill used to treat acne and many other kinds of bacterial infection. It is the acne treatment of choice in some parts of Europe, and it is available worldwide.

Doryx for acne
People with sun-sensitive skin should not use Doryx.


  • Doryx is the trade name for an antibiotic known as doxycycline heclate.
  • Doryx has advantages over other antibiotics. It is absorbed more quickly and more completely, and it can be taken with food.
  • Doryx is effective by itself as some combination treatments for the skin.
  • Doryx is extremely inexpensive. Treatment can cost as little as US $0.10 a day.
  • Doryx, however, is not for everyone. People who have sun-sensitive skin, or who tend to get brown spots on the skin when acne heals, should not use Doryx.
  • Before you take Doryx or any other antibiotic, try a complete acne treatment system with a money-back guarantee such as Exposed Skin Care.

What’s Special About Doryx?

Doryx has advantages and disadvantages over other antibiotic pills for acne:

  • Doryx is better absorbed into the bloodstream than tetracycline, oxytetracycline, and lymecycline, and equally as well absorbed as minocycline.
  • Food does not interfere with the absorption of Doryx as it does with some other antibiotics.
  • Milk interferes with the absorption of Doryx, but only slightly. Even if you were to take Doryx with a glass of milk, your body would absorb more of the medication than if you took tetracycline with a glass of water.
  • Doryx gets into the bloodstream up to twice as fast and stays in the bloodstream up to three times longer than other antibiotics.
  • Calcium, iron, and magnesium supplements interfere with the body’s absorption of Doryx, as does rose hip tea.
  • If you happen to live in Belgium, Germany, India, the Middle East, or Latin America, Doryx is very inexpensive. Even if you have to pay for it yourself, it only costs about US $10 a month, less than half that much in Australia.
  • Most American doctors will tell you that Doryx does not make oral contraceptives less effective. European doctors believe that Doryx and tetracyclines are traced to some instances in which the contraceptive Pill has failed.
  • Unfortunately, Doryx makes the skin sensitive to summer sun.

Over a period of 12 weeks, Doryx usually gets rid of about 60% to 65% of blemishes, which is approximately equal to the performance of the best antibiotics and almost as good as Ziana, which combines another antibiotic and  the lotion form of Retin-A. If you don’t have Asian, brown, or black skin, and you don’t get freckles, Doryx is often a great choice for fighting acne. If you tend to get any kind of skin discoloration when you go out into the sun, however, Doryx is not a good choice for you, especially if you have Asian skin tones.

When Doryx Makes a Difference

If you have skin that does not “spot” when it is exposed to sun, then Doryx can make a big difference in certain situations.

  • Doryx can be especially helpful in treating acne triggered by PCOS (polycystic ovarian disease).
  • Doryx can be especially helpful if you are also getting treatment with a drug called spironolactone. Doryx essentially stops infection so spironolactone can balances hormones and clear up the skin.
  • Doryx and benzoyl peroxide gels often get rid of essentially all acne blemishes in about 12 weeks. However, this combination of treatments makes the skin especially sensitive to sun. It’s not a good idea if you have golden, dark brown, or black skin tones. If you have light brown skin, you will definitely need to use SPF 30 sunscreen or higher when you go outdoors, and you will need to take 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day to compensate for lost vitamin D production in your skin.

When Doryx Can Go Wrong

There are a few users of Doryx who complain that it has left them with acne that is worse than ever before. This almost always happens when users of Doryx suddenly stop the medication without taking any other measures to reduce the number of bacteria on the skin.

Especially in Korea and northern Mexico, there are some strains of acne bacteria that are resistant to the doxycycline in Doryx. These bacteria are kept in check by other bacteria in the skin, and even they struggle when Doryx is used every day. If Doryx is stopped suddenly and there is no other antibacterial treatment, these resistant bacteria are left on the skin with no natural competition. They multiply rapidly and cause even worse breakouts than before.

The way to prevent this result is to taper off your use of Doryx. If you were taking a tablet every day for months, then take a tablet every other day for one week, and a tablet every three days for the next week. When you stop using Doryx, start using benzoyl peroxide and/or tea tree oil. Always take all the antibiotics you are prescribed, and never, unless your doctor tells you otherwise, stop taking an antibiotic before it has a chance to do all of its work.

