There are several previous posts on this topic – Doxycycline causes Suicide and Suicide is Painless and becoming suicidal on an antibiotic. None of them give as compelling a picture of what the problem is like from the inside as this letter that came to RxISK some months ago.
I am a thirty-eight year old active mother and partner who regularly practices yoga and meditation and enjoys time in nature often.
On Friday, July 23, 2021, I saw a doctor virtually for a rash that looked like it may be a tick bite. The doctor prescribed Doxycycline “just to be safe.” That day, I started taking the medicine as prescribed. 100 mg capsules, 2x day for 10 days.
The next day I started to feel odd in a way that I could not articulate.
By the third day of taking the medicine as prescribed, I had this intense sadness set in. For what may have been the first time ever I had insomnia and was up for hours throughout the previous night. At times during the night, I felt incredibly anxious and panicked, but it was unclear why and unusual for me. I normally sleep soundly and easily – so much so that it’s a family joke.
By day four of the medicine, I was what I describe as mentally hijacked. I felt remarkably sad, was crying uncontrollable at times and almost was certain I’d somehow dropped into a depression seemingly overnight.
I usually have an acute awareness of what is happening in my body, so I was incredibly curious about what was happening. I looked at the side effects for the medication online, almost certain insomnia and depression would be listed, and I did not see them. I was baffled by this as the only lifestyle change I’d made in the previous days was starting the medication. I reached out to a friend who is a pharmacist hoping he’d have some insight. He said it was “unlikely” that the medication was causing the depression and insomnia. I thanked him but felt differently.
The second night of insomnia was far worse and markedly different than the first. Before going to bed, I had very unusual thoughts and urges about writing negative comments online – something I do not do. During the sleepless night, I went downstairs and walked aimlessly around in the darkness, something I’d never done. I tossed and turned on my sofa and decided to end my pursuit of current study, deeming it ridiculous, unlikely and selfish. This is a field I am deeply engaged in and very passionate about and I’ve never questioned my participation in it.
As the night went on I decided that my whole life was fake and a waste and I would not go on living in the same cheerful way I had been. I am a generally upbeat, optimistic and inspirational person. I deemed this ridiculous.
I’m also a writer and working on a book. I decided that my writing a book was trash and stupid and I’m destined to sit around the house and do nothing. I’d release any and all career aspirations and live the Disney movie role of old woman who casts her dreams aside.
I’ve NEVER thought any of these things before. Not once. And alone, in the dark in the middle of the night they set in like a fog. I saw no other way to be. The scary part is that my reason and logic had been completely absent. Normally if I have a negative thought, I notice it and adjust or tell myself I’m being too harsh or I’m being insecure. This was not the case here. There was no reasoning or awareness of the absurdity of thought.
The next day, my husband was perplexed by my nighttime wandering as I’d never done that before.
I then had an awkward call with my sister, whom I am very close with and we have a great relationship. We were preparing for a family vacation together in just a few days to celebrate our mom turning 60. I’d been looking forward to the vacation for months and the excitement I’d felt for all that time had completely vanished. I couldn’t care less about the vacation and did not even want to go.
On the call with my sister I remember sitting on my porch loathing the idea of vacation and feeling numb to life for no apparent reason. I could tell that the tone and things I was saying were confusing to my sister and she could not understand my behavior. I was supposed to go to lunch with her and our friend that day and I said I didn’t feel like going and cancelled. That was incredibly out of character for me also. I looked forward to all social things, especially with my sister and I’m not one to cancel anything.
I remember my husband coming out to the porch after the call ended. I nonchalantly told him I’d cancelled the lunch and his jaw nearly dropped. That moment I saw fear in his eyes. He was worried about me. I could see this clearly but did not care. It’s as if I was watching from above and saw all the awkwardness of the phone call and all the unusual behavior I was displaying but I was so disconnected from what was happening and I did not even care.
In between interacting with people and being alone I felt little snippets of my normal self. In one of those snippets I started thinking about gut health, a topic I’m interested in and have done some research on. I reasoned that if probiotics can support and strengthen gut health, especially when taking antibiotics, perhaps the antibiotics were having a dramatic and inverse effect on me. Knowing that gut health is tied to mental health and aware that some studies have seen probiotics work like antidepressants, I wondered if my deteriorating gut health due to the antibiotics was making me depressed and causing a deteriorating mental state.
