Acticlate (Doxycycline): Uses, Side Effects, Dosage

By Terez Malka, MD
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
December 31, 2021

Acticlate is a brand name for doxycycline, a common antibiotic used to treat several different kinds of bacterial infections, acne, and more. 

In this article, I’ll tell you more about Acticlate, why it’s used, its common side effects, dosage, and common risks associated with the medication.

I’ll also list some foods, medications, and behaviors to avoid when taking Acticlate.

What is Acticlate?

Acticlate is a tetracycline antibiotic.

It’s a brand name of doxycycline, a type of drug used to treat a variety of infections caused by bacteria.

It may also be used preventively for malaria, Lyme disease, and certain sexually transmitted infections if there is an exposure risk.

Acticlate is unique from certain other classes of antibiotics in that it has anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties.

This may make it useful as an additional therapeutic treatment for some inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases. 

Acticlate works by interrupting the RNA replication process of the bacteria.

If bacteria can’t reproduce, then the infection can’t continue, and your immune system can clear it.

Acticlate may be used in combination with other drugs depending on why it is prescribed.

Acticlate requires a prescription from your healthcare provider.

It is not effective against colds, COVID-19, flu infections, or other viral illnesses, but may be used to treat secondary infections caused by bacteria, like pneumonia.

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Acticlate Uses

Your physician could prescribe Acticlate for any one of the following common reasons or may use it for something else, which is referred to as off-label use.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Acticlate for the following purposes.

Acne

While you may not require antibiotic therapy for acne, some acne is caused by bacteria that are present on the skin.

Acticlate reduces the presence of this bacteria, decreasing the number and severity of breakouts.

For severe acne or other related inflammatory skin conditions, Acticlate may be paired with other medications or treatments. 

Acticlate will not work for acne overnight.

Improvements are usually seen after two weeks of treatment.

You may need to take it for a month or longer, as directed by your prescriber, to see significant lasting improvement.

Urinary tract infections

Doxycycline is not used for most UTIs, and is not considered a first-line treatment for UTI.

But it may be used if the bacteria causing your UTI is resistant to other antibiotics, or if you have allergies to other options. 

Intestinal infections

Most intestinal infections are caused by viruses, and will go away on their own without antibiotics.

If your intestinal infection is caused by specific bacteria, as can occur with traveler’s diarrhea and some more severe intestinal illnesses, doxycycline is sometimes used.

An antibiotic should never be started for diarrhea or other intestinal illnesses unless directed by your doctor after specific testing.  

Respiratory infections

Viral illnesses like colds or the flu won’t respond to antibiotics, and taking them may even make symptoms worse. But some types of respiratory illness can be caused or complicated by bacteria.

Bacterial sinusitis, bacterial pneumonia, and some forms of bacterial bronchitis can be effectively treated with Acticlate.

An antibiotic should only be started after your doctor has determined your symptoms are likely to be caused by a bacteria.

Eye infections

Most simple eye infections are treated with antibiotic drops, but more severe eye infections may require an oral antibiotic such as Acticlate.

Eye tissue is highly sensitive and may be prone to scarring or other permanent damage from bacterial infections.

Acticlate may successfully decrease inflammation in eye tissue, treating the infection while reducing the risk for vision-related complications. 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

STIs may be treated or prevented by Acticlate.

It is effective against chlamydia, gonorrhea (in combination with other antibiotics), syphilis (if you are allergic to penicillins), and others.

It can also work to treat chlamydia-related eye infections.

Periodontitis (gum disease)

Inflamed, bleeding, or sensitive gums are a sign of gum disease.

Periodontal disease (periodontitis) might resolve on its own, but in some cases, requires antibiotic treatment.

If left untreated, gum disease can even affect the bones underneath the gums, resulting in loose teeth.

Acticlate can decrease the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth without otherwise destroying beneficial bacteria in your mouth.

Malaria

Malaria is a mosquito-transmitted disease that can be severe or even fatal.

It is still common in certain parts of the world.

Prevention is as important as having effective treatments.

Acticlate may be used in combination with other drugs to both prevent and treat malarial infections.

