Azithromycin vs Doxycycline

Azithromycin and Doxycycline are antibiotics. They are used to treat things like pneumonia, diarrhoea and strep throat. They are sometimes used to treat ear and stomach infections. They can also be used to treat malaria.

Doxycycline is also used to treat chlamydia, Lyme disease, cholera, typhus and syphilis.

How are they different?

Doxycycline and azithromycin are both used to treat bacterial infections.

You only need to take azithromycin once a day. It often causes diarrhoea. It can come as pills, powder or liquid. The powder is made into a liquid and injected.

Doxycycline should not be given to underweight infants. It also should not be taken by pregnant women in the second half of their pregnancies.

Doxycycline can come as pills, powder or liquid. The powder is made into a liquid and injected.

How do they work?

Both antibiotics work by blocking the formation of proteins. Bacteria contain proteins. So, blocking the growth of proteins stops the bacteria from growing. It may also destroy the bacteria.

What are the side effects?

Side effects of azithromycin

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhoea

  • High temperature

  • Swelling caused by trapped fluid

  • Skin blisters or peeling

  • Bloody or cloudy urine

  • Bloody, black or tarry poo

  • Body aches or pain

  • Pain while passing urine

  • A tight feeling in the chest

  • Shivers

  • Mucus in the chest

  • Coughing up mucus

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Noisy breathing

  • Wind (gas)

Nausea and diarrhoea are common symptoms.

Some of the other symptoms can be severe. If they are bad, you should contact your doctor straight away.

Side effects of Doxycycline

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Upset stomach

  • Loss of appetite

  • Diarrhoea

  • Rash or itching on the skin

  • Darkened skin

  • Vaginal itching or discharge

Get medical help straight away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Hives

  • Problems breathing

  • Swelling in face or throat

  • Severe skin rash or itching

  • High temperature

  • Sore throat

  • Burning in the eyes

  • Skin pain

  • Red or purple rash that spreads and blisters

  • Diarrhoea containing blood or mucus

  • Bleeding or bruising under the skin

  • A high temperature, sore throat and feeling generally unwell

  • Ringing in the ears

  • Muscle or joint aches after starting the medicine

  • Severe headaches or vision problems

  • Fingernails starting to come off from the base of the nail

  • A swollen or sore mouth, tongue or lips

  • Pain or trouble swallowing and acid reflux

  • Severe stomach pain, bloody diarrhoea and vomiting


Although they work well, be careful when taking antibiotics. Follow your doctor’s instructions and complete the course.

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