When I specifically googled Doxycycline, I came across the NIH study linking the drug to suicide in otherwise healthy individuals.
I suddenly had a strong feeling that I should discontinue the drug. I immediately had a chat with my husband who agreed I must stop taking immediately, and I did.
In all, I took the medication for 4 days, 8 doses. By day two, I started to feel unusual. As someone who focuses on subtleties in the body through yoga and meditation, I’m grateful that I listened to the cues I received. Without that awareness I am scared to think what may have been otherwise.
The most startling part for me was the second night of insomnia and the negative self talk and disgust that I had towards myself. Once my head cleared again the day after I stopped taking the medication, I felt so violated and shocked. It was as if someone had come into my brain and rearranged things.
I am someone who respects modern medicine and all that it may offer. I also appreciate holistic health and choose natural options when available. I was reluctant to take the medicine to begin with because I was worried about the effects on my gut bacteria but I weighed the pros and cons and took it. I will not take this medication again but will continue to be aware and research future medicine thoroughly.
Most importantly, if Doxycycline was labeled properly with the various side effects people have experienced, things may be different for future patients. Parents can be more informed for their children and know what to supervise them for.
I’m grateful that I was able to perceive that I was being mentally hijacked as it was happening and that I discontinued the medication after 4 days. Each day the side effects got stronger so any additional days would have been even more detrimental.
If patients are not interested in research and attune to what may be happening in their body, taking this medicine is dangerous.
In the weeks after this happened, I struggled to feel calm, in the same way our bodies have a hard time settling after we just miss getting into a car accident.
I am incredibly grateful for this study as I believe it saved my life.
A few weeks before getting that account, we had another startling letter.
My 14 y.o. son with no mental health history had been taking doxycycline 100 mg daily for mild acne for a couple of months when his school nurse called me to pick him up Wednesday. When I arrived, he was shaking and crying uncontrollably. He said, Mom, I think the pills I’m taking are making me want to kill myself. All I can think of is taking the whole bottle to kill myself.
A couple hours later we were interviewed by a social worker at a Behavioral Health facility. His BP was in the 140s systolic and HR 115. He appeared calm however and explained how he became fixated on his pills and asked his teacher for help after having the thought to google “doxycycline and suicide.” Yours was one of the websites he found.
We were instructed to discontinue the medication and follow up with his pediatrician. Although a dermatologist has prescribed the medication and has also been alerted, his pediatrician interviewed and assessed my son and said he will code the incident as an adverse reaction to doxycycline.
Thank you for what you are doing to create awareness.
The thought that a 14-year-old boy can make connections that MHRA, FDA and the New England Journal of Misinformation can’t make is a good one to start the week on if you take a glass half-full approach to the world,
Doxycycline has been authorised as an anti-malaria drug for more than 50 years. It is also prescribed to treat bacterial infections and skin disorders. An MHRA spokeswoman said they had reviewed the “suspected association between doxycycline and psychotic disorder” after the coroner’s report and work was “continuing”.
Alana Cutland: Parents’ shock over malaria drug behind plane fall
The parents of a student who fell from a plane after a psychotic reaction to an anti-malaria drug were “shocked” to find its side effects were “virtually undocumented”.
Alana Cutland, 19, from Milton Keynes, died after the fall in July 2019 in Madagascar.
A coroner has asked for a review of the information sent out with doxycycline.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it was gathering “further information”.
Overall, these spontaneous ADR reports provide limited evidence on which to base a thorough assessment of causality between doxycycline and psychotic reactions. While under-reporting is a common problem with spontaneous ADR reporting, given that in the context of malaria prophylaxis, doxycycline is often given to healthy people, it may be that we would expect to see more cases of a serious reaction like psychosis if it were a true ADR for doxycycline. In addition, there is no established biological mechanism to explain an association between doxycycline and psychotic reactions and there is little in the way of published literature suggesting a causal link, including a lack of any well-controlled studies.
