Categorized | Rosacea

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The Pros and Cons of Treating Ocular Rosacea With Doxycycline

One of the worst things about having rosacea is that, in at least 50-60% of sufferers, it affects your eyes. Known as ocular rosacea, the symptoms of this condition can vary significantly and include:

  • a persistent burning and gritty feeling
  • bloodshot and water eyes
  • blurred vision
  • swollen and inflamed eyelids
  • crusty and flaky skin
  • dryness and sensitivity to light

In the worst case scenario there is a risk of bacterial infection which can affect the cornea with the possibility of vision loss. Because of the potentially serious consequences, this condition requires immediate treatment.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of doxycycline, an antibiotic which is frequently used to treat moderate to severe rosacea and ocular diseases.

Doxycycline comes from the tetracycline family. Many studies have found that using doxycycline to treat ocular rosacea has significantly improved many of the symptoms mentioned above. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be effective in treating facial redness.

So why is doxycycline so effective? The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but it is suspected that there is a link between the helicobacter pylori bacteria and rosacea. There is also evidence that bacteria found in demodex mites (tiny parasitic mites found near hair follicles) cause rosacea. It is for this reason that oral antibiotics are recommended. Doxycycline slows the growth of bacteria in the body and is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections such as acne, STDs, and gum disease as well as rosacea. Even though tetracycline, another commonly prescribed antibiotic, has been shown to alleviate symptoms of ocular rosacea more quickly, patients preferred using doxycycline because it caused fewer digestive upsets.

Even though doxycycline is the preferred treatment for ocular rosacea, it is not without side effects. Some of the common side affects are nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, indigestion, unexplained rashes and difficulty in swallowing. More serious side effects include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloody stools, burred vision, headaches, joint pain and fever. It is essential that you consult your physician if you are suffering with any of these side effects.

Another side effect of taking any antibiotic is that it can cause a disruption of intestinal flora which may result in an overgrowth of yeast causing candida. Candida symptoms can cause migraines, foggy brain, achy muscles, thrush, and cystitis amongst other symptoms. It may be worth taking probiotics during and after a course of antibiotics to improve intestinal flora balance.

Doxycycline shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy because it can harm unborn babies. If you are taking birth control pills, it is important to note that it can make them less effective. So, make sure you use other forms of contraception. Also, make sure you don’t take doxycline after the date of expiry because there is the possibility that it can cause kidney damage.

Considering all the pros and cons of using doxycycline and taking into account the potential seriousness of ocular rosacea, taking a course of antibiotics such as doxycycline is considered a safe and effective option.

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