How Effective Is Doxycycline for MRSA?

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  • Written By: S. Berger
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 10 February 2019
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There are a number of major challenges in treating the bacteria known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This particular bacteria is immune to many conventional antibiotic treatments normally used to kill microbes. Doxycycline, a potent antibiotic that disrupts the protein-manufacturing ability of bacteria, has been shown to be effective against most strains of this infectious organism. For this reason, taking doxycycline for MRSA infections is one of the first-line treatments recommended by many medical professionals.

Skin and soft-tissue infections (SSTIs) are one of the ways that MRSA commonly presents in patients. These infections may involve different strains of the MRSA bacteria. Doctors will usually prescribe doxycycline for MRSA that causes SSTIs, because this medication can usually kill most strains of the bacteria. Therefore, its use negates the need to identify an exact bacterial strain and determining which antibiotics are effective against that variety. The low cost of this antibiotic means that communities can easily use it to combat epidemics.

Research has shown that taking doxycycline to treat MRSA can yield positive results the majority of the time. One study where patients with SSTIs were treated with different types of antibiotics effective against MRSA showed that only doxycycline had a 100% success rate for treatment. All patients given doxycycline experienced a complete relief of their infection after 14 days of treatment. Even among MRSA strains resistant to several antibiotic types, this medication tends to have an 80% to 95% success rate for treatment.


Many antibiotics given in a hospital setting are administered through an intravenous (IV) route. Doxycycline for MRSA is given in an oral tablet form, due to its strength and its ability to be completely absorbed into the bloodstream. This medication has a relatively long 18 to 22 hour half-life, or time that it takes the body to break down and excrete half of a given amount of a drug. A long half-life means that doxycycline does not need to be taken more than once each day. In turn, increases the chances of patients taking the medication on a regular basis until the infection has been completely treated.

Side effects can occur when taking doxycycline for MRSA, These adverse effects can include nausea, headache, and diarrhea. Some of these side effects may be confused with symptoms of the infection itself, so careful attention must be paid as to when these effects arise. Dizziness and extreme headaches can be signs of more serious health problems, and should be reported to a doctor if they occur.


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Post 7

This antibiotic definitely has strong side effects. I have to plan my day around taking it because of how sick I get. (I was prescribed twice a day) I've thrown up twice with it and have to try very hard to keep it down. However it's been working so far, I had a pretty moderate to severe case. Two different lesions that were very infected. I could barely stand up. Within a few days, the infection seems to be gone, and the wounds are starting to heal. I still feel "sick" though. My skin feels boiling hot 24/7. Wondering if anyone else has experienced this side effect.

Post 6

I took one course and most of the sores have cleared up, however they were so deep that there are several scabs left and a few of them still seem deep with some infection present. Will a second course of doxy help or will these sores eventually clear up?

Post 4

It will be interesting to see if doxyxycline eventually becomes ineffective at treating MRSA. It seems like after awhile, we start to build up resistance to antibiotics and I wouldn't be surprised if this happens with this one eventually.. Whenever I take a really strong antibiotic I have stomach problems, so always try to take something that still works but isn't quite as potent.

Post 3

@myharley-- Everyone is different when it comes to reacting to medications. I have a history of having side effects from many prescription medications, but I didn't have any problems with doxycycline.

Since there are so few antibiotics that effectively treat MRSA I am really glad this worked and I didn't have to try a different one that might not have been as effective.

Post 2

I had side effects when I tried taking doxycycline. This surprised me because I don't usually have any problems with medication I have taken in the past. I ended up getting headaches and my stomach was queasy. I am just wondering if I had problems because this is such a powerful antibiotic.

Post 1
I had a spot on my chin that turned out to be MRSA. I don't remember the name of the first antibiotic I tried for this infection, but it didn't work. After about 10 days I was not any better.

The second time around the doctor prescribed doxycycline and it cleared it right up. I wish I had been given this the first time, but am grateful that there is an antibiotic that MRSA isn't resistant to.

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