The CHM Pharmacovigilance Expert Advisory Group advised that overall, the evidence to support a causal association between doxycycline and psychotic disorder was limited considering the cumulative exposure to this drug in the UK which is likely to be in the order of tens of millions of people. The PEAG advised that prior to the possible addition of psychotic type reactions in the doxycycline product information, which may cause patient alarm, further data is needed to enable a more robust assessment. The EAG recommended that the marketing authorisation holder (MAH) for the brand-leader doxycycline product should be requested to propose how this additional data may be collected, for example by investigating the feasibility of conducting a study using electronic healthcare records which compares rates of psychotic reactions following doxycycline, with another antibiotic.
Action being taken by the MHRA …
“In comparison to doxycycline recipients in the nondeployed cohort, mefloquine recipients were at a statistically significant lower risk for adjustment disorder, insomnia, anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, vertigo, and PTSD.” Table 4
“Last, Nevin neglects to mention that the same study found that mefloquine reduced the risk of PTSD compared with doxycycline (odds ratio = 0.69, 95% confidence interval: 0.52, 0.91) among nondeployed service members [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28077744/].”
“SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Matrix metalloproteinase-9 inhibition appears to attenuate memory consolidation. It could also be a target for blocking reconsolidation. Here, we test this hypothesis in human threat conditioning. We find that doxycycline has no specific impact on a reminded cue, but confers a global reduction in extinction learning and threat learning beyond the clearance of the drug. This may point toward a more long-lasting impact of doxycycline treatment on memory plasticity.”
MHRA: “suspected association between doxycycline and psychotic disorder”.
I’d rather be ‘alarmed’ than HARMED.
Why not recommend that prescribers are aware of this concern and increase reporting. How is an acute confusional state as an ADR to doxycycline to be differentiated from ‘First Episode Psychosis’. In the tragedy that destroyed the life and health of our loved one: an SSRI (inappropriately prescribed) resulted in acute, intense AKATHISIA which was misdiagnosed as ‘psychotic depression’.
“Psychotic depression is vanishingly rare compared with treatment induced akathisia”.
To accumulate further evidence for Doxycicline induced ‘Psychosis’ it would be
necessary to avoid misdiagnosis as a Psychotic presentation, which will be followed by inappropriate detention, forced drugging, physical, psychological and emotional injury and a kaleidoscopic collection of Psychiatry labels for Life.
Why not insist that all who are labelled as first episode psychosis have a detailed prescription dug history entered into a centralised, anonymous, computer data base held by an MHRA more committed to patient safety? If all those so-labelled had an identifiable history of doxycycline ingestion, SSRI/SNRI ‘Rx’ (or dose/product change) and/or other akathisia inducing/neurotoxic drug ingestion identified: further evidence of association may increase awareness of this ADR. It may also reduce unforgivable psychiatric misdiagnosis and subsequent loss of all human rights.
The use of the term ‘psychotic disorder’ by the MHRA surely invites misdiagnosis?
“To accumulate further evidence for Doxycicline induced ‘Psychosis’ it would be
necessary to avoid misdiagnosis as a Psychotic presentation, which will be followed by inappropriate detention, forced drugging, physical, psychological and emotional injury and a kaleidoscopic collection of Psychiatry labels for Life.
Why not insist that all who are labelled as first episode psychosis have a detailed prescription dug history entered into a centralised, anonymous, computer data base held by an MHRA more committed to patient safety?”
Do do this will require psychiatry to admit what it resolutely refuse’s because it knows all the harm it has created along with pharma. Everyone in a psych ‘hospital’ is on antipsychotics no matter what the diagnosis and most are on high dose and have akathisia – this is a major human rights crime going back a long way.
The agencies set-pup to over see psych hospitals, to date, have only covered up what is happening – they are not exposing and shutting down these operations which lead to this:
“Everyone in a psych ‘hospital’ is on antipsychotics no matter what the diagnosis and most are on high dose and have AKATHISIA”. Press Report: ‘HE WAS PACING AROUND’ —–(my emphasis).
“Mrs Perry said Hallam Street Hospital is not a psychiatric intensive care unit, that there are patients who choose to go there and those who are detained for treatment but it is “absolutely not” a prison.”
Also worth noting from the article ‘it’s “absolutely not” a prison’ but negate to inform the public there are two locked doors to the outside world. After being informed of this recent atrocity I sent the CQC and the trusts governance support manager a link to akathisia on here and this quote:
“as David Foster Wallace put it before he died:
“The person in whom its invisible agony reaches an unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will jump from the window of a burning high-rise… The terror of falling from a great height is still just as great… It’s not desiring the fall, it’s the terror of the flames… You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to understand a terror beyond falling”.
