Demeclocycline capsules

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Take demeclocycline capsules one hour before a meal, or wait until two hours afterwards. Swallow the capsules with plenty of water, and make sure you are standing or sitting upright.

Do not take indigestion remedies, or supplements containing iron, magnesium, or zinc at the same time as demeclocycline.

Make sure you continue to take this medicine until you finish the course prescribed.

The most common side-effects are stomach upset, diarrhoea, and an increased sensitivity to sunlight.

Type of medicineTetracycline antibiotic
Used forInfections; and a condition which causes a very low level of sodium in the blood
Available asCapsules

Demeclocycline is an antibacterial medicine. This means that it stops infections caused by bacteria. It is prescribed to treat acute bacterial infections, such as chest infections, urine infections, skin infections, and mouth infections.

Demeclocycline is also prescribed for a condition called syndrome of inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone (SIADH). This is a rare condition which leads to low levels of sodium in the blood.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking demeclocycline it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding. If so, you should not take demeclocycline.
  • If you are under 12 years of age. Demeclocycline should not be taken by children.
  • If you have liver or kidney problems.
  • If you have systemic lupus erythematosus (an inflammatory condition also called lupus, or SLE) or myasthenia gravis (a condition causing muscle weakness). Demeclocycline can make these conditions worse.
  • If you have a rare inherited blood disorder called porphyria.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the capsules and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking them.
  • Take demeclocycline exactly as your doctor tells you to. You will be asked to take either one capsule every six hours, or two capsules every twelve hours if you have an infection. It will be more than this if you are being treated for low sodium levels. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you what dose is right for you, and this will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you.
  • Do not take demeclocycline at the same time as food or milk, as these make the medicine less effective. You should take the capsules when your stomach is empty, which means taking them one hour before food, or waiting until two hours afterwards.
  • The capsules can cause throat irritation. To prevent this, swallow your doses with a large glassful of water, and do not open or chew the capsules. Also, take your doses while you are standing or sitting upright. It is particularly important that you do not take a dose just before lying down or at bedtime.
  • Do not take indigestion remedies, or supplements containing iron, magnesium, or zinc at the same time as you take this medicine. This is because demeclocycline combines with these things and makes it less effective. If you need to take any of these preparations, make sure you leave at least two hours before or after taking demeclocycline before you have them.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember and try to space your remaining doses evenly throughout the rest of the day. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
  • If you have an infection, your course of treatment will last for a week or so. It is important that you keep taking the capsules until the course is finished, unless you are told to stop by a doctor. If you are taking demeclocycline for low sodium levels, your treatment is likely to be long-term, so continue to take the capsules unless you are advised otherwise.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with demeclocycline, as a number of 'over-the-counter' remedies can interfere with it.
  • Some people develop thrush (redness and itchiness in the mouth or vagina) after taking a course of an antibiotic. If this happens to you, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
  • If you are using combined oral hormonal contraception (the 'pill'), additional contraceptive precautions such as condoms are not required during a course of this antibiotic unless you are sick or have diarrhoea. If you need further advice about this, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Demeclocycline can cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight than usual. Avoid strong sunlight and sunbeds, and use a sun cream with a high sun protection factor.
  • This antibiotic may stop the oral typhoid vaccine from working. If you are having any vaccinations, make sure the person treating you knows that you are taking this medicine.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common demeclocycline side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Stomach upset, abdominal painStick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals
DiarrhoeaDrink plenty of water to replace lost fluids. If this continues or is severe, speak with a doctor
Thrush (a yeast infection which causes redness and itchiness in the mouth or vagina)Speak with a doctor or pharmacist for advice
Throat irritationRemember to take your doses with a large glass of water while you are standing or sitting upright

Important: demeclocycline can occasionally cause allergic reactions, such as a skin rash. Speak with a doctor as soon as possible if this happens.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr John Cox
Document ID:
4028 (v27)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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