There are also people who should not use Doryx because they have liver disease. The body eliminates Doryx through the liver. Taking Doryx can trigger liver symptoms such as darkening of the urine, yellowing of the skin, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, and confusion. Don’t take over-the-counter Doryx if you have a history of liver disease, and be sure to tell your doctor if you have had liver disease when you go in for acne treatment.

There are a very few people who break out because of the dyes used to color the capsule. Doryx is manufactured with FD and C blue No.1, FD and C yellow No. 6, and D and C yellow No. 1. The medication is mixed with titanium dioxide (which is usually harmless) and sodium lauryl sulfate so it will dissolve in the stomach. Sometimes sodium lauryl sulfate will make the skin around the mouth break out.

Doryx is used to treat an astonishing range of infections other than acne. It is used to prevent malaria and as the emergency antibiotic for anthrax. It treats conditions as different as elephantiasis (extreme swelling of the legs due to parasitic infection) and food poisoning, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and chlamydia, ear infections, sinusitis, and syphilis.

You may never get any of these infections. But if you do, you may be glad that you let your immune system fight acne and saved antibiotic treatment for an even worse disease.

The way to let your immune system do the work of keeping acne under control is to all the other work supporting skin care, such as cleansing, exfoliation, moisturizing, and probiotic support, with an all-in-one acne treatment system such as Exposed Skin Care.

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Alex Reply

Doryx is very expensive in the USA. The full price for a 30 day supply of 150mg pills is approximately $500. That is almost $17USD per day.

January 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm Reply
RobertRister Reply

Or $6000 a year. Ouch.

February 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm Reply

My friend takes these pills and they are extremely expensive. They are $618 without insurance with insurance she pays a $100 for a months supply

March 13, 2012 at 8:01 pm Reply
Martin Reply


March 22, 2012 at 9:12 am Reply
Lise Reply

Yes, Doryx is very expensive; i am without medical insurance now and i cannot get a refill because the cost is so high. I was told $500.00 US Dollars for a 30 day supply .. Since I could not afford that much; my skin is back to to the extreme breakout and looks terrible

April 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm Reply
Yary Reply

I have been using Doryx for a month with Epiduo. My acne has gotten worse. My face is nowvery red, full of blemishes and throbbing. It hurts so much. That and the fact that I paid $100 for them for a month's supply. Not sure what to do.

April 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm Reply
Martin Reply

Hi Yary, It could be that bacteria immune to doxycycline is now multiplying and causing extra acne because the doxycycline is killing the bacteria that normally keep them in check in the skin. You can read what to do in that event in the article above. However, I'm not sure if that is what is happening and what you are experiencing sounds unpleasant. I recommend you see your doctor as soon as possible and get your situation reevaluated.

April 20, 2012 at 7:09 am Reply
Ebony Reply

Hi, I have been on doryx as well as epiduo for a month also. For the first month, epiduo was not doing anything and just burning my face, neither was the tablet but what I did was stop using epiduo all over my face and just on tiny spots and not every night. As to the medicine, just be patient :) Also try coconut oil over night as a moisturiser

December 27, 2015 at 4:28 am Reply
heidi Reply

Went to pick up a 30 day prescription for Doryx, $1108......aND with insurance $600....GENERIC! There's got to be a great effective medication that is reasonable.

March 7, 2015 at 6:16 am Reply
Julian Reply

I had Doryx prescribed by my doctor, $1149, with insurance and the savings card it ended up being just $25. It is insanely expensive, I hope it works!

August 23, 2015 at 6:34 pm Reply
George Reply

30 tablets of Doryx is only $11 in Australia if you don't have benefits or $6 if you do.

September 4, 2015 at 9:54 am Reply
Jen Reply

Just filled my doryx here in America and it was $950 for 30, 200mg tablets. It is infuriating to read this medication is inexpensive in other countries but in America it is 1000's of times more expensive.

November 11, 2015 at 12:38 pm Reply
Tyson Reply

In Australia for 7 tablets it costs $9 a week, so very inexpensive here

November 14, 2015 at 2:52 am Reply
Paula Reply

Hi I've been taking doxy for 2 weeks and so far it is not working. After reading everyone's negative comments I still have hope that it will work for me. Prom is in a month and I think I'm gonna get asked soon and I really don't want to have a face full of acne.

April 18, 2016 at 4:17 pm Reply

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