They have a CQC report being published on 2nd Dec I bet they will be given a good rating.
Chris ,It’s going to be ‘interesting’ to see how Austria enforces it’s mandate that all citizens are to be vaccinated starting in Feb 22.
Will they take lessons from psych hell holes on how to pin people down and forcibly inject them… In Russia dissidents are forced into Covid ‘hospitals’ and forced to ‘accept’ vaccines. It’s not a huge step to ‘diagnosing’ people who decline to be vaccinated as mentally ill. Potential harms from enforced vaccs plus harms from enforced psych meds – in a totalitarian nightmare in a world led by psychopaths such as the Austrian chancellor who wants ‘turn the screws’ on unvaccinated citizens. The police would always be willing to assist as shown by the often heavy handed surveillance and fining of citizens in UK during ‘lockdowns’ and firing on and water hosing of protesters throughout Europe presently.
“Will they take lessons from psych hell holes on how to pin people down and forcibly inject them”
It will happen, probably already has happened to many in psych hell holes. The general public will be in shock if it starts happening in public ala….
RE: https://vimeo.com/206396594 13mins in
“The nurses will give depo injections where they see the clients if that’s in the day centre or a park or a toilet of MacDonalds then they’ll do it because that’s where it’s needed.”
Boot on the other foot if they mandate it to psychiatrists and psych ‘nurse’s’…..let’s see. I can barely type write or spell as a result of what these people did to me.
Not so long ago, certainly it increased after the menace Tom Burns psych persuaded the government to introduce ”treatment’ in the community , forced ie depot injections, people in areas with independant ‘user-survivor’ networks set up safe houses where refusniks were looked after by friends. A few psychs would give advice off the record on meds but many were knowledgeable anyway. . The nasty campaign by politicians and their allies against people who refuse vaccs scapegoats and set citizens against citizens so we take out eye off the way more and more rights are being abused – in our name. If it goes too far it’s likely no-vacc safe houses will be set up and for sure more false proofs of being vacced will become a more lucrative business than it already is.. It is sad that groups who know first hand what discrimination can lead to are keeping pretty silent about the creeping violations . It;s not just a question of taking or not a vaccine but of to some extent grieving as well as resisting with protests and riots all across Europe against the undermining of democracry.
These people urgently need to consider Lyme disease or other infections and Google “Lyme herx reactions” or “Doxycycline herx reactions.”
The first lady said she had a rash from a possibly a tick bite. I had this in 2016-2017. If you have Lyme disease, and you take medicine to treat Lyme disease, including doxycycline, you are going to have a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction (a “herx”). It’s NOT the doxycycline itself, or whatever else you are taking – IT’S THE INFECTION ITSELF dying off and causing a flare. Not a doctor, I just personally struggled through Lyme disease and the 50 or so symptoms it was causing me that doctors could not figure out. I finally was cured after combo treatment of antibiotics and powerful herbs.Herxes can be extreme, a lot worse than the infection you may or may not have even realized you had to begin with.
These are not Herx reactions. Nothing like Herx Reactions. I can say this having known Andrew Herxheimer, the son of the original Herx well. They happen in completely healthy people given this drug for mild acne, or prophylactically – that is who have nothing wrong with them. Doxycycline inhibits serotonin reuptake and this is the likeliest cause. Perhaps though you think all suicides and homicides on SSRIs are Herx reactions as well
David, No! MMP9 Inhibit, Microglia Inhibit, Synaptic pruning Inhibit, Neurogenesis Inhibit, It is consistent with the mechanism of action characteristic of dissociators and hallucinogens.