Acticlate Side Effects

If your doctor has prescribed Acticlate, they have decided that any potential side effects do not outweigh the potential benefits.

Common side effects include:

In rare cases, Acticlate may cause more severe side effects.

Speak to your healthcare provider immediately or seek medical help if you notice any of the following:

  • Intracranial hypertension (headache, blurred vision, or vision loss)
  • Hives, rash, or other allergic reactions
  • Skin redness, blistering, or peeling
  • Fever
  • Swollen glands
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Swelling of the eyes, lips, throat, tongue, or face
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Changes to bowel movements, including watery or bloody stools
  • Stomach cramps
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain
  • Discoloration of permanent teeth
  • Jaundice
  • Dark urine

Antibacterial drugs like Acticlate are not commonly used in children under 8 years of age or in pregnant people.

It may have permanent effects on teeth in the unborn child or children.

People who are allergic to tetracycline antibiotics should not take Acticlate.

Tell your doctor if you have liver problems, kidney disorders, asthma, or take oral contraceptives.

Acticlate may affect how birth control pills work.

If you are pregnant or could become pregnant, make sure that your doctor knows.

How to Take Acticlate

Dosage and administration

Acticlate comes in 75 mg or 150 mg tablets that can be broken into two-thirds or one-third to adjust dosing.

Your pharmacist will explain your dosage.

It also comes as a 75 mg capsule called Acticlate CAP.

The capsule form should not be broken, split, or crushed.

They must be swallowed whole. If you cannot swallow pills, let your doctor know.

Acticlate is sometimes prescribed at a higher dose for the first day of treatment, with a lesser maintenance dose for the rest of the antibiotic course.

It is important to complete the full course of your antibiotics even if you feel better.

This helps prevent the recurrence of bacterial infection and decreases the chance of antibiotic resistance.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of Acticlate, do not take two doses at the same time.

Take your next dose as soon as you remember, or skip your dose and resume your normal schedule when your next one is due.

If you are unsure, ask your prescriber or pharmacist for more information.

What happens if I take too much?

If you take too much Acticlate, seek medical help right away.

Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or visit an emergency room.

If you are with a person who has taken too much Acticlate and they are having trouble breathing, are unconscious, or are having seizures, call 9-1-1 right away.

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What to Avoid While Taking Acticlate

Drug interactions are common with medications like Acticlate.

Do not take Acticlate with the following medications unless your doctor specifically tells you to, to avoid potentially adverse reactions:

  • Anticoagulants (blood thinners)
  • Penicillin
  • Antacids
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Anti-epileptics

Make sure that your doctor knows about supplements and OTC drugs that you take.

Don’t take Acticlate at the same time as milk, yogurt, or other dairy products.

You can eat them a few hours before or after you take your dose.

Alcohol should not typically be consumed during antibiotics, as it may change absorption rates and response.

For people who drink alcohol regularly, it may reduce how effective Acticlate is.

Ask your doctor for personalized medical advice about alcohol intake while you take Acticlate.

Tetracycline-class antibiotics like Acticlate and others will increase your risk of sunburn.

Don’t use tanning beds while taking them.

If you will be in the sun, wear protective clothing and regularly apply sunscreen.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Acticlate 150 mg used for?
Acticlate 150 mg may be used for a variety of common bacterial illnesses, including acne, some forms of pneumonia, and drug-resistant urinary tract infections. It may also be used to prevent or treat malaria or Lyme disease. Acticlate works by preventing the replication of bacteria.
Is Acticlate the same as doxycycline?
Yes. Acticlate is a brand name of doxycycline. You may be prescribed Acticlate, another brand name such as Morgidox or Doryx, or a generic. These all have the same active ingredient and are equally effective. The generic form is typically more affordable.
What is the main use of doxycycline?
Doxycycline is primarily used as a broad-spectrum antibiotic that effectively treats a variety of both common and rare illnesses. It can be used to treat acne and skin disorders, eye infections, or STIs, but may also be effective for preventing or treating malaria, anthrax exposures, and Lyme disease.

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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Terez Malka, MD

Dr. Terez Malka is a board-certified pediatrician and emergency medicine physician.