Abstract “… In reviewing this field, it is argued that #minocycline is actually probing and modulating a deeply evolved and intricate system wherein psychosocial stimuli sculpt the circuitry of the “social brain” underlying adult behavior and personality. Furthermore, this system can generate psychiatric morbidity that is not dependent on genetic variation. …”
Lyme treatment: 1st Doxy -> Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome
Acne treatment: 1st Doxy Mino -> 2nd Isotretinoin “related” poisoning symptoms
Malaria prevention: 1st Doxy -> 2nd Mefloquine “related” poisoning symptoms
Thank you so much for writing this. I am usually a very happy up beat person. I am a 25 year old woman. I meditate and exercise daily and try my best to stick to a holistic life style. I entered a job which burnt me out very quickly, I quit the job and went home to gather my energy back and ground myself back to health. I had a stye come up on my eye (something I’ve never had before) but I know they can be due to stress which makes sense. I usually try my best to not go to the doctors and try every way possible to self/naturally heal before using modern medicine. For the first time in a long time i contacted my doctor for fearing I had an infection and I was prescribed Doxycycline. Day 1 of taking this medicine I started to feel sick, nauseous and very anxious. That night I couldn’t sleep ATALL and was feeling very low with intrusive thought starting to bubble through my mind. Very dark thoughts of wanting to hurt myself and feeling generally depressed. I didn’t get to sleep until 6am. I woke up at 12:30 feeling very low with no energy at all. I was feeling again nauseous and kept going hot and cold. At this point I just thought I had caught something or managed to somehow gain depression over night. I knew in my soul and spirit I didn’t feel okay. I knew in myself that this weren’t ME!!!! I looked to the left of me and there they were, the pack of doxycycline staring right back at me. My gut feelings instantly told me to research the side effects on Google. To which I found hundreds of comments from people and parents saying the EXACT same thing to what I’ve been experiencing. This drug is DANGEROUS and should be taken off the market. I’ve never trusted big pharma but my god, I don’t trust it at all now. It sickens me that these doctors just dish out these tablets to people and young teenagers. Nothing on the leaflet says about any of the severity of these side affects. This drug is playing with peoples lives. I was intuitive enough to pick up on these dark tablets but for the teenagers and people who are much more vulnerable and trust in these doctors, I’m scared that some will have no hope or even realise that these are the causes of their mental health deteriorating. I’m going to spread as much awareness about this as I can!!! Stay strong people, always follow your gut instincts and please try your best to self heal first x
I was recently prescribed Doxycycline for a UTI – 7 days – 100 mg – 2x a day. I am totally balanced, healthy and fit with no history of depression.
Day 2 I felt a bit down – so took myself to the gym. Day 3 I couldn’t stop crying and found it difficult to leave the house. Day 4 I was anxious and messaged people close to me with the most bizarre messages – I have re-read them since and they are so not me. Day 5 I stood on the platform of a busy station and felt a sudden urge to jump in front of a fast train.
I have NEVER been depressed and I have NEVER had suicidal thoughts. Day 6 I researched the medication and stopped it. I have spoken to my GP who tells me that this is a side effect that can happen (but apparently rare….although researching online I am not so sure how rare it actually is!). He has said I should feel back to normal within 14-21 days….I feel considerably better a week after stopping the medication but far from okay.
I think the potential mental health impact of these drugs needs to be clearly stated and patients informed of potential side effects prior to taking them. I would never take this medication again.
I had this same thing happen on Doxycycline and will never take it again. I had a chest infection. Day one I took it and I don’t remember much happening. Day two I was overcome by emptiness and sadness. Day 3 my mind went to the pointlessness of my existence. The burden I was to everyone else. I walked into the pharmacy that prescribed this medicine and said “Hi, I’m not mentally Ill. I was prescribed these and now I feel depressed and suicidal” the pharmacist looked at me and said “Well it’s not the medicine”. I left immediately and in a daze drove to the railway station round the corner, and decided I was going to throw myself in front a train. I sat on the station and saw one coming, I thought that I’d watch this one and gauge the speed etc. The train pulled in and it had a young female driver and families got off, this is not what I’d expected to see. I’d imaging just a dead looking, empty, metal carriage. Something clicked in my head and I realised how awful and selfish this would be for me to go ahead with. I abandoned my plan, devastated but thought I should try stopping the medication immediately. I did and I was back to my normal non-suicidal self in 2 days. Never again will I touch the stuff whether scientific studies support my experience or not. I know what happened, as do those close to me. Hope this helps others who are going through any frighting experiences on it. It does end.
I had just started doxycyline this week, and on the 3rd day, I just found myself binge watching and crying over youtube videos which is very unlike me. I didn’t have the drive to exercise, which I usually do twice daily, ang just started felling down generally, which led me to this thread.